Though we all have to be there one day, death is one of the most difficult topics to approach as is the way we prepare our loved ones and family members for burial. Some accomplishments have been made to improve the transparency, cost, and process of funeral arrangements, however, the taboo topic has meant that much is left in the dark. Despite all of this, today’s French startup, Meilleures Pompes Funèbres is hoping to change the way we take care of our dead.
Meilleures Pompes Funèbres, which is French means "Best Funeral Homes," acts like an online Yelp review site for funeral homes, funeral parlors, crematoriums, and cemeteries. Decisions to bury family members are often left up to family traditions, establishments available locally or the chance flipping of a phone book but Meilleures Pompes Funèbres wants to make the process more transparent and straightforward than that.
The idea is that being able to access relevant information about the establishments which care for your family and loved ones after their death will give grieving families and friends the chance to pick better suited, higher quality institutions. This is done through compiling user reviews of each establishment and adding it to a user database where users can search by their location.
Their site has multiple options for users, they can even use their free calculator to estimate funeral prices which may give them a better understanding of how much they need to save up and if the price they are paying is fair. Likewise, Meilleures Pompes Funèbres allows users to request quotes from funeral providers near them. Their independent comparison tools allow for easy side-by-side comparisons and users can see which funeral establishments offer specialized services.
It’s important that companies are transparent about the services they provide, their price range and their ability to handle the scale and scope of each funeral and memorial service they are hired for but not all elements of the funeral planning can be covered by through transparency alone. Another factor in choosing the right funeral establishment is experience.
Confirmation that an organization handles certain services or charges within a certain price range does not account for the individual experiences of those who’ve actually used the service. After all, most people can read about a suit that comes in their size, only to order it, try it on and find out that "their size" is sized just a little too big or small.
The use of customer reviews allows users to see which factors, services, and treatment other, previous families and friend enjoyed or struggled with. This is as important as it is subjective. On the one hand, people who leave reviews on social media or review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor are more likely to be those who received very poor or quite superior service, however, it’s impossible to gauge the usefulness of services without the input of those who have used them. Reviews may also not exist for all establishments, leaving some customers in the dark.
In my personal opinion, the combination of planning resources available (which will be talked about next), search tools and transparent information can and should act to compliment reviews. Death is inevitable but planning for it still remains a taboo and the results are expensive. In many cases, no one talks about funeral planning or memorial services until it’s too late and when planning does occur it can become haphazard and confusing.
One of the biggest steps towards making the burden of this process easier for grieving families and friends is to change how we talk about death. This is something Meilleures Pompes Funèbres and other startups focused on the funeral industry are trying to change. If society becomes more open about death and funeral planning, it could have very positive effects, for instance on the significance, normalcy, and reliability of reviews. If more people feel comfortable talking about their experiences, they will share more information and the quality of the details will increase.
This process may also potentially weed out bias based on extremely negative or positive experiences to have a more holistic picture. Speaking of holistic, Meilleures Pompes Funèbres does more than use makes suggestions and feature reviews. As I mentioned earlier, their site has a cost calculator for funeral services but they also offer other free tools in addition to their free website use and free cost calculator. They offer free online assistance with setting up funeral fund accounts and free letter templates for the various administrative procedures involved in funeral planning.
We all hope that the day doesn’t come when we have to make funeral arrangements or when arrangements have to be made for us, but we all know that we’ll soon be there (whether planning or being planned for). So why not plan smarter and destroy the taboo around death and what happens afterward? Maybe Meilleures Pompes Funèbres and other startups are leading that trend, this remains to be seen, however, their approach is a great step towards bringing light to the murkiness of funeral planning.