ASD prepares for COVID surge and overcomes labor shortage by expanding remote workforce

With last year’s winter COVID spike pushing the entire funeral profession to the brink, ASD – Answering Service for Directors spent the majority of 2021 preparing for the next big wave. For the leading funeral home answering service, planning ahead in the pandemic age requires the company to build up its workforce to ensure the call volume does not exceed staffing levels. After a major company-wide shift toward remote work, ASD is now fully staffed and ready to confront the next potential COVID surge. Despite a recent increase in call volume, over the past 30 days, less than 3% of incoming calls to ASD have been placed on hold.

The company has worked to expand its operational footprint by investing in new remote work solutions. Having the ability to hire and train employees who work out of their own homes has allowed ASD to recruit staff beyond the company’s local area. Currently, the company has staff working in seven different states with more than 120 recently hired employees located in the South. ASD was able to attract these job candidates in the midst of a nationwide labor shortage by making the crucial decision to focus on growing the company’s workforce in states such as South Carolina and Alabama.

Like many companies, ASD was faced with a staff shortage that began to impact its operations in early 2021. Last year’s winter COVID surge was incredibly trying for ASD staff which caused a number of employees to decide to take a different career path. This issue was exacerbated by the fact that, for the first time in the company’s history, there was a severe lack of job candidates applying from the local area.  

While the majority of its staff were working remotely, ASD still needed to train employees in-house which limited the company to only hiring from the scarce number of local applicants. This unprecedented challenge prompted ASD to invest in new remote solutions that would allow the company to cast a wider net and hire employees in states where jobs were more in demand.

“ASD specifically targeted states that ended pandemic-related unemployment benefits programs early,” says ASD Vice President and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor. “We knew there were going to be a lot more people in those states looking for work. This was a driving force behind the decision of what states to recruit new job candidates from and was a very big factor in helping us to quickly expand our remote work force.”

ASD’s transition to an entirely remote hiring and training system required an all-hands-on-deck approach with every department contributing in one way or another. ASD’s technical team was tasked with sending out computer systems and 37-inch monitors to employees’ homes while managing the logistics involved with tracking systems and security. This required ASD to transform their brand-new office break room into a computer building and shipping center. They also worked closely with trainers to establish new remote solutions that enabled instructors to virtually interact with new hires. Hiring employees who reside in Southern states also offers an added bonus for some of ASD’s clients. Funeral homes that are located in the South will now have ASD call specialists answering their phones who sound more local to their area. The company has built out special settings within its answering service system that automatically route calls for Southern funeral homes to operators who located in the South.

These crucial operational, staffing and training advancements have allowed ASD to address new problems created by the pandemic head-on. Having staff located in multiple parts of the country creates more redundancy and protection. Furthermore, ASD’s investment in remote solutions ensures the company will be more resilient in the future and better prepared for unexpected challenges. 

Answering Service for Directors (ASD) has created a new class of answering service for the funeral profession. Family-owned and -operated since 1972, ASD blends state-of-the-art technology with an extensive, 6-month training program focusing on compassionate care. The company's custom-built communication systems and sophisticated mobile tools were designed solely to meet the needs of funeral professionals. By offering funeral directors unmatched protection for their calls, ASD has redefined the role of an answering service for funeral homes

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