Podcast No. 32 in English
No. 31 was in Japanese posted today (written yesterday).
Hello everyone, today is July 14th, 2021.
This is your host, Yuusuke Wada, probably the only funeral business podcaster in Japan and also a death industry consultant.
I am also the Researcher of the Reform of Death and I prepare for the End of Life Journey.
Podcast No. 32 of YEYSHONAN, a weekly podcast in English.
During the weekend, my home fax-printer’s LCD touch pad display went out.
It would no longer respond to it.
I can receive fax or use it as a printer but not as a copier or sending fax.
I went out to buy one nearby but realized it was a waste of time.
I had to go to Akihabara, the electronics district in Tokyo and bought it and had it shipped the very next day and replaced.
My son needed it to do his college homework.
Week before, my two harddrives broke.
Yesterday, my partner brought in a non-working security camera to fix.
I’m still working on that with the team in Shenzhen China and Singapore.
As soon as I find a method of recovering the security camera, I’m going to place the rest for sale.
Today, I want to talk about technologies being implemented in the funeral business.
99.97% are cremated in Japan.
There is no such thing as “eco-friendly burials”.
But what about webcasting, online memorials, burial, and obituaries?
Webcasting has started in Japan due to people not being able to attend the services due to the corona pandemic.
It took off but since after so many “state of emergency”, BTW, as of writing, it’s the 4th semi-lockdown in Tokyo and its vicinity but no one is really obeying anymore.
But funerals have become small in size.
The truth is that no one wants to attend or watch (don’t want to know).
Then what about memorials?
This seems a different case.
People want to mourn but not during the funeral, but on their own time.
Therefore, an online memorial is somewhat needed.
Most have a “lifetime” one-time payment.
My business partner has made an USA based system to fit the Japanese market demand.
The mourners can send digital legacy messages.
As Steve Jobs said,
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share.”Steve Jobs
Yes, death is the destination for all living things.
These memorial sites are useful so that you can leave messages for the heirs to view. It could also be their grandsons and granddaughters.
It doesn’t have to be someone else’s memorial.
You could make your own and when you die, it can be activated by someone you trust.
I’m working on using AI, creating an “immortal avatar”.
Feed your memories and stories to the AI then create a replica of yourself.
Then, your future descendants can access it and see what kind of person you were and interact!
In the funeral business in Japan, bots have not yet been implemented.
The creators of chatbots have no information in this market since it has been so parochial, there is simply enough information to create a chatbot.
But if AI chatbots are implemented, such as something like Google’s AI assistance called Duplex, funeral home call centers can have less of a burden. But the caveat is that there is more than just calling for a haircut appointment in the funeral services.
At least, the AI can manage the incoming calls and let the real human deal with the outgoing inquiries.
AI can also detect emotions. I am marketing that as a sales advisor.
We call that an “emotion tool”.
With the use of AI, we can detect what the user “really” wants via this emotion tool and truly understand the customer’s feeling so that the funeral director won’t sell clients what they don’t need. This makes the customer satisfaction to a higher level since we are doing more of a personalized business.
Usage of such technologies can ease the increasing workload of a funeral director, and simultaneously, can help out the grieving clients.
This wraps up today’s story.
We have to realize that funeral homes need to market using a different method.
People in the death industry have to use not just brochures and pamphlets and YouTube.
Actually, not too many funeral parlors use YouTube for marketing.
Podcasts have been around for almost 20 years since the first iPod appeared on October 23rd, 2001. Yes, that was 20 years ago in 3 months from today.
Due to the boom of ClubHouse, talk shows have been given a second though.
But the problems of ClubHouse and many radio shows are that you need to listen when it’s broadcasting and there’s no archive.
Podcast is a simple method for people to catch up on their backlog.
Funeral business is dying due to shrinking services.
Undertakers need to realize why such rituals are needed and not just blindly force customers to make their purchases.
Explanation is necessary for all sales.
They need to use a special landing page for marketing on the internet.
Keeping up with the clients is necessary but who wants to hear from a mortician?
Teach them tricks of keeping funeral costs down and benefits of using different lawyers specializing for their purposes.
As I spoke today, funeral directors need to learn how to use AI but for now, we need to keep on reminding people that funeral directors are there when needed.
Thank you very much for listening to my podcast and please subscribe.
Book on me can be bought from Amazon called “死神と呼ばれた男” meaning “The Man Called the Reaper”, which will be published in English by September as well.
I’ll be holding an event called the “Book Break” at FCCJ, the foreign press club in Tokyo on September 29th.
This was your host, Yuusuke Wada, probably the only funeral business podcaster in Japan and signing off.