Paper vs. Digital Surveys, What is More Impactful?

The success of a funeral business rests largely on its ability to provide an exceptional customer experience; however, determining the satisfaction of the families you serve can be difficult. In most cases, happy families return, while others won’t, but retention alone lacks nuance. Because of this, most funeral directors rely on surveys to determine what’s going well, and where they need to pivot. By providing clients with detailed surveys, you can better manage customer experience, gaining insight into areas in which you excel and those that need improvement. 

Traditionally, these surveys were administered through the mail. Families receive a paper survey, which they fill out and return to the funeral home; however, as technology advances and more things move to digital formats, there is now the option to conduct surveys digitally. For funeral homes, when comparing paper vs. digital surveys, the latter not only offers a more cost-effective solution but also provides flexibility and a heightened ability to track your progress over time.

Ease of Customer Experience

Before making a purchase, the vast majority of people will research their options. For funeral homes, this means that people will examine both your business and those of competitors before making a decision. More than ever, it’s important for funeral homes to provide remarkable and lasting experiences to ensure that families not only continue to seek out your services but leave a positive review to help other families find you. This means you’ll need to solicit feedback.

Traditionally, funeral directors used hard copies of surveys. In the weeks following a completed service, families would receive a thank-you letter, a paper copy of a survey, and a pre-stamped envelope. To provide feedback, a client would complete the survey and mail it back to the funeral home.

This style of feedback solicitation presents some issues:

  • More work for the family: For someone to respond to a paper survey, they have to read a letter, complete the questions, seal it in the envelope, and place it in the mail. While this is by no means backbreaking labor, it presents many different places for a person to drop out of the process entirely–especially while still going through the grieving process. 
  • Easy to ignore: Considering the average American receives about 41 pounds of junk mail per year, it’s not unlikely that your mailed survey will be lumped in with credit card ads and grocery store flyers. Your survey can’t help you when it’s thrown in the recycle bin.
  • Higher costs: The cost of postage continues to increase by the year. While 58 cents might not seem like all that much, you’ll also have to consider the cost of printing and return postage–and that’s just for one family. 

Digital surveys, however, present solutions to each of these issues–responding to an emailed survey only requires a few minutes, it’s free to send, and reminders are free for follow-up emails. 


With paper surveys, you’ll have to draft a series of questions, print them out in bulk, and begin sending them off. This leaves little room for on-the-fly changes to your survey. For example, if you’ve recently hired new sales agents, and you want to begin tracking their reception with clients, you’ll have to pen a new survey and head back to the print shop. 

Digital surveys, however, allow you to make changes at any time and implement them immediately. Whether you’ve made a typo, neglected to touch on an aspect of your funeral business, or you’ve introduced new services, digital surveys offer you the flexibility to make quick changes and start obtaining feedback right away and without additional costs.

Improved Data

While it’s not impossible to collect data through paper means, doing so often proves difficult. A thorough funeral home survey will have twenty or more questions, making it a lofty task to log all of this information, keep track of it, and examine it in ways that provide insight beyond raw numbers. Unless you have a statistician on your payroll, it will also be tricky to recognize any burgeoning trends.

With the right digital surveys, however, you’ll have the ability to track key metrics related to customer experience. If certain areas of your business frequently receive lukewarm responses, a customer experience platform can point this out to you. Additionally, many platforms also allow you to build profiles of families. There, you’ll be able to view how individuals interact with your business, what pleased them, and what left them wanting more. 

The Answer is in the Numbers

The average response rate for paper surveys is 10%. Surveys administered through text message garnered a 17% response rate, while emailed surveys boasted a whopping 32%. Not only do digital surveys provide a greater pool of data, but they’ll also cost you less than paper surveys, and they require less effort to manage. 

To help your funeral business go digital in the new year, you should consider investing in a customer experience platform. J3 Tech Solution’s Performance Tracker is a software tool that helps you manage all aspects of how your funeral home interacts with customers. You can create detailed surveys, send them to families, and configure custom reports that let you know how your business is performing. 

It’s undeniable, paper surveys have become antiquated compared to their digital counterparts. Digital surveys through J3 Tech Solutions help you collect meaningful data with ease, all the while organizing it in ways that ultimately improve your experience for families.