crematorium management software

6 Ways PlotBox Can Help Cemeteries Manage New NSW Licensing Scheme Changes

Six ways PlotBox's deathcare management solution will keep you ahead of the New South Wales Licence Conditions for Operators of Cemeteries and Crematories.

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| Read time: 10 mins

Accelerating tech adoption and changing consumer expectations are impacting our dynamic deathcare landscape.

For many Australian cemetery operators - and in particular, Council-operated facilities, implementing cloud-based cemetery software solutions that help to meet these rapidly evolving needs is now a necessity.

Bringing this need for systems that are ‘fit for purpose’ into sharp focus, are the licensing changes being imposed by the NSW Cemeteries regulator, which will be in effect for all within the state by July 2024, and for some as early as March 2024.

View the NSW Government Licence Conditions for Operators of Cemeteries and Crematoria.

All which poses an important question - do your current systems and processes allow you to adequately manage this transition and the increased operational and reporting requirements they will bring?

If you were on the fence before, here are six very good reasons why PlotBox is your best enabler to meet these challenges:


1. Providing information online to locate loved ones


Customer service is a key component of the new licensing scheme, and a large part of that is the disclosure of information to customers and the ability to provide information as and when it is needed.

Often that means information relating to where their loved ones are buried.

And this is important, for a number of reasons - it provides emotional support by allowing them to visit the grave easily in paying their respects, it helps in preserving memories and family history, it helps staff to save time when assisting visitors, and it helps to promote accessibility - all together contributing to a positive customer experience.

More broadly, transparent and accessible information about grave locations can also contribute to engaging positively with the local community, and demonstrating a commitment to empathetic care.

Happily, PlotBox’s Everafter public grave search portal can allow you to do all of these things.

Everafter's public portal is a genealogy website connected to live data within PlotBox. By linking digital maps to deceased records, cemeteries can allow families to quickly and easily search for and locate the graves of their loved ones, as well as view a range of related genealogical information, including photographs of headstones.

In this way, the ever-growing interest in genealogy becomes an enriching and meaningful experience. 

Our innovative 'Walk to Grave' app allows cemetery staff and visitors to easily locate their loved one's resting place via iPads or tablet devices - simply by entering the name, they can follow the walk icon, which will direct them to the grave.

As well as providing a valuable service to families, our customers are telling us that they are increasing efficiencies within their administrative functions when dealing with queries, as well as providing a valuable tool for their funeral director partners, who now have all of the information they need to locate graves in the palm of their hands.

Learn more about Everafter.


2. Managing clients’ cooling off period with ease


The new licence conditions relating to consumer contracts outline the requirement for clarity and transparency of contracts, the provision of all relevant key details relating to interment rights, and the facility to address certain matters in consumer contracts, including commencement and expiry.

In effect, all of these come together to help ensure consumers are fully aware and protected in terms of the agreement they’re entering into.

The cooling off period, as well as ensuring compliance with legal requirements for the vendor, serves the customer’s best interests by protecting them from making impulsive decisions and providing the opportunity to review their contract before committing, but also demonstrates full transparency and a commitment to customer satisfaction, contributing to a positive customer experience, and promoting trust.

PlotBox’s contract’s module allows cemeteries to streamline and manage every aspect of this contract process with ease. 

All relevant details -  from deed owner, beneficiaries and interment rights, to plots purchased, down payment details, instalments and payment dates, are held within a single system utilising activity logs that provide a clear audit trail detailing any changes made.

Within this process, cooling off periods can be accommodated quite easily within the existing contracts functionality by cancelling and refunding against payments within the finance package.

Crucially, the PlotBox contracts module provides you with a 360 degree view of every detail within each individual contract, allowing you to provide the transparency required to meet your licensing requirements.

Learn more about PlotBox’s contracts module.


3. Checking all the boxes for reclaiming pre-needs


Related to the above in many ways, whether it’s the transfer of ownership, contract modifications, cancellations, or the management of abandoned contracts, it’s essential that you have the systems in place to accurately and efficiently complete the process of reclaiming pre-needs.

And this is why it’s important to have a centralised database that allows you to store and manage all of the information related to your pre-need contracts, including details about the purchasers, beneficiaries, deed owners, selected plots, and any associated payment information.

PlotBox’s contract module allows cemetery staff to easily track, update, and manage pre-need contracts by accessing contract details, view payment histories, and make necessary adjustments as per the terms and conditions of the contract - and as we’ve mentioned, all of this with a clear view of all changes - essential for maintaining transparency and getting ahead of any potential disputes.

Similarly, when a deed has expired, PlotBox allows you to reclaim the plot and make it available for purchase simply by creating a workflow relevant to your team, who can follow a few simple steps and specify the date you wish the plot to be made available.


Risk management


4. Mastering monument risk and inspection requirements


Risk assessments are of course always important within cemeteries, helping to identify potential hazards that could pose a risk to visitors or staff, and helping to preserve the integrity of memorials by identifying potential threats and enabling the implementation of preservation measures.

But importantly, legal compliance with health and safety regulations is crucial for any public space and undertaking risk assessments helps to ensure that the cemetery is meeting its regulatory requirements and standards for safety. 

Within the licence conditions relating to cemetery maintenance, several relate directly to maintenance inspections and the management of memorials - specifically in the terms of the need for comprehensive record keeping, management of memorial approvals, and regular assessments.

PlotBox allows you to record memorial safety inspections, view inspection histories and outcomes, generate inspection schedules, pull renewal reports, create action plans and a great deal more.

Remaining compliant means knowing exactly the status of your memorials at all times. Without easy access to that information, you run the risk of them remaining unsafe and without the appropriate measures being carried out in good time. 

With PlotBox you can run status reports to view when plots are due their next risk assessment. 

Operators can easily pull data across time periods and view all risk assessments along with a range of useful information, including the result and memorial type, then generate and export custom reports, filtering data using configurable columns.

On-site risk assessments can be carried out with the aid of our innovative iPad app which allows staff to easily locate exactly where work needs to be carried out on digital maps and upload photographs of work carried out to highlight measures taken and facilitate inspection.

Which means that…you can take all necessary safety measures and inspect work carried out, ensuring you remain compliant, and with access to all of your risk assessment histories.

Learn more about PlotBox and risk assessments.

Our online Memorial Mason portal also puts cemeteries firmly in control of mason work requests, allowing them to view, approve, track and sign off in a single process, as well as create checklists, add required actions - and importantly - specify required documentation to ensure compliance with regulations for memorial works.

Learn more about the PlotBox Memorial mason portal.


5. Managing complaints


While no one likes receiving complaints, they’re a fact of life within any industry that provides a service, which is why it’s important to have the systems, processes and procedures in place to be able to satisfy the needs of customers and resolve any issues as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

In relation to regulations relating to the establishment of processes to resolve disputes and maintain a register of complaints, PlotBox provides the ability for cemeteries to log and track interactions via its CRM platform.

Why is this important? In providing a centralised platform for tracking and managing customer interactions, cemetery staff can address and resolve complaints in a timely and organised manner.

By capturing detailed information about each individual concern, cemetery staff are empowered to address complaints more effectively, and with a customer-centric focus.

In practice, PlotBox’s CRM allows the creation of work orders that will assign tasks (for example, the removal of graffiti, or of dead flowers), with the facility to follow up with confirmation on outcomes and actions taken once completed.

That provides a record of every complaint made, the details of which can then be reported on and used to provide a register of complaints if requested.

Together, this can streamline your complaint management processes, allowing you to become more responsive and resolve issues more promptly.

CRM reports also provide valuable insights into recurring issues, allowing you to proactively address root causes, contributing to continuous improvement in service quality and the promotion of good customer service.

Learn more about PlotBox CRM.


6. Managing cemetery data securely in the cloud


PlotBox partners with industry-leading Microsoft Azure, meaning that cemetery data is protected and stored securely across multiple data centres - prioritising data security, and implementing encryption, authentication and backup protocols to protect against unauthorised access and data loss.

With evolving threats and technologies, we continually test and monitor PlotBox, including all of our cloud infrastructure, to identify potential security vulnerabilities and ensure we’re always one step ahead.

That does a number of things, it: protects your data, mitigates risk, manages threats, ensures business continuity and provides peace of mind.

Essentially, this cloud environment combines these heightened security measures with improved accessibility for both onsite and offsite teams. 

Where compliance necessitates strict privacy standards, utilising a cloud-based system ensures that records remain confidential, meet regulatory requirements and instil confidence in both cemeteries and the families they serve.

This instant access to your data from anywhere at any time provides the advantage of centralised and streamlined record-keeping, making it easier to manage and retrieve all required permits, burial records, and other operation-critical information. 

And because it is updated in real time, it helps to foster efficient communication while ensuring accuracy and reducing the risk of errors.

The other good news is that cloud-based implementations are also much faster to deploy, with minimal start-up costs, predictable operating expenses and cost savings over time in terms of maintenance.

They also benefit from continuous updates as they become live.  

The cloud is increasingly emerging not just as a tech solution but as a strategic imperative for cemeteries seeking to reduce risk and remain compliant and agile while safeguarding their data with the highest standards of security.

Learn more about PlotBox cloud security.

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