Funeral plan provider Avalon is celebrating one of its most successful years to date following significant investment in transforming the support customers receive.
With the sale of funeral plans rising significantly in 2021, the Wilmslow-based firm adapted its offering and level of remote support – an action which led to them being crowned Best Funeral Plan Provider in the 2021 Personal Finance Awards.
Responding to the need for social distancing, the firm’s first major change was the migration from an in-home, face-to-face channel to meeting customers on Zoom.
This recognition of customer’s changing need has led to video appointments becoming the company’s largest UK channel, allowing for more of its team to benefit from flexible working whilst also delivering the quality of service it’s renowned for.
Another milestone, developed in response to customer’s desires for simpler, less traditional funeral plans, is the launch of the Avalon Celebration Plan, which allows customers to choose a funeral that celebrates their life in a way that is truly unique to them, and comes with a personalized, less costly service.
Susan Stevenson, CEO at Avalon commented: “The past two years has, as for most people and organizations, been completely driven by the pandemic. We are very proud to have migrated our ‘in the home face to face channel’ to now meet customer needs via Zoom – as the average age of our customers are in the late 60s, it’s a sign of the changing times that video appointments are now our largest UK channel.
“We recognise that this year’s transformation could not have been possible without an excellent support team and that’s why we continue to welcome passionate and empathic people to our team.”
Avalon was founded in 1993 and has since provided a range of plans to 85,000+ consumers across Europe.
The firm, which is supported by a network of over 1800 independent funeral directors, provides a range of plans, each which is offered with the benefit of the Avalon Promise. This means should the customer die before their plan is fully paid the costs of the services included will be covered.
With the funeral plan industry now heading towards mandatory FCA regulation, the firm is continuing to build a first-class team of experts driven by ethics and values to ensure that an excellent and honest service is delivered, always.
Georgia Marshall-Brown has joined as Group Head of Marketing, Melissa Fothergill as Group Head of Compliance and Jonathan Simpson whostarts officially in January, joins as the firm’s new CFO.
Susan added: “As of July 2022, the sector will become FCA regulated – a regulation we welcome as it will ensure best practice for customers. These new rules are set to raise standards in the funeral plans market and require all providers to ensure their plans are sold fairly, perform as expected and represent good value for money. This is something we’ve been doing for the last two and half decades.
“Funeral plan sales rose significantly in 2021 due to a growing interest in the product and the need to make a plan, and the regulation will ensure that this interest isn’t exploited by firms who don’t have a commitment to their customers.
“It’s never been an easy thing for people to think about, and that’s why as providers we must ensure we make the process of choosing a plan as smooth and as financially flexible as possible.
“Without a team of people who share the same values this would be difficult, hence our focus on hiring people with the right level of empathy and commitment to doing the right thing by customers.”
To find out more about Avalon’s range of plans, please visit www.avalonfuneralplans.com.