Tytus Cornejo is a Funeral Director and owner of Core Cremation in Wichita, KS and Cornejo Funeral Home in Wellington, KS. Tytus attended the 2019 NFDA conference for the sole purpose of finding software that would allow him to conduct his entire business operation virtually. He was able to accomplish that and more with Gather. Here are the main successes that Gather helped his team achieve:
Read below to learn how Core Cremation completely manages all case entry and family collaboration using only one app.
Tytus never really planned on being a funeral director. He was going to business school, and ended up receiving an unexpected opportunity to spend his evenings and weekends helping out at a funeral home for extra cash. Little did he know that this side job would be the start of his career in the funeral industry. A natural at building relationships and being of service to people, he was quickly recruited to put his kindness and smart business nature towards being a first generation funeral director.
In 2003, after graduating from Mortuary School in Kansas City, he moved back to his hometown of Wellington and started working at a new local funeral home. The owner of the funeral home at the time was also a first generation funeral director. He told Tytus during his first interview that if he wanted to stick around he would have the option to take over the business. He did just that in 2012 at the young age of 29 and became the owner of what is now Cornejo Funeral Home. His family legacy is filled with hard workers and entrepreneurs who have always provided for themselves and were role models for Tytus. They always said “If you can, work with your head and not with your back — work smarter, not harder”. That’s how he has been operating for the last 16 years of his career as a funeral director, and that’s the exact mentality that led him to Gather.
He arrived at the 2019 NFDA Convention in Chicago on a mission: research all software companies attending the conference and select the one that checked off all his boxes. “Finding a company that would allow us to do arrangements digitally was going to be critical. It’s a big deal to maximize the efficiency of our staff. Instead of bringing on another employee, we can use the technology to serve as an employee. Instead of being ‘someone’ who collects that information, it’s ‘something’ that does it for you. We supply it with the information and it’s smart enough to know what to do with it.” Due to his volume, Tytus and his team are not always able to meet with families anywhere at anytime which makes it crucial to have software to assist with that workload on a daily basis. “Having this technology allows us to get information and give information to families, anytime and anywhere”.
While visiting Gather’s booth at the convention, Tytus immediately confirmed that the software was a solution to all his questions and concerns: online case management and scheduling, free web based app for family to submit all necessary information and collaborate with everyone involved, virtual GPL and Merchandise showroom, ability to authorize the contract and take payments in the app, and an e-signature feature for all documents and forms. He asked himself the same 3 questions he always does when making a decision for his business:
“I have two businesses, two different locations, and two different communities. With shared staff and having the ability to not have to be physically present in another location, that was a big deal for our business, and Gather allows us to do that. It allows us to work with any family for either location, at any time. That was something that I knew I could get on board with”. They did get on board, and after only a short time he was seeing clear solutions to his problems.
The software that Cornejo Funeral Home and Core Cremation used prior to Gather was really only focused on the admin and funeral home side of things. The platform was built to interact with the staff and that’s it. There was no side of it for the family interaction at all. This was a big problem for the Core Cremation branch of his business, which heavily depended on the ability to interact with the family and not have to be present in the same room for it. Gather offers an intuitive and user friendly solution for the family to accomplish all that they needed from the comfort of their home. “The biggest benefit of Gather is actually outside of arrangements and having a way for families to upload their information into the app as it becomes available. For example, they don’t know who their casket bearers are, or what their music selections will be during the arrangement conference, so to be able to add that in later on is helpful.”
Besides being super user friendly and easy for family helpers up into their 60s and 70s, Gather offers a comforting and calming environment to get all the necessary tasks at hand accomplished. Funeral Directors are true heroes in the eyes of many, always there willing and able to assist in the most difficult time of a family’s life. “A lot of times arrangements are happening without the funeral director there. The time immediately following a person passing away to a day or so later when the family meets with the funeral home, that is where most of the conversations are happening between the family. Trying to gather information, trying to make decisions for services, etc. Gather allows you to be a silent part of that, a place where you allow them to collect that information and have a presence there, even if it’s not physical.” With Core Cremation being online, a lot of the responsibility is shifted to the family to provide information for the funeral home. “With higher family involvement, I thought we would have to push them towards that, but for the most part the families prefer to do it on their own. They prefer to complete the death certificate, upload pictures, to get the obituary started, all on their own.”
With the first question answered and covered Tytus needed to see how the app would help his staff become more efficient. With two separate locations and different types of families served it was important that the shared team of employees were not overworked, time was being managed, and internal processes were improved. One of the key features they rely on with Gather is the Calendar app. This was something they were not impressed with with their previous software. “I didn’t really use it last time, but we use it all the time now! Because you make it so easy to do that. When you’re putting in arrangement, visitation, or service information — you’re putting it directly into your personal calendar. This is exactly what I want. I want it to be easy for me and for the families that we’re helping.”
What happens when you need one app to help you save time to get your job done, and also quickly and effortlessly help your family? Tytus knew the Core Cremation team found their perfect solution when one Friday afternoon 3 death calls came in within 2 hours of each other, and they prepared themselves for a hectic and long day. Because of Gather they were able to grab basic vital information, invite families to the app as contributors, and had all 3 arrangements completed before they left for the day at 5 pm. “We would’ve never been able to do that in person, without Gather.” All three families got into the app immediately, completed the death certificate information, the staff reviewed their authorization forms and contracts with them, and received signatures immediately. That was a big deal for them because they didn’t have to worry about scheduling the arrangement conference. Everything was done online right then and there. The AutoForms feature played a big part of saving time and money when helping these families without seeing them in person. “The ability to send families paperwork right where they’re at to sign off on has been wonderful.”
Today, Tytus continues to use his business skills and incredible ability to connect with people to help more and more families with the assistance of Gather. He continues to work on standing out from his competition in the market and truly believes Gather has made an impact on his business in achieving his pressing goals and challenges. “There hasn’t been one time where I wished I would’ve picked someone else — I’m very glad we went with Gather”.
Gather is an innovative case management platform and live streaming solution built specifically for funeral homes. We love funeral directors and firmly believe that helping families through the loss of a loved one is one of the noblest professions. Our vision is to give funeral directors a seamless solution that helps both the funeral home and the families they serve.