Customer Champion Award: Freedom Funerals 0

Customer Champion Award: Freedom Funerals

Here at Beyond, nothing makes us happier than hearing back from families who’ve found the perfect funeral director for their needs. This month, after receiving a particularly heartfelt review from Caroline Mattocks, we were left in no doubt as to who our Customer Champion Award winner would be: congratulations to Lee of Freedom Funerals in Colchester!

“Lee spoke to me like a normal person, which I really appreciated. I cannot convey what that meant to me. I had spoken to other funeral directors and, to be honest, they either sounded fake or spoke to me like I was a child. But not Lee. He was there whenever we needed him.” – Caroline

To find out more about what inspired such an outstanding review, we decided to have a chat with Lee about his long experience with caring for bereaved families like Caroline’s.

“My approach,” he told us, “is really just to talk to families openly and honestly. It’s all about making people feel at home and sitting them down and befriending them, if you like. People prefer that approach – that I’m talking to them and being normal.”

Personal service

Established in 2004, Lee opened Freedom Funerals several years after his father died, holding firmly to the view that families could be provided with a better, more personal experience than what was offered to his family by one of the national chains.

“The business approach should be all about service; that people actually get what they want, and not what somebody is trying to sell them,” Lee explained. “We’re flexible, and we make sure everything runs like clockwork. I’d say it was old-fashioned service, with a modern twist.”

A family affair

Like many other family-run funeral directors, Freedom Funerals is run by a father and son team, who strive to offer the very best family care, choice and value. However, as Lee was quick to mention, keeping it in the family doesn’t always mean better service.

Customer Champion Award: Freedom Funerals“Many funeral directors are still old-fashioned, passing their business straight to their sons. I don’t see how that can always be a good thing because they’ve not got new ideas about anything – if you don’t alter and change, your son is not going to alter and change,” Lee told Beyond.

At the same time, Lee says that having different generations on staff can be a real asset. “Because he [Lee’s son, William] is almost half my age, he looks at things differently. He maybe has a better idea of what somebody of his age group is thinking, as opposed to me.”

The important thing is that all his staff feel that, like family members, they can always speak their mind: “Everybody who works for me is exactly the same. If they want to suggest anything, they know that I’m really open. If they want to say something, they can say it.”

Ready for the next step

As regular readers of the Beyond blog will know, the results of the recent CMA investigation are still rocking the funeral industry. A stark call for more transparency and fairer prices, especially from the big chains, has created a backlash. We asked Lee what his take was.

“It’s funny you should ask me about that, because I’m one of several who have been asked to write a parliamentary review. You see, the government was looking for people who have a different view on things,” Lee explained.

“Yes, I think there does need to be more transparency, certainly. There’s enough profit in the funeral industry for many to drop down their prices as well – to help out in the way that I’m doing [Freedom Funerals offers low cost funerals and share all their prices on Beyond].

“I’ve said that everybody could do what I do to help people in poorer situations, but many choose not to because they don’t have to – they don’t have the competition yet.”

A funeral director you’re happy with

Despite the changes that still need to take place within the funeral sector, families should still feel confident when approaching independents in their area.

On behalf of families who have recently suffered a bereavement, we asked for some advice from Lee: “I would always say to go and meet the person that’s going to look after the person that’s died. The priority should be finding somebody that you’re happy with to look after your loved one, you know?

“Don’t just take the first one you walk into; always find out who’s actually going to be involved and make sure you are happy – that’s what is most important.”

If you’d like to find out more about Lee and Freedom Funerals, or would like to enquire about making funeral arrangements with them, you can visit their Beyond profile here.

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Beyond Customer Champion Award: James Funeral Service 0

James Funeral Service Funeral Directors in Harrow London

This month, after reading a particularly glowing report of their service, we are very pleased to announce that the Beyond Customer Champion Award for October is awarded to: James Funeral Service based in Harrow.

James Funeral Service Funeral Directors in Harrow LondonWe decided to speak with Mr Keith Keshwar in light of the kind words he left regarding his experience using James Funeral Service. After losing somebody close to him, Keith spent several days phoning around to different funeral directors in order to begin making arrangements. Dismayed to find that many of them were primarily interested in talking about money, Keith turned to Beyond to help find a reputable funeral director is his local area.

Initially concerned about his financial circumstances, Keith was worried that he would be stuck without a proper funeral for his loved one. However, after connecting with James through Beyond, he was immediately reassured from the very first contact:

‘I phoned around to a few people and he was far and away the best person I spoke to. When I first made contact with him on the phone, I was comforted by the way he spoke and how he dealt with my issues.’

Keith was not short on praise when we asked him about the service itself: ‘James was excellent and gave me the perfect service – I can’t fault it. He went beyond the call of my expectations, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that really.

‘Everyone else was more interested in the money, but not James. What he said he would deliver is exactly what he did. He communicated with me throughout the whole process and made sure every little thing was attended to.’

When asked if the quote he received on Beyond was accurate, Keith had this to say: ‘What James advertised was exactly what I got; he was incredibly honest and truthful, and his service exceeded my expectations. He fully deserves all the praise he gets.’

If you would like to make contact with James Funeral Service, then please take a look at their funeral director profile here.

Beyond Customer Champion Award: Sayce & Bull 0

funeralbooker customer champion

With great pleasure we can announce that the winner of September’s Customer Champion Award – recognising excellence in funeral care towards Beyond’s customers – is Sayce & Bull, who are based in Eastbourne.

Sayce & Bull


As every month, we comb through the reviews left by real customers who have used our platform to find their local funeral director and pick the best one as the basis for this award.


Last month, a person who wishes to remain anonymous lost her husband. On the advice of a friend who had previously used another local funeral directors twice before, she visited with that firm. It seems that this firm has since been taken over by a national chain, and the person was distressed by the way she had been treated; with no sense of compassion and no great effort being made to understand what she was going through, and no willingness to help her in planning a meaningful farewell.


The customer did not feel right about the way this meeting had gone. On the advice of some friends, after a sleepless Saturday night, she decided to take the “unusual step” of shopping around. She came across Beyond (then Funeralbooker), and used our service because we are available to speak to customers on Sundays.


After filling in the enquiry form for Sayce & Bull on their profile page, one of our team gave her a call and informed her that someone from Sayce & Bull would call her back in 10 minutes, which they did. From this first phonecall, she was impressed by Miranda’s professional and caring approach.


She had begun planning the funeral with the previous funeral directors, and had already booked a slot for her husband at the crematorium. This caused a lot of stress, as she did not want to have to deal with this funeral directors again. Immediately, Miranda made all this stress “melt away,” assuring her that the crematorium slot was booked in her husband’s name, and not in that of the funeral directors.


Incredibly, the figure quoted by Sayce & Bull was £2,000 cheaper than the quote she had received previously, and this quote did not even include a limousine.


The lady wanted to do the best for her husband, and found the support that she was given by Miranda to be amazing down to every last detail. She was given choice, advice and emotional support at this difficult time, and by the end of the funeral Miranda was “like an old friend” to her.


There is perhaps no greater compliment to be made to Sayce & Bull than: “It was a great shame he couldn’t be there. He would have really enjoyed it.”


It’s sentiments like this, and the fair pricing strategy (brought so sharply into focus when contrasted with the fees charged by the national chain) which make Sayce & Bull the deserved winner of our Customer Champion Award for September. Getting a funeral right can be a massive help in the grieving process, and we’re proud to help people at these trying times to find a funeral director who will do right by them and their loved one.


Take a look at Sayce & Bull’s profiles here:


Bexhill on Sea