The 1-hour show featured every Saturday morning from 8:30 – 9:30 on VIA (DStv channel 147) looks at business as the heartbeat of modern society – on all levels. The exciting show targets all business in all sectors, big or small, and focuses especially on business matters of social importance. Furthermore, it also looks at the positive side of South African businesses that, especially in the current, difficult economic climate is of vital importance.
The programme gives consumers the opportunity to see what businesses are available out there, and for them to meet the personalities behind these organisations – something that in today’s business environment is often lost. After all, business is ultimately about people buying products and services from other people!
Funeral services and insurance group AVBOB is glad to be associated with the show, as it fits in perfectly with its own ethos of serving the South African public for more than 100 years.
In this past weekend’s show, Adriaan Bester, AVBOB’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs, shared how AVBOB is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing that the mutual society is no stranger to crises, having dealt with several since its inception in 1918.
“Other than the valuable experience the funeral service provider and insurer has gained in dealing with disaster situations in the past, it also has sufficient scale based on its more than 200 funeral offices all over South Africa in properly dealing with an increase in deaths brought about by any pandemic.
The first thing we had to do when the lockdown was introduced, was to structure the organisation’s head office and insurance infrastructure in such a way that our personnel could continue with their work from home. Our funeral branches, of course, have remained open.”
Other than introducing measures to its normal procedures in order to protect its staff and clients, government also laid out stringent measures around burial and cremation processes and protocols that funeral service providers like AVBOB have to adhere to during the lockdown period, for instance the limit of 50 people that are permitted to attend a funeral.
“Adhering to all the regulations is not always easy for our clients, especially since they are already going through a difficult time in dealing with the death of a loved one. But people generally understand why the measures are in place and why we have to adhere to them. We do everything in our power to soften the impact and centre our efforts on each individual family and their needs.”
Mourners can build online memorial page
To assist even further in this regard, the mutual society has introduced a first ever digital multi-platform that allows families and friends of a deceased to build a memorial page online where they can share their sentiments with each other. AVBOB’s new platform is also a first to allow participation from contributors via USSD which is a cost-effective communication platform that South Africans use to interact with brands. This, again, epitomises that AVBOB creates products and services that cater for all South Africans.
AVBOB is also investigating the possibility of repurposing its chapels for livestreaming of funeral and memorial services. So, whilst the number of actual attendees at a funeral is limited to 50 people, this allows an unrestricted number of people to livestream a memorial service.
AVBOB takes special precautions when dealing with deaths caused by COVID-19. Staff are equipped with protective clothing and equipment to ensure that they, and their clients, are properly protected while ensuring that the deceased is treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
AVBOB is also playing a crucial role on the Corporate Social Investment front where it has identified organisations it can work with, especially those involved with providing food relief. Other than the Group and its personnel’s contribution of R4.73 million to the government’s Solidarity Fund, it has also made donations to existing food programmes like Soul Food as well as new initiatives that were set up to assist with the severe food needs that have risen. AVBOB has also donated protection equipment and even made some alterations to its factory in Bloemfontein to produce protection equipment.
To watch past Saturday’s interview with Bester, click here: https://youtu.be/B0fPDgDg8Ug
In this coming Saturday morning’s episode, AVBOB’s CEO, Carl van der Riet, joins Business that Matters presenter Rozanne McKenzie to discuss the importance of AVBOB’s front-line workers and what they are dealing with during COVID-19. Tune in to VIA (DStv channel 147) this Saturday, 20 June, from 8:30 – 9:30 for the interview.
AVBOB can be contacted for all customer enquiries and needs via its national call centre which operates 24/7. Clients should call 0861 28 26 21. Standard call rates apply.