By Don Archer
Arriving early… Dale hoped to get some work done before the phones started ringing. He kept a low profile as he listened through the door. The steady breathing of the night dispatcher and the intermittent screech of the police scanner told him he was sleeping again. “I better not wake him or I won’t get anything done” he thought to himself.
As he tip-toed past the guard dog (a plastic bobble head on the dispatch desk) into his office he quietly switched on the light- causing a chain reaction he’d hoped to avoid.
As the light came on- the phone rang- this rousted sleeping-beauty from his nap.
Startled by the sight of Dale, the weary-eyed dispatcher bolted to his feet throwing his hands out to his sides. His left hand hit the ringing phone, knocking it to the floor, and the back of his right hand slapped his “I love towing” coffee mug splashing its contents across the papers on the desk.
Reeling from the pain in his right hand the half-awake night owl groaned and shoved his other hand in the direction of the freed telephone receiver rocking back and forth on the floor.
“Dale’s Towing” he forced through gritted teeth, as he put the phone to his ear “how can I help you?”
The person answering your phones must be 100% at all times. They’re the first human contact most customers have with your business and you know what they say about first impressions…they mean a lot.
It doesn’t matter if you’re cranky, tired or feeling lazy you still gotta answer the phones properly. You’re on the front-lines of the towing business so you’ve gotta look alive.
Any successful dispatcher will tell you that their job is much more than just answering the phones. And if you dare utter the word receptionist in their general direction be ready for an earful.
It isn’t easy keeping your game face on for up to 12 hours a shift. Add to that the constant barrage of calls from ill-informed motor clubs, frustrated motorists who have no clue where they are, and law enforcement requesting you to expedite while giving location information that’s vague at best. It’s a recipe that’ll send even the most spotless among us to drinking.
But before you head to Margaretville let’s take a look at what makes a dispatcher successful.
A tow truck operator will define a successful dispatcher as one who keeps it fair. She won’t overload one tower with dolly jobs while allowing a privileged few to take all the gravy.
She values location almost as much as a Realtor and gathers-then-relays as much information as to where the disabled vehicle is.
She lets the tow truck driver know how services are being paid for and exactly how much the customer’s motor club covers… And she’ll find out WHY the vehicle needs towed.
The tow company owner defines success in the dispatching arena as someone who has all-of-the above plus has the ability to gain more business than she scares away.
Nobody wants to admit it but we all know dispatchers who are misanthropic, growly, miserable people who shouldn’t be allowed within 100 yards of a phone.
An effective dispatcher knows that it takes a good attitude, average sales ability and the knack of juggling many thoughts and tasks at the same time while you push through the rough patches.
So here’s what you need to be a good dispatcher
Moderate Sales Ability
But if I had to choose one over the other two I would have to say that a dispatcher with a good attitude is much more valuable than one with both the ability to sell and juggle many things at one time. A person with a good attitude is trainable a person without is hardly bearable.