We’re all one happy family at work, right? We all show up every day with a smile and a positive attitude. But ask any technician if he or she has ever been frustrated with their dispatcher and the answer (if they’re being honest) is always YES!
Now ask the dispatcher if they have ever been frustrated with a technician, and they will respond “The better question is, ‘Have you ever gone a day and not been frustrated by a technician?’ The answer is no.”
To bring an end to this continuing conflict, it’s important to understand the causes. Here are the top four reasons technicians and dispatchers frustrate one another.
The dispatcher has a goal to keep the schedule moving on time. The technician has a goal of getting through their calls and finishing their day on time. The first thing that has to happen is both parties have to align their goals and communicate those goals to everyone.
The correct technician must be dispatched to the correct call, based on the performance and communication style of both the client and the technician. This creates an environment where everyone wins. The client wins with a great service experience. The technician wins by getting to the right calls. The dispatcher wins by having a clear protocol to follow. And the company wins because everyone is working together.
The root of this battle is the “us vs. them” mentality. To foster an understanding between technicians and dispatchers, it’s vital to help team members understand the importance and challenges of different roles in the company.
Have your dispatcher ride along on calls with a technician. This will give the dispatcher a deeper appreciation for the process that technicians do, the challenges they face and the discomfort they deal with.
Have your technician sit with the dispatcher. And not during a slow time! Let the technician see the game of Tetris that dispatchers play every day. Make sure the technician understands that when they do not communicate delays, or hiccups with the office, the level of service decreases and the job of a dispatcher becomes much more difficult.
When a technician sees their schedule, and then that changes for some reason, they feel like they’re being slighted. As a dispatcher knows, schedule changes happen all the time. It’s important for the whole team to understand that until they’re actually dispatched to a call, the schedule is tentative.
Solve this issue by showing the technician one call at a time. That way they’re not aware of changes. They can also focus on the call they’re on — not the other calls on their schedule.
This is by far the biggest hurdle in eliminating conflict between dispatchers and technicians. The reason is that dispatchers always want more communication, and technicians don’t want to feel micromanaged. This can lead to a lot of animosity between the two groups.
Developing effective communication is the key. For instance, consider setting up non-threatening communication channels. For example, have the dispatcher text the technicians 30 minutes or so before their next scheduled call: “How much longer do you need on this call?”
This is a very non-threatening message. It’s not putting pressure on the technician to finish faster, it’s not interrupting them as a phone call would and it gives the technician a reminder in case they need to notify the office that they need more time.
It’s also important to reinforce the need for communication between the dispatcher and the technician. Dispatchers need to know if a call is going to take longer than anticipated so they can notify the next client in line. No one likes to show up to a call where the client is already angry. The technician may just need to understand the why behind the communication requests. This will help them feel supported instead of micromanaged.
Tension and conflicts between technicians and dispatchers can be resolved by identifying the root causes and addressing those issues directly. Ending the war between dispatchers and technicians will help your company reach its goals. Increase client satisfaction, improve company morale and improve company culture.
Here at Service Excellence, we’re here to help you start the discussion between technicians and dispatchers. If you would like assistance opening peace talks between your office and your field staff, reach out to Service Excellence today to sign up for a training course!
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