We are all one happy family at work, right? We all show up every day with a smile and a positive attitude. Everything is sunshine and roses… Until…. The war between dispatchers and technicians begins anew.
This war has been going on for eons and will continue unless we choose to end it. No one knows exactly where or when it started. But it is almost legendary, ask any technician if he or she has ever been frustrated with their dispatcher and the answer (if they are being honest) is always YES!
Now ask the dispatcher if they have ever been frustrated with a technician, they will respond “the better question is, ‘Have you ever gone a day and not been frustrated by a technician?’, the answer is no.”
Before we can stop the war, it is important to understand the causes. Here are the top 4 reasons technicians and dispatchers are at war.
The dispatcher has a goal to keep the schedule moving on time. The technician has a goal of getting through their calls, making money, and getting home to their family at a decent time.
The Fix: Get their goals aligned and communicate those goals to everyone.
- Dispatch the correct technician to the correct call, SET recommends dispatching based on performance and communication style of both the client and the technician.
- Provide exceptional client transformation on every call. If goal one is accomplished this one should fall into place.
- Create 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.
2.Lack of appreciation for their teammate.
The root of this battle is the “us” vs “them” mentality. It is 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 is much more difficult.
3: The ever-changing schedule.
When a technician see’s their schedule and then that changes for any number of reasons, they feel like they are being slighted. As a dispatcher knows, schedule changes happen all the time. It is important for the whole team to understand that until they are actually dispatched to a call, the schedule is tentative.
The Fix: Only show the technician one call at a time. That way they are not aware of changes. They can also focus on the call they are on not the other calls on their schedule.
This is by far the biggest hurdle in ending the war between dispatchers and technicians. The reason is, dispatchers always want more communication, and technicians do not want to feel micromanaged. It leads to a lot of animosity between the two.
The Fix: Set up non-threating 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-threating message. It is not putting pressure on the technician to finish faster, it is not interrupting them like 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 is also important to reinforce the need for communication both to 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.
This war can be resolved by identifying the root causes and by addressing those issues. Ending the war between dispatchers and technicians will help your company reach your goals. You will notice an increase in client satisfaction, improvement in company morale, and an improved company culture.
Share this blog with your team to start the discussion on how your office can end this war. If you would like assistance with opening peace talks between your office and your field staff, fill out the form below to contact me.
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