4 Ways to Improve Communication for Dispatchers
In the heavy equipment rental industry, improving communication between dispatchers can be challenging. Fortunately, new technologies have made vast improvements to communication capabilities – and now it’s time for the industry to catch up. Below are four ways I’ve found that dispatchers are able to improve communication and increase efficiency:
1. Establish an Email Process for Dispatch
It seems to be an industry standard that dispatchers call or text their operators and drivers to inform them of scheduled projects; this approach is obviously the most personal but also has potential for providing the least information (or at least in the case of text messaging). But, consider the ability of personnel to remember the details discussed during phone conversations or the questions that may exist after that text message is read.
By introducing an email process in dispatching, all pertinent information can be forwarded to the appropriate employees and you have a record of the conversation. With this method, both the operator/driver and the dispatcher can come back to the email later to see what was discussed. 91% of adults have cell phones, and the clear majority of those phones can send and receive email. This means that you can send and receive on the go without being tied to a desk. Plus, all associated paperwork that would normally be printed out, can be forwarded in the email. Saving tons of money on paper and ink.
2. Document Job, Customer and Other Critical Details in a Centralized System
Notes are vital; the dispatcher’s role requires so much information flow that even the best of us have a hard time keeping facts straight and ensuring all personnel have the right details available. There are many tools available today that can be leveraged for note-taking. In a centralized fleet management system, notes can be taken and associated with a specific job, customer, site, piece of equipment and other granular levels. This information can be synced with other systems you might use, like CRM and accounting systems, to ensure information is available readily across databases.
This method provides the ability to search your previous notes and you can get others on board to share a single communication platform so that salesman, operators, drivers, and the dispatcher can keep each other updated.
3.Confirm Details Prior to Start of Every Job
We have all been faced with the moment when our driver or operator arrives on site and the customer calls in, “This was supposed to be cancelled”, or “the scope changed, I need x equipment, not y.” This has been a common occurrence in the industry from the beginning, and the burden of responsibility to fix always falls on the dispatcher. With a fleet management operations system in place, dispatchers can login every afternoon and run down a list of the jobs taking place the next day. They can review confirmed quotes, view the detailed notes that were taken when confirming the job, and view customer information to call or email and confirm the details of a job prior to its start.
As the industry moves toward more efficient models, dispatchers are going to be tested. Get ahead of the pack by improving communication.
4. Take Advantage of Mobile Applications for Fleet Management
As a dispatcher, I have often lived through the experience of a customer calling last-minute to make major changes to a job happening the next day. These calls usually happen at the end of the day, right as you’re ready to head out. Then all of a sudden you have another hour of work ahead of you and your family has to wait even longer for you to get home. While this situation can’t be prevented – it can be minimized. With mobile apps for fleet management dispatchers can take care of modifying job details from their smartphones or tablets. You can make adjustments on the fly and avoid spending those extra hours in the office at the end of a long work day.
In summary, the technology provided today can totally change the way you look at dispatching by reducing the hours involved in scheduling and dispatching, and improving communication across the organization. Leveraging fleet management software leads to the most efficient way of conducting business.