Choosing the right dispatcher for your tow truck company can be just as important as choosing your drivers. Your dispatchers act as the face of your company and can be the glue that holds your employees together. They are the first people to talk to your customers and the ones that will work closely with your drivers to get their jobs done. That being said, here are some of the key characteristics to look for when hiring a dispatcher.
7 skills to look for when hiring tow truck dispatchers
Patience and calm.
Most of your clients are going to be tense, terse, or shaken up. So, it’s important to have dispatchers who can remain calm in high-stress situations with ease. They’ll need to be able to calmly assess a caller’s situation through great listening skills and be equally as calm when relaying that situation to your drivers.
Sometimes, they’ll even need to know how to diffuse situations should a client become displeased or impatient. Above all else, it’s vital that your dispatcher have pleasant customer service skills and know how to reassure your client that your business has the right training and protection for their vehicle, whether you have to work on their vehicle on the side of the road or keep their vehicle overnight in your garage.
Strong organizational and communication skills.
It’s also important that your dispatcher is someone who can take down accurate notes, relay policies, and communicate important information to your tow truck drivers so that your clients can be helped quickly and easily. They’ll especially need to be masters at this during your busy seasons so that information between clients is not mixed up.
Even a surface-level knowledge of the type of car that needs to be serviced and the functions of your towing equipment will help a whole lot when they’re coordinating who needs to go out and help the customer.
Prioritizing skills & time management.
Additionally, dispatchers need to be able to ask the right questions and identify only the most important information that will help the responder address your client’s issue easily. They’ll need to be able to maintain consistent workflows, schedules, and locations of your drivers so that they effectively assign jobs and shave down the time between responses so that your drivers can assist more customers. Doing so lowers your response time, minimizes confusion, boosts your company’s reputation, and ultimately saves you money.
Computer experience & data entry.
With the growing technology landscape, especially in the tow truck space, you’ll need a dispatcher who is tech savvy and can learn new technologies quickly. Admittedly, bringing and keeping your tow truck company ahead of the technology curve can be difficult. However, if you have someone who can easily figure out the ins and outs of your current and future dispatch software programs, boosting the productivity and effectiveness of your business is going to be a much faster and easier process.
Knowledge of your service area.
Having someone who knows your service area isn’t completely necessary, but if you do have a local helping your drivers navigate the roads, it can’t hurt! Someone who knows your service area can be extremely helpful when advising your drivers of heavy traffic times, back roads, and hazardous or construction areas. Again, technology is quite a marvel; so, even if your drivers are unfamiliar with an area, GPS systems, phone’s maps systems, or even a map feature on your dispatch software can be a primary source of navigation. Still, having someone who knows the area can sometimes fill in the holes that technology can’t.
Strong problem-solving skills.
Let’s face it, towing can be unpredictable. Sometimes you get called for roadside assistance, sometimes a customer doesn’t know exactly where they are to receive help, sometimes a customer doesn’t quite know or can’t communicate all the information your company needs to help them properly. In any case, dispatchers have to know that towing is almost never a clear-cut job. So, they’ll need the skills to be able to pick apart a situation and act with diplomacy, creativity, and tact in order to resolve a customer’s issue.
Self-awareness & stress management skills.
Towing can also present a lot of stressful situations, both for your driver and your dispatchers. It’s also a job where everyone needs to be able to communicate freely and openly so that no job is missed, and none of your drivers becomes a victim of predatory towing.
So overall, dispatchers are going to need good people skills. They have to have the self-awareness to recognize how they interact with people, how they handle their own stress, and how to leave their issues at the door. They may need conflict-resolution skills if problems arise between co-workers and a sense of empathy to understand the heightened emotions of customers (and sometimes tow truck drivers). They’ll also need to be able to clearly communicate issues and properly mediate between customers, drivers, and even you when problems arise. Doing so can help create a more cohesive work environment and cut down on escalating incidents.
All in all, a dispatcher can be many things for your company – a mediator, a shoulder to lean on, someone who makes sure that your tow truck drivers look and act their best, someone who keeps your office in line, a teacher, and more. Most importantly, you want a dispatcher who can lessen the risks of your business, whether it’s from treatment of a customer, injuries to your workers, or security of your online assets.
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Roskopf, Geri. “Your Dispatcher: The Voice and Face of Your Company.” Tow
Times, Aug. 2017, p. 17.