Dispatcher Responsibilities and Tips

Episode 102. Dispatching is a really hard job that transcends description. In this episode, we talk about the job. Scheduling, phone answering and the actual dispatching of calls.

Show Notes

Dispatching is a really hard job that transcends description. In this episode, we talk about the job. Scheduling, phone answering and the actual dispatching of calls.


Tersh Blissett: [00:00:04] If my water heater just fell in through the ceiling, out of my attic and you answered the phone like you’re at a circus, I’m not going to be happy about it.

Bryan Orr: [00:00:20] Hello, you’re listening to the Service Business Mastery Podcast with Tersh Blissett. This podcast is the podcast for anyone who’s in the service industry, whether it be an owner, a manager or somebody who works in the industry and has always considered going out into business for themselves and doing the podcast, we’re going to talk about despatching. So when we talk about the service business, there are service businesses that provide a service at their site. And in general, when we’re talking about service businesses, we’re talking about distributed teams, companies that send their people out into the world to do things, whether it be construction services, whether it be media we mentioned at locksmith’s or mobile mechanics or mobile detailers. Anybody who’s going out into the world to do things. And when you do that, you need a dispatcher. I’m your guest host, Brian Unger, and we are going to explore despatching. How’s it going, Tersh?

Tersh Blissett: [00:01:13] Pretty good. How about yourself?

Bryan Orr: [00:01:15] I’m doing all right. Sitting here in the power is back on here in central Florida and I’m happily sitting here in my office talking to you. So that’s a good day. Today on the podcast are going to be talking about despatcher responsibilities. This is an interesting one. We actually just hired a dispatcher. So I’m in an interesting position because I’ve been thinking about all of this. And dispatcher is a really hard job to describe. You think it’s pretty straightforward, but there’s a lot to it.

Tersh Blissett: [00:01:38] This is impossible to describe and you can put any description you like to on any Web based hiring software or program no matter what. If someone hasn’t been a dispatcher for an air conditioning or plumbing or electrical company, they just cannot grasp the true responsibilities of a dispatcher. It is helpful if the company is well organized, but it’s still a stressful job, is incredibly stressful job.

Bryan Orr: [00:02:04] So I guess the first question is, will just kind of talk about your business. Do you have a dedicated dispatcher?

Tersh Blissett: [00:02:09] We do. We have a dedicated dispatcher and another girl that answers the phone and helps with the dispatchers responsibilities.

Bryan Orr: [00:02:16] All right. So it halo’s my business. We have several cars. So customer service representatives that do the phone answering, we actually have three and then one who does after hours. And I think it’s actually going to be for here soon. And then we also have a dedicated dispatcher.

Bryan Orr: [00:02:30] You just have one dispatcher, the dispatchers, all the service techs.

Bryan Orr: [00:02:33] Yeah. So the dispatcher doesn’t answer any phones. The dispatcher does some outbound calls to the customer, but they don’t answer any of the phones and the cars answer the phone. So let’s talk about that first, because that’s one of the common things that companies debate is should a dispatcher answer the phones? And if they don’t, then what are they doing? What are they spending all their time on?

Tersh Blissett: [00:02:54] Exactly. If your dispatcher doesn’t answer the phones, your dispatchers role almost moves towards a service manager’s role. In my opinion, that’s what I’ve seen in the past, is if they have the time that’s freed up from not answering the phone, then they have more time helping to manage the service tax, which basically as a service manager, a lot of the times I find that having a CSR is very helpful. Hiring whoever is going to answer the phone is very helpful, but it’s not practical. When you first start out most of the times, when you first start out a company, whoever the owner is, is going to be answering the phone. So basically, you’re the dispatcher and you’re the owner and you’re the service tech and you’re everything. So this does fall in your role. You need to perk ears up. If you’re a One-Man show, if you’re a two man show, I mean, heck, you could be a 10 man show and you’re still the guy answering the phones. So really, a lot of the things that we’re going to discuss today are not things you would think about unless someone’s actually said, hey, look, you need to listen to this. You need to do this. You need to make sure you’re doing this when you answer the phone. These things don’t make sense to you. Like nobody comes out and says, hey, when you answer the phone, you need to do X, Y and Z. It’s just things that we’ve done. And across the nation, across the world, you answer the phone different ways. You’re going to pick up the phone here in Savannah, Georgia, and someone comes a yellow. What? Why are you saying colors yellow?

Bryan Orr: [00:04:17] How are you all alone in a how’s it

Tersh Blissett: [00:04:19] Going, buddy? Not everyone. But I do feel like in our area, that’s the common response. But if you’re the owner of the company, you’re setting up a precedent. Even if you’re out in the field and you’re answering your cell phone as the dispatcher, if it’s a new customer and you’re trying to give them the impression that you’re not a one man show, and if you want everybody to know that, hey, look, I’m just a one man show, I don’t want to be any bigger than this. By all means. Answer it. Hey, this is Joe or hello. That’s kind of the one that I get a lot whenever I talk to. Does that are just women shows don’t want to grow. They just say hello and they say, I don’t know if I have the right number. You’re given all kinds of mixed signals whenever you answer the phone that way.

Bryan Orr: [00:05:01] So that’s the first message, I think, is that if you are answering the phone, no matter who you are, it doesn’t matter if you’re answering the phone at a party counter. It is matter if you’re answering it as a service manager, as an owner or as the spouse of the owner. You have to identify yourself or the company or both when you. Do that, and I found that it’s actually nice to do both, if at all possible. So you’re saying, hi, this is Carlos. Hello, Carlos Services, this is Brian speaking. How can I help something like that? So that way you don’t have the person on the other end wondering who they’re talking to.

Tersh Blissett: [00:05:34] Exactly. And another thing to that is saying good morning. Good afternoon. I know that that’s a common courtesy here. That’s really normal. Some places, other parts of the country is not as normal to hear that. That’s a great intro. Good morning. Good afternoon. Because whenever somebody answers the phone, a lot of times they’re not fully listening or it may not be a great connection. Right. To start off with. So if you started off with this is Tersh, then somebody might say, what? I didn’t hear any of that. So if you started out and you said Good morning or good afternoon, thank you for calling, trust our heating, air and plumbing. My name is Tersh. How may I help you then? The customer, by the time you’ve gotten to trust our heating, air and plumbing, they know that they’ve called trust our heating and plumbing. They don’t think that they’ve called Joe Schmoes plumbing down the street. They know they’ve called trust our heating and plumbing. They know that your name is Tersh and then they know that. How may I help you? So the good morning. Good afternoon is null and void, but if it’s not there, then that amount of time the customer may not have heard trustor. They may have just heard plumbing, but they need an air conditioning company. So if they’re reaching out to an air conditioning company, all they hear is plumbing. Then they’re liable to hang up or say, oh, who am I talking to? I’m sorry, I have the wrong number. I was looking for air conditioning company, so it seems extremely trivial. I’m kind of a little anal about this. Whenever I’m talking to the girls in the office, I demand it pretty much. I need you to say good morning. Good afternoon. Thank you for calling Tri-Star Heating and Plumbing.

Bryan Orr: [00:07:09] And then the next thing is having that kind of smile in your voice, because that’s more important than what you say. I mean, you can say a really nice line, but say it like you’re busy or like you don’t have time for the other person or like you’re grouchy and it doesn’t come off. So kadence is huge. And having a smile in your voice is also really big and not one thing, because I’ve had some people who have worked for me who answer the phones almost too excited and that can be a problem in and of itself. It’s almost manic in the way that it is. My experience is that the best tone to answer the phone in is a conversational, warm, friendly tone that’s evenly paced and nice and calm and kind of has a calming effect on the person who’s answering the phone.

Tersh Blissett: [00:07:49] Yeah, if my water heater just fell in through the ceiling, out of my attic and you answered the phone like you’re at a circus, I’m not going to be happy about it. So definitely a normal conversation-type voice. Just smile. It travels through your voice with just a smile or a frown. A frown is going to travel just the same. So if you’re mad at the world, it’s instantly going to be picked up on by the customer. Great point. Smile.

Bryan Orr: [00:08:15] All right, so what’s next?

Tersh Blissett: [00:08:17] A big deal is when you put somebody on hold, that’s a huge deal. If you’re not the person to answer the question and you put somebody on hold to find out the answer, make sure you use the whole button. Don’t just set the phone down whenever a customer calls and you set the phone down and then somebody from across the officials in that Joe Schmoe he paid in six months. Why are we going out there?

Bryan Orr: [00:08:41] That’s the bleep bleep here. Who bleep bleep. Yeah, I get it.

Tersh Blissett: [00:08:44] Yeah. So make sure the person goes on hold. No company. I mean, nobody that we would be talking to would ever say anything bad about their customer. But just a heads up, make sure the person goes on hold for whoever you can. Also if you’re sitting right next to whoever the phone calls for, you can debrief them on what’s going on with the entire conversation as long as the person’s on hold. But don’t leave them on hold for very long, for a minute and a half without coming back to him. So they haven’t forgotten about you. We’re doing X, Y and Z.

Bryan Orr: [00:09:13] And that goes to something that does depend on the size of your business. So obviously, if it’s just you as the owner answering the phone, it’s going to be slightly different. But the main thing is you don’t want something negative to bleed into their earholes when you’re talking. You don’t want to have them hear something negative, which as a general rule, you don’t want to be talking negative about your customers anyway. But sometimes things can even be perceived as negative. Right. But then the other thing that I would say is if you have a phone system, if you’re at the stage in business where you do have a phone system, then I would suggest using a true hold, not just a mute because a mute like, are you still there or what’s going on? It is a little blank. And so generally, I’ll ask my dispatchers and Cathars to say, is it OK if I put you on a brief hold to get an answer to that question and then put them on hold in my hold? Messages are actually messages from me talking in a very calm tone, almost casually to them. And we’ve gotten really good responses on that as opposed to the typical thank you for calling. Caillaux services will be right with you shortly. You know, that’s very impersonal and feels very corporate. And so I just talk just like this in my whole music and just say, you know, I’m the owner of. And your calls are really important to us. I know it’s frustrating sometimes to be put on hold, but trust me, we only do it when we absolutely have to. And bells and whistles are going off all around the office to make sure that somebody gets your answer quickly. Just little kind of casual conversation. I found it works

Bryan Orr: [00:10:34] Really well that

Bryan Orr: [00:10:36] I don’t tell my dad jokes. I try to stay

Tersh Blissett: [00:10:38] Away from that. Yeah, you make a great point putting somebody on mute. It’s really easy. It’s really fast. But they’re sitting there in silence and they assume they haven’t gotten hung up on. But the thing about it is most of your cell phones now, whenever somebody does hang upon you, it’s not like you hear a click or anything. It just is silent. And then you’re looking at your phone every 30 seconds or so wondering if somebody hung up on you.

Bryan Orr: [00:11:00] We’re talking a lot about phones here. And this is with the assumption that the dispatcher is going to be answering the phones, which is if you’re a small business, you’re the owner dispatcher. And when you get to the next section, you have a separate dispatcher from the owner slash service manager who also answers phones. And then the third step is you have separate management cars and dispatchers. And so obviously not every dispatcher is going to answer the phone. But phone etiquette and having the ability to speak on the phone in a positive, pleasant, good customer service way is a really important part of all this.

Tersh Blissett: [00:11:30] Exactly. You don’t want to say I don’t know or no. That’s a real pet peeve of mine. If I hear somebody on the phone saying, no, we can’t do that or no, we can’t or any of that stuff, it’s like we are problem solvers. That is our role. That’s the reason why they called us. They have a problem. They need it solved and we’re the ones they reached out to just because you don’t see a way you can fit them onto the schedule. You don’t see this, that or the other. The answer, no, we can’t do that or I don’t know, it just really irks me. And it should irk any owner because basically that dispatcher that CSR is telling that customer that they are not as important as everybody else that’s has already called in. So once you’re as important as those other people are, will figure out a way to to get you taken care of.

Bryan Orr: [00:12:15] This kind of falls into a general category that when people hear this, they’re going to initially think it’s B.S. But I think if you think it through, you’ll find that this holds true. Don’t tell customers what you can’t do. Tell them what you can do. And so if somebody calls you and says, hey, I want you to sweep our parking lot, you don’t say, no, we don’t see parking lots. That’s not how you say that. What you say is we specialize in air conditioning, air conditioning, repair, whatever you want to say. Do you have any of that sort of work that you’d like us to help you with? You know, like that’s an extreme example. But just tell people what you can do, not what you can’t do. Like, hey, I need you here first thing in the morning. You don’t say we can’t schedule first thing in the morning. Is that starting off with a negative? You say we schedule and for our windows because we can never be fully sure when a technician is going to clear up from a particular job 8:00 a.m. in the morning was a bad example because you can schedule first call sometimes. But sorry, sorry about the eight a.m. in the morning, but the same day as for two p.m. in the afternoon, you don’t say, no, we can’t do that. Instead, explain what you can do, because as soon as you say no or I don’t know, a customer’s going to respond to that with a negative emotion.

Tersh Blissett: [00:13:18] Yep. The time period. That’s something we’ll talk about in a few minutes. And it’s really nice if you have a sister company that might just happen to be blue, do long hair and they can blow the sidewalk off.

Bryan Orr: [00:13:29] Yeah, that’s even better to say. We do air conditioning and refrigeration repair. We do have somebody who we know who we could refer you to, who does that sort of work. Would you like their number or would you like us to have them call you? That would be even better.

Tersh Blissett: [00:13:40] That goes straight into your networking. If you can network with other businesses, they could do the exact same thing for you. So we’re trying to get off topic on that.

Bryan Orr: [00:13:48] All right. So what’s next? Now we’re actually going to get away from phones and then talking about despatching itself. And so let’s talk generally about what despatching is, what makes it different than the other tasks and what some of the core skills are there.

Tersh Blissett: [00:14:01] Yeah, so despatching is just that you’re dispatching the service to your dispatching the installers. You may have a dispatcher for installers if you install manager doesn’t take care of your install team. So your dispatcher is going to let the service techs know where they’re going. They’re going to update the service techs. If anything changes the service, you’re going to update the dispatcher. So basically, if the dispatcher answers the phone, also, they are your mediator between the customer and the service technician. For the most part, whenever your dispatcher is dispatching the guys, you definitely want to make sure as a dispatcher you’re dispatching end zones. If you only have one service check, basically your entire service area is your zone. So that’s pretty much a no brainer. But if you have two guys, you want to have them stay on their own side of town. I understand that some guys are going to have specialties and they’re going to be better. Maybe if you have a XP product, if you have an inverter system, that one service is just really good servicing. But that unit is outside of their zone. They’re in the other person’s own. This is a time for them to learn. We want to make money, but we also want to have the best service possible. So keep your service techs in their own zone. That’s going to get real hairy whenever you get to service. It’s right next to each other and it’s like just over into this other zone. Take it with a grain of salt, but you want to keep them in their own areas as much as possible.

Bryan Orr: [00:15:23] And my previous employer, we called them pools and so they would actually even organize calls in a pool and you would very rarely have a technician cross pools. You would be in the Leesburg pool or the Davenport pool or the Claremont pool in our area. Those are all geographic areas. And when you were in that pool, you tended to stay in that pool. And the only time you would leave it is if you ran into calls that you could do. And I think you’re right in that technicians tend to want to kind of do what they know, what they’re comfortable with. And a lot of times companies will kind of play into that where they want to send its senior technician to every difficult service call. But what you want to set up is a system in which you have every zone covered with people who are at least skilled enough that they can do the bulk of things. And if there’s something that maybe is a little outside of their comfort zone, you still send them and you provide them with some support, someone who they can talk to. And if need be, you can send somebody. But it kind of helps them develop those skills that certainly the most efficient way to dispatch

Tersh Blissett: [00:16:19] With Trane, you have to be certified to work on the inverter technology. So if you happen to have a junior technician who hasn’t been certified through trained to work on the invertors, the teens and 20s, and you send a guy, you can’t send him out to work on an 18 or 20, you have to send someone out here certified. Those things will kill you. That’s one time whenever you’re like, OK, we’re going to cross this line.

Bryan Orr: [00:16:39] Another interesting thing is when you talk about zoning, because a big part of zoning is scheduling within his own. So you have to think about where is this geographically and then how are you going to schedule a range in that for for this job? And which is really where the crossover between CSI and dispatcher becomes really important. And so talk about that a little bit, because like in my company, we have separate cars and dispatchers and so the cars have to know what to tell the customer as far as a time range or how to schedule. And the way we have that set up is the dispatcher is responsible to constantly be updating the cars. We use group chat for that because we have several people. What do you see as being the process for different types of businesses?

Tersh Blissett: [00:17:17] That’s part of technology that’s really helped us out with technology. The fact that you are able to use group chat is wonderful. We have everyone in the same office, which is not a huge office, but we don’t have two girls in there. So they are right over each other’s shoulders. They can hear each other. Dispatcher also answers the phone a lot so she knows it’s easy. But whenever you get into a situation like what you’re in, they need to have some sort of chat capability so that they know the communications key and the fact that if the CSR, they understand not to promise exact times, that’s a key. That is a huge issue with people who have never done it. That’s the biggest red flag that I get from anybody. They’re like, well, I can not tell somebody they have to sit at their house for four hours and wait on me to get there. Well, the last time that you had your cable hooked up, what happened? They weren’t even nice about it. They were rude about it, I guarantee you. You’re told four hour windows, some cable companies, there are eight hour window. You have to be there all day and they’re not going to give you any kind of warning. My answer my response to anybody that has an objection to the four hour window is if you need a lead time, let us know.

Tersh Blissett: [00:18:27] We’ll call our technicians. We’ll call when they’re on their way. If you need forty five minutes to get home from work. Forty five minutes prior to us getting to your house, we will give you a phone call. If for some reason there’s a miscommunication in the service tech doesn’t make that phone call. We’ll search your house for forty five minutes and wait because that’s our promise to you that because we’re giving you a four hour window, we will also give you a lead time so that you’re not sitting there for four hours waiting on us to get there. The customer’s experience is our number one goal. Make sure they’re satisfied customers. But to make that a streamlined as possible, I’ve found that giving that customer lead time. But then whenever you do that, also you call that customer and they say, hey, look, I’m not even close to being able to go. An emergency came up. I need to reschedule. That does so many things for you as a service Tersh as a dispatcher, you’re able to not send a guy twenty minutes across town because the homeowner is not there. It’s really helpful to do that lead time if your technicians aren’t calling on their way anyways.

Bryan Orr: [00:19:27] So four our windows is sort of the standard window for a good sized company. When I first started I would do to our windows, but that was when I was really small and I had a really good grasp of everything that was going on, where everything was, when it was maybe me and one or two other technicians. But as you grow and by its very nature, when you have more technicians running around and there’s more variability that can get a little more tricky, it can also get easier in some ways because you can cover zones a little more easily. But there’s just more for one person to manage. And going from one primary dispatcher to two primary dispatchers, that’s a big leap. I mean, you’re generally a pretty good size company by the time you do that. And so you get to this point in the business where your dispatcher is extremely busy before you go to that second dispatcher, which means that it’s hard for them to make perfect decisions. A lot of things go wrong within a day. And so that’s where that four hour window comes into play. And like you said, the call to. It is huge so often the call ahead, if somebody objects, if you’re a small company and you can go down to as low as a two hour window, bravo, but it’s always better to keep your promise, even if they’re a little cranky on the front end because the window’s so wide, it’s better to do that than to miss a window in our company. Missing a window is like absolute red lights flashing, everybody freaking out in the office. I cannot stand missing windows because that’s a promise that you make to somebody.

Tersh Blissett: [00:20:43] Yeah, overpromise under-delivering. That is the quickest way to lose a customer. That’s the quickest way to get a batter up in a town. Our town’s a real small town. I mean, Savannah’s a pretty popular town, but it’s a tight knit community and it wouldn’t take very long for your word to spread if that’s the case, if you did a lot of the the only other thing, if someone has to have an exact time, like there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it, I have to have an exact time, 7:00 in the morning. That’s our only exact time or eight o’clock in the morning whenever you’re to start in the morning. And then they say, OK, perfect, I’ll be available tomorrow at 7:00 a.m.. Well, unfortunately, it’s three days from now, 7:00 a.m., because the last two callers wanted the exact same thing. You want to stay away from that? But I don’t find that objection a whole lot. As long as we give them a proper lead time, that’s the biggest thing is given the lead time to the homeowner or the tenant or whoever that is, that you need to take care of their things

Bryan Orr: [00:21:32] And you will run into circumstances where people are like, we had somebody just the other day who we actually have a way that you can request service calls via chat right on our website. So if you go on our website, you can actually chat with a car right there. And so I get to read all of those. And so we had somebody who said, you know, can you schedule a service call for the Saturday? I think it was a maintenance that he wanted. And and we said weekends open for service calls that come up that require repairs. But we’d be happy to do it any other time that works for you. And he was just like, well, if you’re not going to work with me and my schedule, I’m a hard working person is. So there are going to be circumstances in which you just can’t accommodate. I mean, there’s some people who have requested that we do installs on a Sunday, for example. We don’t do installs on a Sunday unless there’s some crazy extenuating circumstance where that’s the only possible time. But in many cases, it’s just the customer doesn’t want to take the time off. And so you’re not going to please everybody. But again, just being positive, telling people what you can do is generally going to be the best circumstance.

Tersh Blissett: [00:22:26] Not only that, not every person that has money is your customer.

Bryan Orr: [00:22:30] And there are a lot of people who don’t have money and are still going to call you. So that’s a whole nother subject. So zones are important and scheduling and windows are important. And those are kind of the two primary jobs the dispatcher dispatches, which is true. That’s just literally selecting the best job to send to the technician. But they also manage the schedule. And so when I write a job description for a dispatcher, I write dispatcher slash scheduling manager or scheduling supervisor or whatever, because they really are in charge of the calendar. That’s their job, is to make sure that calendar stays in shape and that everybody can get to every job regardless of whether you or not.

Tersh Blissett: [00:23:07] At the end of the day, another job or another responsibility of a dispatcher is to follow up with a technician after they finished each service call or at the end of the day, they need to follow up with the technician to make sure there’s nothing left hanging out there. A lot of companies will use dispatch software that leaves tickets open or has a parts order ticket option available. But the dispatcher still needs to follow up with the technician to make sure there’s no extenuating circumstances or whatnot dealing with that part that needs to be ordered. Has the person been quoted the price or is it just a part that needs to be done? Somebody has to follow up and quote them. Our technicians will quote prices on the site, unless it’s something weird that we have to get a special price for. Most of our prices are all in the flat rate price book so they can quote the price, write their own spot. But then if a part needs to be order, the dispatcher needs to get the part ordered and go through the whole process. But following through the last call a day or the last call that the service are the dispatchers on site because the service may be working three or four more hours after the dispatcher leaves, they’re able to make sure the schedule for the next morning is OK. So they’re not getting into the office at eight o’clock and receiving phone calls. Hey, your source said he’d be back out here today, but I haven’t heard anything from anybody. Then you’re scrambling around trying to get that customer taken care of because you didn’t follow up with the service technician at the end of the day, the previous day?

Bryan Orr: [00:24:31] Yeah, we have a centralized service software that we use. It’s online. It’s actually our own website we built. We call that auditing. And so the dispatcher, whenever a technician calls in standby, once they get them their next job, then they also go in and look at the notes in that job and just make sure that there’s not anything stupid, like they didn’t put any of their notes or it was incomplete and they didn’t let parts know or whatever the case may be. They’re just taking a quick look at it and making sure that nothing dumb happened. I mean, in a perfect world, technicians would do all their paperwork perfectly. But as you and I both know, that’s that’s a challenge to manage.

Tersh Blissett: [00:25:06] They’re going to take a while now. Do you give your service technicians all of their calls in the morning or do you wait and give them one call at a time?

Bryan Orr: [00:25:14] It depends. If they’re doing parts, we may give them a list of parts that they’re going to go do this before we. This motor and this compressor, that can happen, but in most cases, our schedule occurs within a day cycle. I mean, there are calls on schedule and maintenance. This would be another example. We may have 20 maintenance is on schedule, which will give a guy five maintenances and pat him on the rear end, not literally, figuratively pat him on the rear end and send him on his way. And that’s what he does that day. But for service technicians who are doing repair and diagnosis as well as I do, that could get into a job and it could take three hours or it could take 30 minutes in, that really makes a big difference. So in those cases, we’re doing them one call at a time. We give them the first call and then go from there.

Tersh Blissett: [00:25:50] Yeah, it’s a major dilemma that I found with technicians. They really want to know all their calls at the beginning of the day. And I could tell you every single one of your calls, but as soon as you walk out the door, that entire schedule could change. And you’re just wasting everybody’s time by sitting in here, the office in the morning and going over the schedule. And the worst thing is whenever they see their name, they see a customer that they know or they’ve dealt with and they’re like, oh, man. And then they have it in their mind. They’re going to have to deal with that person at three o’clock in the afternoon and the rest of their day is just screwed up. And then three o’clock rolls around and they’re like, well, why don’t I have to do with so-and-so? And will your schedule change all around? And Jimmy’s over there taking care of that and you don’t have to worry about it. And so they’ve ruined their day because of the

Bryan Orr: [00:26:37] There’s all kinds of weirdness that is involved with technicians schedule watching. And so one of the things is in the slow season, milking the clock because they know there’s not much on schedule. That’s one thing that can happen. Another thing that can happen is we call it camping at the end of the day, when they know there’s only a couple of calls left, they just sit there and wait before they call on standby to see if someone else will get the call. That’s a huge thing. Technicians, they’re like big children. And I think all adults are but technicians, especially because they’re so used to working on their own and not being directly managed in the same way that maybe people are when they’re in an office environment. Everybody can see what’s happening. And so some bad habits can develop. And that’s also the role of a dispatcher. In some companies, their role is going to be more proactive where they are allowed to call Texans stuff. In other cases, they may just report to their manager. But either way, that’s an important role of a dispatcher to say, hey, look, it seems like every afternoon Bob is taking a long time on his last few service calls. And then as soon as somebody else calls in, stand by, then he calls in standby because technicians noticed this with each other all the time. You know, which guys camp in which guys don’t. And then the other thing is also dispatching appropriately. So technicians aren’t coming into the shop all the time because you get some techs who don’t stock their trucks properly, don’t have the proper paperwork on their truck, and they’re always finding a reason to come back to the shop and get a cup of coffee, which is also something that a dispatcher. You really want that managing.

Tersh Blissett: [00:27:59] Holy cow. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing five guys standing around my desk in the morning. What are you doing? I’m just getting ready to go to my first goal. And it’s eight thirty. What’s how are you supposed to be there? Oh, eight o’clock. But I had to come over here and restock my truck. You had to what? You came to the office this morning. I mean, seriously. And then just like, oh, gosh, just go leave my office. Yeah.

Bryan Orr: [00:28:25] And that’s where as a business owner and manager, you want there to be space for people to socialize. But generally that’s if you have weekly meetings, maybe give people fifteen minutes, twenty minutes after the meeting where they have a chance to shoot the breeze. But that really needs to be it. I mean, if guys are standing around the office, they need to be cleaning their vans. If you have time to stand around the office, you have time to clean your van, you have time to wash it. It’s in my company. You guys will often say, because we’re family business, so we’re all friends. They’ll be like, oh, I’m not on the clock. It’s like, I don’t know if you’re on the clock or not, and I have no way to prove it. So if you’re here, you need to either be doing something productive, like cleaning your truck or doing whatever you’re here to do, or you need to be running out and doing your job. That’s it. And then maybe have that one little dedicated time per week where guys have fifteen minutes to a half an hour where they can drink a cup of coffee or whatever, come in early, come in before your start time if you want to do that. But as soon as that workday starts, you need to be rolling one thing or another, doing the job or cleaning your truck or whatever.

Tersh Blissett: [00:29:21] Our guys get paid flat rate, their performance based pay, their payroll is so their justification as well. I’m not Villanelle, so I’m not making any money. Well, you’re exactly right. You’re not bailing out. So I’m not making money. It’s a two way street. I’m pretty lenient on things. I’m a hard nosed about numbers. I understand the socialization and the camaraderie. But if I’ve told a customer that we’d be there eight o’clock and we’re not there eight o’clock, it better be because there was a pile up on the interstate on the way to your service call now

Bryan Orr: [00:29:50] That you’re hoping for that, of course.

Tersh Blissett: [00:29:52] No, no, absolutely not.

Bryan Orr: [00:29:53] All right. I think that wraps it up. So dispatcher’s primary responsibilities. If you’re going to answer the phone, answer professionally, do it the same way every time. Actually dispatching technicians, thinking in terms of zones and time ranges, windows of times, as opposed to exact times, manage the technicians, pay attention to all of those details and make sure that they’re doing what they’re supposed to do and reporting it to their managers or whatever if they’re not. And then in general, just managing this. We didn’t talk about time off and sick time and all that, those are all things that a dispatcher needs to be juggling and then reporting back to manager if there’s a challenge or something that needs to be filled in. So I think that pretty much sums it up. Is there anything else that you want to add?

Tersh Blissett: [00:30:31] Owners make sure that you don’t undervalue the job whenever you’re hiring someone for the job. Don’t assume that they’re just the secretary. They answer the phone. That is extremely stressful job. Don’t take advantage of it.

Bryan Orr: [00:30:42] That is for sure. All right. Well, thank you, Tersh. Once again, this is the Service Business Mastery Podcast, which is a member of the Blue Collar Roots Network. You can find all the podcasts on blue collar roots by going to blue collar roots dot com. You can listen to this podcast there. But in general, I’m going to suggest that you download his podcast on an app. So if you have an Android phone, you can get that on the Google Play store or if you want to download the Stitcher app, that’s another great way to get it. And you can find it just by searching Service Business Mastery Podcast. If you’re on a Apple device, then I suggest that you go to the podcast app right there on your phone search Service Business Mastery Podcast. Subscribe there. And we also have all those links at blue collar roots dotcom and then also join the Facebook group in the Facebook page, give a link to the Facebook page for Service Business Mastery Podcast, which you can find by just going to Facebook dot com forward slash Service Business Mastery Podcast.

Tersh Blissett: [00:31:29] Great. Thank you, Brian, for coming on and help guide the podcast and our infant days.

Bryan Orr: [00:31:35] Hey, no problem at all. I’m here as a guest, a guest on your podcast, Tersh, who happens to make sure that all of the details get into the end of the summer. All right. Thanks, man. We’ll see you next time.

Tersh Blissett: [00:31:46] Ok, thanks.

Bryan Orr: [00:31:58] Hey, thanks for still being here and listening all the way to the end. One final thing for me is that I’m really excited about this particular podcast because it provides a really good service to people who are often in a position where they really need it, and that is business owners, business managers getting to that place where they kind of feel alone. And a lot of the content that’s out there in the world, while it’s very good, is created by people who have a strong motivation to sell their courses or their content to you as an owner. And that’s all very good. And maybe a great time for that. And we may be even talking to some of those people. But for some of you, you don’t have time to even stop and think. And this is a way that you can consume this content while you’re still out there working, while you’re still out there driving around, doing jobs, doing proposals, that sort of thing. This is something you can kind of plug in your ear and maybe get a little encouragement and maybe some tips to make your life easier. So thanks for spending this 45 minutes or so with us here. I’m Brian or and we will talk about you next time on Service Business Mastery Podcast.

Meet the Hosts:

Tersh Blissett

Tersh Blissett is a serial entrepreneur who has created and scaled multiple profitable home service businesses in his small-town market. He’s dedicated to giving back to the industry that has provided so much for him and his family. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Joshua Crouch

Joshua Crouch has been in the home services industry, specifically HVAC, for 8+ years as an Operations Manager, Branch Manager, Territory Sales Manager, and Director of Marketing. He’s also the Founder of Relentless Digital, where the focus is dominating your local market online. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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