In the transportation industry, drivers and dispatchers play two of the most critical roles in day-to-day business operations. While drivers are out hauling loads and making good on delivery schedules, dispatchers are working hard behind-the-scenes to plan, troubleshoot, and ensure the entire process goes smoothly.
Both drivers and dispatchers depend on each other to get the job done. When a customer calls in for an estimated time of delivery regarding their package, dispatchers are required to touch base with the drivers to get the information. When a driver runs into heavy traffic or other types of road obstruction, they will contact a dispatcher to plan an alternate route. While these few examples show how important it is for drivers and dispatchers to maintain good relationships, it isn’t always easy.
If you’re planning on becoming a dispatcher, you will definitely experience days where not everything goes as planned. Bad weather, changes in road conditions, and irate customers are a few things that can occur at any point. Additionally, a breakdown in communication with a driver will only make matters worse.
Here’s how experienced dispatch professionals maintain good relationships with drivers:
Experts with Dispatch Training Should Always Act Professionally
Once you’ve completed your dispatch training, you will find that dispatchers receive tons of phone calls on a daily basis. Customers call in to confirm orders, make changes to existing orders, or for status updates. Drivers need updates too, and might also call in to report delays. Just as customers can pick up the phone and call you in the middle of a panic, so can drivers—and you’ll need to maintain the same level of calm professionalism with both of them.
As a dispatcher, you’ll be at the helm of overseeing cargo from point A to point B. Drivers are on the road during snowstorms, road blocks, accidents and other unexpected conditions. If a driver calls in yelling, or in a panic, don’t take it personally. Keep your cool and use the tools that are at your disposal to find a solution to the problem. This way, you will be helping the company for which your work, the driver and yourself—win-win-win.
Graduates of Dispatch School Should be Mindful of Driver Hours of Service
It’s no surprise that when drivers are on the road too long they become extremely tired and perhaps irritable. Understanding this is a key point in maintaining good relationships with drivers, and it will also help you to better schedule their workloads.
In dispatch school, you’ll learn about driver hours of service regulations and how they factor into route planning and freight management. Hours of service are the amount of hours each driver is legally allowed to stay on the road before taking a short break or a day off. You will become very good at planning routes with available drivers as you gain experience. In fact, you might even learn to schedule drop-offs that cross a driver’s route home.
Dispatchers and Drivers Must Understand Their Different Roles
Each of these crucial roles comes with its own set of stressful factors. Drivers spend long hours away from home, they’re often alone, and they have to make sure their trucks are fully functional. Dispatchers are the point of contact for drivers, customers, warehouse managers and more, and they need to juggle a lot of tasks while providing everyone with answers.
Understanding the differences in your roles will help you gain a good understanding of what each person faces and it can also improve communication in the relationship!
Are you looking for dispatcher courses that can prepare you for the real-world demands of the job?
Visit ATC for program details, or to speak with an advisor today!