It’s A Tough Job… by Lana Mekkes

Sometimes, I think Dispatch is forgotten along the way of having a tough job.  I mean, what’s more convenient than working a set schedule, sitting at a computer, talking on the phone, having unlimited resources, a break room with scheduled breaks?  While being out of the harsh weather conditions is nice, there are times when we are rushing to eat.  There are times we work right into and out of our break times just to catch up.  But most importantly, Dispatch is important for technicians in working with customers.  We precall, we update, we post call. Customers hear our voices multiple times throughout the day.  We get the short end of the stick a lot when customers are angry.  They cuss, they curse, they threaten.  And here Dispatch is, trying to smooth it out for our technicians.

Recently, I was tracking a technician who called into the local office and asked to be placed on site.  The tracker asked the tech which job he was on and he wasn’t sure.  I went through both work orders and confirmed each customer’s name and address.  “Oh yes, that’s where I am,” the tech said.  Later as I was updating ETA’s, I called the other customer of this technician.  She tells me that he is on site.  “Oh great, Mrs. Customer, I’m so glad he made it to your home and things are going well…you have a wonderful night.”  Looking at the route again… the tech is now on site to both jobs.  The Technician called in and asks for assistance in activation.  “By the way, can we close out Mrs. Other Customer, you aren’t there anymore. ”

The technician replied, “Oh … I haven’t been there yet.”  Oh dear….now we’ve got to update this customer with an ETA.  I called the customer, and she was trying to be patient.  In the background I could hear Mr. Customer losing his temper.  Curse words are flying out, physical harm to the technician when he arrives, yelling and screaming that we sit in a nice cozy office with everything we need while he is waiting for service.

Mrs. Customer was finally getting irritated with Mr. and tried to calm him down.  At this point, Mr. Customer takes the phone and I hear it loud and clear.  I reply…”Mr. Customer I’m sorry about the inconvenience, our technician is only 10 minutes away.  If you would like for him to come another day while you have time to cool down and gather yourself so the install will go smoothly, we can set that up.  If you would like your install completed tonight, I appreciate your patience and understanding, and he will see you shortly.  By the way, are there any questions you have concerning your install?” Now Mr. Customer was dead quiet. I had to make sure the call was not disconnected.

I hear a deep breath and a sigh.  “Ma’am, thank you.  The technician will be here in 10-15 minutes?”  Within minutes of a calm demeanor during the conversation, that customer went from angry, frustrated, and irate, ready to cancel the order… to grateful we were still sending someone out that night.  I learned from the ordeal that sometimes it is just a smile in the voice, an ear to listen, a patient temper… problems can become resolved.  I heard from the tech later that night that the customer was all smiles when he arrived and was anxious to help wherever needed.

I wanted to share that just because we aren’t in the field working face to face with our customers, we are still part of the team.  We hear a lot of hurtful things, we want to hang up or yell back, but in the end… Where does that get anyone?  This technician was paid for the job, I hung up the phone and felt safe with the tech rolling to the home, and most importantly… the customer received excellent service.

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