Even an amoeba has to do this to survive

Even an amoeba has to do this to survive

Being a supervisor in a dispatch center is a very different kind of management. We do not perform the work tasks; we dispatch field personnel to do these various tasks. These tasks are critical to our customer satisfaction. In my past jobs, I interacted with the call center and the dispatch center of our company from the field. Field employee’s negative perspective of these centralized departments came because of the lack of feedback from them.

Before I came to the dispatch center, I discussed with a South Central Bell area supervisor about how their dispatch center operated. He stated that his employees are instructed not to argue with the dispatchers, just go where they were dispatched. He stated his employees on a daily basis passed each other going to the area that each was coming from. He stated that this was very inefficient since the dispatchers could have given it to the current person in the area. I certainly did not want this situation. I created a system that prevents this inefficiency, and made sure our dispatchers have a different attitude.

The centralized centers in our company created two problems. First, the centralized department gets complaints from the field forces. Over time they get desensitize to these complaints and ignore them. Second, the field forces realize their complaints are not being followed up on, and become demoralized. Now, we have a real problem, a desensitized work force working with a demoralized work force. Who suffers, the customer does. This problem starts with the centralized department. I will prevent these problems.

How do we counter these problems? Since our dispatch center does not perform the work activities, how we interact with other departments and the field personnel is critical. There are three key functions our dispatch department must adhere too. We must respond, Communicate, and follow through. This goes beyond how we answer the phones and radios, this goes to our attitudes toward our customers and fellow employees. Our core belief is to create goodwill for our department by performing these three functions in our dispatch center. 

Here are a few examples of how we use these key functions to create goodwill for our department and our company. 

We respond to requests in a timely manner. We get requests from various employees in our company to perform actions for them and our customers. Performing these requests in a timely manner is important. If we cannot perform the request, as the employee or customer wishes, we must determine how to accomplish their request. This process is critical; we must establish a time frame for the action that we can meet. This is done by trying to find a third alternative between what the request is, and how we think we can perform it. This is a trust factor between us, the customer, and other employees. We do not commit to something we cannot accomplish.

 We communicate with openness. We dispatch emergency orders, and these must be handled very quickly. It is critical that we dispatch the closes field personnel to the emergency. We interact with the field personnel; we do not shut them out of this process. They may know something we don’t that can make this process quicker. Dispatchers know the input from our field forces is important in the process of handling this emergency. We expect input, our field employees know this. We are on the same team. Our goal is to serve our customers; we are all committed to this. We expect feedback on this process, and give feedback in return.

We follow through on routine issues that field personnel cannot handle today. We use established communication systems that allow our dispatch center to follow-through on issues that need to be handled at a future date. We use these systems to make sure we give other departments and employees the information they need to do these tasks. It is imperative that we communicate all we know about an issue. Also, if we cannot contact a customer, we document customer issues on our customer service system, in this way any employee can inform the customer of the issue.

We are very open to ideas and feedback; this is how good will is created daily for our department. Our dispatch center is committed to handling any issue that concerns a customer, an employee, or another department.

Respond, communicate, and follow through, even an amoeba has to do this to survive.

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About OJ

I am a retired first line manager with over 40 years of experience. In operations management, accounting management, and central operations management. It is my wish to convey some of the experiences I have learned form over the years in the articles on my site.
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