How to Be a Good Dispatcher

Updated on July 29, 2017
Tim Truzy info4u profile image

Tim Truzy is a rehabilitation counselor, educator, and former dispatcher from North Carolina.

A dispatcher coordinates incoming messages with the movement of vehicles and other individuals. Dispatchers usually work in factories, transportation centers (train depots, bus terminals, fire stations, etc.), and taxi stands. These skilled employees act as the central nervous system to deliver goods and services to the public. They must act swiftly and with confidence in making decisions. Dispatchers require the ability to look at the small pieces of what is happening around them and be able to see how these tiny things fit into the big picture for a positive outcome.

To accomplish this goal, the dispatcher must have several skills. First, he/she must be organized. In addition, the dispatcher must have the capacity to address details. He/she must be able to multitask. Next, the dispatcher must have solid people skills. These qualities are essential for managing chaotic situations which could erupt at any time during the work day.

Finally, the dispatcher must have the willingness to grow and change as his/her duties may expand or contract. For instance, the firm may hire more employees. Also, the company might acquire more trucks or cars. Another possible change may involve the extension of routes drivers take daily. There could also be a switch from one communication method to a new one. The most important secret to being a good dispatcher is exhibiting flexibility.

Fire department dispatcher, 1953
Fire department dispatcher, 1953 | Source

Tips for Being a Great Dispatcher

Below are some tips for being a dependable dispatcher regardless of where you are employed.

When I worked as a dispatcher in taxi companies (which I did for nearly a decade), these guidelines helped me establish a good working relationship with my fellow employees:

  1. Start with a small company. Get your bearings. Learn the language of the trade. (In my case, I learned about flag-downs, drop offs, and pick-ups).
  2. Learn the area you and your staff work. Study maps to learn roads, streets, and towns that your company or organization serves. Watch traffic reports. Learn short cuts from one point to another. This will help you coordinate quickly.
  3. Adapt to new technologies. Master different radio systems. CB’s are still used in some taxi and trucking firms. Learn various digital phones. Some businesses dispatch by phone only, and the dispatcher must know how to use different types of communication devices.
  4. Study how computerized tracking systems are used. Many large firms use this technology. One of the tasks of the dispatcher is to find the person and vehicle in a timely manner. Understanding this technology is essential for doing so.
  5. Develop good people skills. Many days will go smoothly. However, there will be times when everyone appears to have a short-fuse. A thick-skin is required for a dispatcher. He/she must also know how to calm potentially dangerous situations in the workplace.
  6. Develop excellent scheduling skills. The dispatcher often schedules shifts for drivers and other staff. He/she also records incoming trips and notes drop-off times. A good dispatcher doesn’t leave his/her post until all the trips are taken care of for his shift. A dispatcher must be flexible with his personal schedule as well because of this fact.
  7. Provide superb customer service. The dispatcher is the voice of the organization. Be calm and polite even if the caller is not. Be patient. Try to resolve any issues for the caller if possible.
  8. Demonstrate a willingness to work with law enforcement. This ability is crucial because lives may depend on coordinating effectively with the police and other law enforcement agencies. Respond to inquiries promptly when they are made by the police. Check to see that all vehicles and drivers meet the standards necessary for working in your state, city, or other entity. If there are problems, then act to make sure all laws are in compliance.

These tips will help you become a super dispatcher!

© 2017 Tim Truzy


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