Importance of the Role of Truck Dispatchers
We have all heard at one point or another that good help is hard to find these days. But did you know that it is even more difficult to find an exceptional truck dispatcher, also referred to as a freight dispatcher, that fits the needs of your trucking or logistics operations and will remain committed to your company many years down the road? The job of a dispatcher is one that is very demanding in nature and has a high turnover rate but also has a large learning curve for growth that allows for recognition above the competition. With all the surprises that can occur when working in the transportation industry, a hired dispatcher must be dynamic enough in their approach to work to be prepared to handle unexpected schedule changes that occur at the last minute, frustrated drivers or customers, and safety concerns and regulations. The top trucking companies to work for all have seasoned and capable dispatchers that assist drivers enough to make sure that their time spent with the company is as smooth as possible which supports drivers in wanting to stay with the company for years.
So what are freight dispatchers?
A truck or freight dispatcher is a position in the company that is expected to be the middleman between your customers and drivers and has the responsibility of maintaining a positive relationship on your behalf with all parties involved to ensure continued business. Most of a dispatcher's day will be spent by the phone or on the computer. A dispatcher will make calls to drivers to inform them of the information needed regarding your shipments like the shipper's address and special load instructions for example tanker and hazmat endorsement requirements. A dispatcher will keep in contact with your customers throughout the transit to keep them informed on the status of their loads and the expected time and date of delivery. In essence, the role of a dispatcher is to be the middleman that always knows what is going on with the shipment and is the one whose hands all of the information passes through. Read on to learn what sets an excellent dispatcher above the rest and how this can affect your company's growth and ability to scale.
What makes up an excellent dispatch service?
An excellent dispatcher must be confident in their skill to navigate your shipment from origin to destination with zero room for error. The best of the best solve problems instead of creating new ones for you. It's easy to pick up a phone and make a call or use computer software to track a truck and organize a shipment for movement, but what sets the top dispatchers apart is a high level of competency in the areas mentioned below, all while working under pressure and stress and allowing no faults.
Once you have developed a relationship with your customers and drivers, your dispatch team will be the main points of contact that will grow and maintain these relationships, either through their work performance or their ability to go above and beyond with customer service. This means that your dispatch team is now the new face of your company anytime that a driver calls in or a customer is on the phone. In emotionally-escalated situations where things don't go as planned, having the skills to navigate through difficult conversations and defuse negative emotions in order to get the job done will be a deciding factor if a shipment will be delivered on time or not. Excellent dispatchers develop and keep a personal relationship with drivers that genuinely shows the driver that the company and it's employees care for the driver as a person and that all the work that the drivers perform for the company is seen and appreciated. This creates a work atmosphere that keeps drivers happy, safe, and motivated to perform at their best. Also, having strong communication skills will allow dispatchers to be able to communicate effectively with drivers to minimize late deliveries and eliminate shipment failures to the best of their ability.
Understanding of Market and Industry
An accurate understanding of the present market and therefore the confidence to be ready to appropriately negotiate rates on productive and relationship-building terms are what top-tier dispatchers can pride themselves on. A dispatcher that is tasked with the job of actively looking for new business and freight opportunities must be able to negotiate rates to maximize your company's profit margin and find shipments that fit your company's criteria and your driver's needs. Understanding when the market is expected to dip and rise is general knowledge, but a dispatcher that is able to foresee this and negotiate rates accordingly will keep your trucks moving and filled with freight while earning the highest revenue and most optimal rate per mile possible. Instead of booking the first available shipment that meets the criteria, a successful dispatcher will understand that you might have the only truck in a certain area of high demand and can quote a rate to reflect this demand. A broker looking to connect a shipper with a carrier will try to negotiate the price down to the lowest price possible because they pay themselves with the difference and that is why a dispatcher must be confident in their negotiation skills when booking freight.
Having in-depth knowledge of the software your company uses and proficient computer skills is necessary for dispatchers to have in order to minimize delays during transit. With today's technology becoming more advanced, accessible, and necessary, there are tools available to dispatchers to make managing trucks not only easier but also more efficient and minimizes human error. Tools such as tracking software can be accessed on the computer at the office or by smartphone after hours and allow for 24/7 access to asset locations. This software makes tracking trucks a breeze when compared to the alternative of needing to call each driver to find out the current locations for the day which saves the precious resource of work. Also available is a PCS software that is a database for organizing and managing all data such as load, truck, and customer information needed when acquiring a shipment order. Understanding how to use this software with confidence and ease will integrate a seamless experience that your customers and drivers will take notice of and appreciate.
Being consistent on a day to day basis, while passing through the expected spontaneity that trucking brings with it, will be a major deciding factor between those that have learned to talk a good talk to earn your business and those that can provide it day in and day out. Stress can get the best of anyone but an appropriate response towards stress is necessary for dispatchers to be the ones with the clear head that keeps all the pieces moving forward. A dispatcher must be able to be clear headed so that the driver and customer will feel that someone is in control of the situation and that they have no need to worry themselves. The reason that you might have heard the phrase "dispatching isn't for everyone" is because the job requires an individual to be able to move at a fast-pace meeting urgent demands and deadlines all while multi-tasking as they take care of anywhere from 5 to 20 plus drivers! Your dispatcher will likely be the first point of contact during emergencies and you want a calm and collected person answering your phones and handling issues.
A successful dispatcher will treat your business as if it is their own. We all know that doing the bare minimum necessary will never amount to real success in business and that is why a professional dispatcher finds success in motivating themselves to do the difficult work and going the extra mile to bring in new business or improve on your current opportunities. Unless you want to spend your time micromanaging, babysitting, or always being met with a ready excuse that surrenders the responsibility out of the hands of dispatch, a dispatcher has to be self-motivated and be able to find joy in the work that they do each day. A dispatcher that solves problems on their own using creative approaches instead of creating new ones for their drivers, customers, and the owner will be an invaluable asset to the company and a favorite among the drivers.
Here at Migway, we are extremely grateful and appreciative for the talent that we have working with us in our headquarters in Charlotte, NC. We understand that having a company-wide culture of attention to detail while maintaining a critical urgency under stressful conditions is the determining factor that sets our dispatchers aside from the industry-standard dispatcher. Our dispatcher's ability to take on personal responsibility in developing and maintaining our client’s relationships is the reason we hear high praise and feedback from all our partners on the level of service. If you are interested and would like to learn more about how an elite dispatch operation can enhance your business and product shipments, please feel free to contact us.