Successful truck drivers often have one thing in common when it comes to the dispatchers they work with – they have built a healthy working relationship. How exactly do they do this?
They start by understanding the importance of a dispatcher’s job. While a dispatcher is not your boss, they are responsible for scheduling your loads and making sure your deliveries arrive on time despite obstacles thrown their way. Like truck drivers, the job of a dispatcher also is affected by poor weather conditions, road construction and last-minute customer changes.
Dispatchers and truck drivers need to respect and trust one another. Start building that relationship with these five tips:
5 Tips for a Good Truck Driver-Dispatcher Relationship
1. Communicate Clearly
Start an open line of communication by getting to know the dispatchers who work for your trucking company. Clear communication will be easier if you understand their dispatching style and schedule.
Understand that you may be working with different dispatchers and that what you tell one may not be relayed to another. Don’t get frustrated if you have to “catch” the new dispatcher up on your current situation or a recent conversation.
2. Be Understanding
Dispatchers have different demands than the job you do as a truck driver. Oftentimes, problems that arise between dispatchers and truck drivers are a direct result of neither party fully understanding and appreciating the job the other is doing.
Understand that a dispatcher is dealing with multiple drivers and even more customers, shippers and receivers. Trying to coordinate it all and keep everyone happy is no easy task.
In similar fashion, dispatchers often have a hard time understanding what truck drivers go through. They may not have an appreciation for the stresses you face being on the road for extended periods of time. This, again, is where good communication comes into play, and both parties need to understand the job the other is doing.
At Classic Carriers, we encourage communication and stress cooperation between drivers and dispatchers
“Dottie is not just an 8 to 5 person,” Classic Carriers driver Peach Johnson says about one of the dispatchers. “She’s full-time into it. She’s available 24/7 for any emergency or problems you may have with a load. She talks to every driver on her board every day.”
3. Don’t Argue
Arguing never resolves an issue; it only causes stress and slows down finding a resolution to the conflict at hand. Instead, approach the situation in a friendly manner with an open mind. Stay focused on the goal – to reach a mutual agreement that gets the job done.
Like any job, there can be good and bad employees. If you are having repeated issues with a specific dispatcher, keep records of the concerns and the communication. Report these to your supervisor. If it’s a safety issue, go immediately to your supervisor.
4. Provide Input and Ask for Feedback
A key to opening the doors of communication is asking questions and listening. Transparency builds trust between drivers and dispatchers. Ask for their feedback on specific situations and things you could do to communicate more effectively. Provide input on how they can help you do your job more effectively. Also, don’t forget to provide positive reinforcement.
5. Do Your Part to Build Trust
Trust is a two-way street. As a driver, you need to be able to trust that the dispatcher has your best interests in mind and is doing everything they can to help. In return, the dispatcher needs to trust that you are listening to him or her and giving your best.
Overall, both truck drivers and dispatchers have to trust one another and realize the importance of the other’s job in the trucking industry. As a driver, you are responsible for getting the load to its destination, while the dispatcher is tasked with ensuring all loads stay on course.
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