If I've heard it once I've heard it thousands of times. Dispatchers telling customers that the company is busy, that the technicians are working overtime, that they don't have enough technicians to handle the load, etc. These are the company's problems...customers don't care about these excuses. They don't care about the customers ahead of them. They don't care that technicians are working overtime or that the company doesn't have enough technicians to handle the work. They care about getting their problem fixed.

When your dispatchers are speaking with customers on the telephone they must tell them what they can do, not make excuses about company problems. When it's hot, everyone knows it's hot. You might get a few customers who say, "I know that I shouldn't have waited." However, these are few and far between. Your dispatcher's job is to take care of each customer and make him or her feel that she will do everything possible to get that customer's problem taken care of quickly, not tell that person that you are busy.

There are a few phrases that dispatchers should never use. "We're busy" is one. "It's our policy to..." is another. These words only make an upset customer even more upset. I've heard many times, "I don't care what your policy is, break it!" Or "Do you know who I am? I can make trouble for you!" or "Break the policy!" (or words to that effect).

Put a list of the wrong words and phrases with "X's" through them where the dispatchers and customer service personnel can see them. Put the right phrase next to them. They will get the idea and start using the right words and phrases.

Remember Murphy's Law

In this busy time of the year remember to keep the second call of the day open. This way when Murphy's Law strikes, you will have space to put that emergency without rearranging the entire dispatch schedule. If Murphy's Law decides to give you a break, then dispatch can move customers up, getting to the customer's home or office more quickly than the customer was expecting - and delighting the customer. There will always be room at the end of the day to add more customers when it is busy.

Also, remember to tell the technicians to diagnose the problem rather than the symptom of the problem. The last thing that you need when it is busy is additional callbacks. If the technicians have a "I've got 10 calls today and I've got to get moving" attitude, you will see more callbacks that happen simply because they rushed. They need to take the time to fix the entire problem rather than just the first thing that they see. If they fix just the first thing and it is only a symptom, you'll have another call to that customer's house that you can't charge full rates for and a mad customer - neither of which you need at this time of the year.

Excuses only make the customer madder. Give them the attention they need and let them know that you will be there as quickly as possible to get them cool again. Once at the customer's home or office, spend the time to make sure that the entire problem is fixed. This will decrease your headaches during this busy time of year.