Communications No. 1
Communicating with your team and encouraging them to do so with each other ensures a well-run office. When everyone gets the same information about a vehicle being out of service, for example, the chances of mistakes diminish.
To deliver excellent service to your clients, you must constantly communicate. You don’t want a reservationist to be pushing a party-bus for tonight when that bus is out of service because of damage from the previous night. Everyone who has a “need to know” about something should be given that information.
If a vehicle is out of service, even for an hour, anyone who might use that vehicle or dispatch that vehicle should know that and its location. If the police call because one of your vehicles was just involved in a crash and it wasn’t assigned to be out on a trip, someone should know who has the vehicle.
Written Communication Is Best
Whether you use printed memos to your staff or email memos, putting things in writing eliminates confusion or interpretation and clearly spells out the purpose of the memo. It gives employees a tool to refer to if needed for clarification. It eliminates someone putting a different spin on the intention through poor verbal communications. Some employees may want to print email memos and place them in a binder while some may like to save them in an electronic file associated with their email accounts. Emailed memos offer a time and date stamp that may be useful later.
When Conflict Arises
It’s almost impossible to have several people work side-by-side, day after day without conflict. Never allow a conflict to fester. Each of the two parties may round up others to take their side and cause a major rift to occur. As soon as you become aware of a conflict, sit down with both parties and ask, “How can we improve this situation?” Don’t use the word “fix” since it might not be “fixable.” If two people simply don’t like each other, you can’t usually fix that. You can find a way to improve their interactions with each other through common ground and explain the importance to the company and team that they work together.
Team Building Events and Exercises
In our industry, we see big companies such as Chevron, Dole, Pfizer and others spend a lot of money on “team-building.” We provide them transportation. Whether it is a baseball game, an amusement park, a day at the beach or a round of golf, the expense is an investment toward production. Remember when you were a kid and you saw a schoolmate outside of school and it felt different than being at school?
Getting people out of the office or their normal work environment as a group can improve performance dramatically. A simple bowling night out can build relationships. Place a dispatcher, a driver, a reservationist and perhaps a detailer on the same team. Each of these team members will have a new relationship with each other when the game is over. For more dramatic results, consider a role playing day where you create teams and give each team a problem scenario, real or made up, and ask them to spend 15 minutes to draft a plan of action. You just might find a creative solution to a real problem.