Handling The Fallout From A Crappy Day In Motion

Jim Luff
Posted on November 25, 2014
Ever have one of those days that just starts out wrong and goes downhill from there? I had one of those last week. I have to preface this story with the fact that as an operator running in the trenches with you, I almost feel an obligation to share my dirty laundry with you on occasion lest you think everything is always perfect in my world. We run a first class operation but when we fall, we fall hard.

Let's start with the fact that I woke up, put my glasses on and checked my Facebook, of course. Next, I jumped in the shower with my glasses still on. This was clearly a sign of a bad day about to begin. Next, I jumped into my son's car (that I borrowed) to go to work and find the battery is dead. Why? Because I left the lights on all night long as the car sat in my garage. I forgot his car doesn't have the "auto-lamp" feature. I had to get a neighbor to jump the car.

Finally, I get to the office and things just spiraled out of control from there. It was 9:10 a.m., when I should have been on a conference call with my LCT team. I caught a brief conversation between the dispatcher that came on at 9 a.m. and the one that was finishing her night shift. It wasn't good. The oncoming dispatcher looked at her dispatch screen and asked the other dispatcher why a trip scheduled for an 8:45 a.m. pickup still showed a status of “confirmed by chauffeur,” but should have shown “POB” (Passenger on Board) at that time.

A quick check of the parking lot revealed the assigned vehicle was indeed sitting in the yard. The pickup point was 45-minutes away in the mountains!  Nice! About this time, our editor, Martin Romjue, sends a polite email reminding me of the conference call I am not on. Ugh!

In the end, here's my summary of the failure. The chauffeur had erroneously been sent (via email) an incorrect Trip Ticket showing a 12:30 p.m. pickup with THE WRONG DATE. He didn't catch that. He “confirmed” receipt and the dispatcher on duty entered it as “confirmed.” The off-going dispatcher failed to follow protocol and verbally check with the chauffeur 45 minutes before the trip start time to confirm he was on the property and ready to go. She cited that as a 9-year company veteran, the chauffeur was trustworthy and she thought nothing of it. She's on the hook at this point.  
More importantly, I began working on obtaining this account four months ago. The account consists of Monday through Friday work providing transportation from small communities within a one hour radius to a medical facility using multiple vans. I landed the account on Halloween Day after many meetings. This day was Day No. 2 of providing service. What a train wreck!

We called in another chauffeur. We were two hours late getting the passenger to the appointment. His appointment times had to be changed. I had to comp the run. But the client was O.K. about it. The off-going dispatcher, the chauffeur and the reservationist who sent him the trip information were all reprimanded in various forms. I had a shot of tequila at the end of the day.

Related Topics: chauffeur behavior, communications, customer service, dispatching, employee issues, Jim Luff, operations

Jim Luff General Manager
Comments ( 2 )
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  • Jim Luff

     | about 6 years ago

    Yes, I did find out. Since it involved three people, all were brought in for discussion. The chauffeur was cleared of any fault. He was emailed the wrong ticket for a different date 24 hours later. He "confirmed" the order he received. It came down to the fault of the dispatcher who sent the wrong ticket. The client is okay. A policy change was made so we don't send files called "Tuesday" but instead name them "Greg1202TUES" for clarity.

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