If You Aren’t Going To Do It, Empower Your Employees To Get It Done!

Directors of maintenance and supervisors must act on job-related decisions every day. It’s part of our job. If you are the person who must make a specific decision, delaying it hinders your company’s smooth operation, affects customer service and leads to poor employee morale.

A recent personal experience is a good example of this. 

Exactly four weeks ago today, my wife and I were ready to head to Alabama for 10 days for her family reunion that weekend and our niece’s wedding the following weekend. As we prepared to leave, I went to pull our other car into the garage. It is usually parked on the street because the garage in the house we are renting is quite small. As I walked up to our car, I noticed a Subway napkin on my windshield held in place by the windshield wiper. It said:

“Hi. I’m so sorry. I tried to parallel park my Amazon van and I hit your car. My name is XXXXXX and my phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Please call me or text. We have insurance for this.”

I did a quick walk around the car and noticed that the front driver’s side bumper was crunched in. Seeing as how we were getting to hit the road, I placed the note in my office so that I could contact the driver when I got back.

When we got back home, I texted the driver.

“Hi XXXXXX. I’m Joe Escobar. You left a note after accidentally hitting my Subaru Outback with your van. Thank you for the note! I found it as I was moving the car when we were getting ready to drive to Alabama for a 10-day visit. We got back yesterday, and I’m available to get the estimate/repair process going whenever you have time.”

She promptly replied.

“Hi Joe I do apologize! I’ve been driving that Amazon van for eight months and not one scratch. Until I try to parallel park in front of your Subaru! I’m on sick leave but I have passed your message along with your name and phone number to my dispatcher. He hasn’t answered me yet, but he is trying to dispatch for about 20 drivers at the moment. One of us should be able to get back with you soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding!” 

I texted back, “No problem XXXXXX. That’s why they’re called ‘accidents’ and not ‘purposes.’”

A little while later, she texted back, “Hey just got off the phone with my dispatcher and he is contacting the owner of our company. ******* is my dispatcher, and he’s going to contact you to let you know what our process is. I believe the two owners of our company, which is subcontracted with Amazon, are the ones who deal with insurance stuff. But I wanted to let you know that we are working on it and we are not ignoring you.”

“Thank you for the update. Patiently standing by…..Joe,” I replied.

Two days ago, I texted the driver again. “Hi XXXXXX. Just checking in. Two weeks later, and I haven’t heard anything!” 

“Omgosh Mr. Escobar I am so sorry! I thought they’ve contacted you! I will call them immediately. I do not appreciate this at all. I feel so bad. I will text you back after I get off the phone with them.”

Around 30 minutes later, I received a call from her dispatcher. We chatted for a while. He said that the driver had notified him immediately when she hit my car. Since there is an apartment complex across the street from our house (where our car was parked), she had no idea who the car belonged to. That’s why she left the note. I gave the dispatcher all of the information for the car, and he said he would get started on the paperwork.

Yesterday, I checked back in with the dispatcher asking, “Do you have information of the insurance company that is taking care of this? Has a claim number been assigned?” He said, “No, not yet, I’m trying to reach my boss because I have asked him for that information and he hasn’t given it to me yet.”

Just about that time, the driver texted me asking how it was going. “****** has all the information. Just waiting for the next step. Thanks for checking.” “Great,” she replied. “****** is great. The owners put a lot on him, but only give him little authority. But he will make sure the process gets completed.”

I just texted the dispatcher again today asking if there was any update. "Nothing yet, I'm still calling," he replied.

It sounds like the dispatcher is in a tough position. I feel bad for him. He is the only contact I have at the company that can help get this done. Yet, he is unable to take the steps necessary to resolve the problem because the owners haven’t empowered him to take care of it. The owners’ slow response is affecting him. If the owners can’t handle this, they should pay the dispatcher more and allow him to take care of situations like this without getting caught in the middle because of their non-responsive attitude!

Thanks for reading!



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Joe Escobar (jescobar@dommagazine.com)
Editorial Director

Greg Napert (gnapert@dommagazine.com)
Publisher, Sales & Marketing

Bob Graf (bgraf@dommagazine.com)
Director of Business, Sales & Marketing