Wrecker operators demonstrate abilities for emergency dispatchers

John Thompson • Mar 20, 2019 at 8:51 PM

ELIZABEETHTON — Rob Ray of All Hours Towing expertly maneuvered his flatbed tow truck and recovered a car in a large parking lot on Wednesday as a dozen people closely watched his work. Wrecker operators are used to people watching them work, but these people had a professional reason to watch closely, and Ray had a professional reason for answering all their questions.

The people watching Ray’s maneuvers were dispatchers for Allied Dispatch Solutions, a company that provides roadside assistance to motorists throughout the United States and North America. Their job is to receive calls from stranded motorists and then get a tow truck to their rescue.

Ray was performing his recovery operations to show the dispatchers what he and his truck could do and what information he needed them to provide him when they sent him on a call. It was all part of a new training program Allied Dispatch has initiated to make sure the wrecker operators are provided with all the information they need for a service call.

“What is your biggest pet peeve?” one of the dispatcher/observers asked Ray.

“Not getting enough information,” Ray answered, “especially the location.”

“Location, location, location, just like real estate, it is the most important,” said Tre Lawhorn, senior director of Allied’s Nexus Department. Lawhorn said it was important to keep asking the stranded motorist for as much information about what happened, every bit of information could help the wrecker operator bring along things he might need. He said the company referred to them as discovery questions. Included was everything from the make of the car, what happened, whether there was still electricity to the car and if the car was in the traffic lane and blocking traffic.

Ray said information was money to the wrecker operators. Having the wrong information could cause an operator to send a truck to the rescue that could not perform the job, requiring another dispatch of a different truck.

Ray’s message to the dispatchers was clear. His demonstrations of how cars were recovered with both a flattop tow truck and a wheel lift also showed why detailed information was needed to determine which was the best type for the job.

Allied Dispatch employees will be observing the wrecker demonstrations on a regular basis, said Sharyl Walley, senior director of executive services.

“We will be ramping up a new training style for our agents here at our Johnson City location by bringing in tow trucks for them to get some hand-on learning experience,” said Ashley Taylor, Allied’s marketing senior manager. “We feel that being able to see the trucks up close and personal will provide them with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of when and how each truck should be used in an emergency roadside situation.”

The tow truck demonstrations were held at the parking lot behind the company’s call center at the Borla Campus off Interstate 26 in the Okolona community.

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