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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 21 - June 27, 2017

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BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

cellphone e0348By Don Archer

Did you know that if your employees are using their own devices while working for you, and you don't have policies in place that restrict certain behavior, you can be held liable?

As an employer of tow truck operators, you are responsible for making certain they are not engaging in unsafe acts while on the road. To meet that responsibility, you must require drivers to operate trucks safely, not to drink and drive, use drugs and to refrain from texting or using personal, or company-provided devices in a way that takes their attention off the roads.

But do you have a policy that addresses all this?

"Bring Your Own Device" policies are relatively new. They were created with the intent of keeping proprietary company information secure while allowing employees to use their own devices to access information required to do the job.

On the employee's side, being allowed to access company information from multiple locations is a plus. They're allotted more freedom and autonomy rather than being tied to a desk.

Allowing employees to use their own devices can be a challenge; but with a BYOD policy in place, the employer has the ability to monitor behavior, and to "wipe clean" any company information from an employee's personal device when a separation occurs. This is done so that an employee cannot use the information to harm the company ... such as going to the competition with the customer list.

Although some of the security issues mentioned above aren't a huge cause for concern in the towing industry, there are two reasons why towing business owners will want to have a BYOD policy in place. They are: safety, and to "cover your rear."

If you allow or require tow truck operators to communicate through the use of either company-provided or personal devices, you must have policies in place that govern their use to ensure safety at all times.

When drivers know their cellphones may be audited should they be involved in an accident, they end up acting more responsibly. Your BYOD policy works to minimize negative behavior and create a safer working environment.

Cover Your Rear
Second only to safety is that your company may be held responsible if these devices are used improperly and you have no guidelines in place. For example, in the event of an accident occurring because a driver was texting while driving.

When you implement a policy that gives YOU access to your employees' phones, there's a chance you'll scare some of them off. To avoid scaring away good employees, you must first create a policy that's easily understood. And when your policy is in place and it becomes necessary to enforce it, do so in a way that you'd want it enforced upon you if the tables were turned.

Your policy should:

1. Detail specific instances for its use.
Vague and ambiguous language will put-off good employees and be picked apart by an attorney, if you're ever taken to court.
A good example of specific language: "Management reserves the right to request employees' cell phone bills and usage reports for calls and messaging made during working hours to determine if use is excessive or if any other policy/procedure has been violated (ex: texting while driving)."
2. Discuss boundaries and refrain from going outside those boundaries.
If you're ever required to use the BYOD, have a discussion with your employee to let him know exactly what you are looking for—then stick to it. Don't delve into areas not specified in your policy. If you've told him that you're only looking at texts during a specified time and date, don't stray into personal emails.
3. Explain that the policy is in place to protect them as well.

Most tow truck drivers don't understand how having a BYOD policy can serve to protect them. But, if they're ever involved in any type of incident and are required to appear in court, the judge and opposing attorneys will ask for and expect all relevant data pertaining to the circumstances. Not having that information can be detrimental to their case.

If they've done nothing wrong, having a BYOD policy can remove any shadow of doubt and clear them of any wrongdoing.

Having a BYOD policy goes a long way in deterring negative behavior. With such a policy, you can minimize exposure for your business while maintaining safety on the roads.

Don G. Archer is also multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, MO. Don is the Tow Business Editor for Tow Industry Week, and his bi-weekly column in Tow Industry Week is a must-read. E-mail him direct at

Is Good Enough Good Enough

2 71fd1By Don G. Archer

We heat our home with propane gas. The local gas company drops by and fills our tank a couple times per year. The process is simple: the truck driver pulls into the driveway and runs a 4' hose to the tank. He then lifts the round metal helmet that covers the gauge and fill nozzle, secures the hose to the nozzle and begins pumping in the gas. Once completed, he removes the hose and closes the helmet thus protecting the gauge and fill nozzle from the harsh elements.

Recently, a bush that had grown up next to the tank encroached too far into the tank's space. When the last driver attempted to close the helmet over the gauge, a small limb prevented it from latching properly.

About two months later during a snowstorm, I noticed the obstruction. I removed the 1/2"-diameter limb and secured the helmet properly. Later that week I grabbed my pruning shears and remedied the problem for good.

While I understand that pruning the bush is my responsibility, I want to make one, seemingly small point about the driver's behavior and my interpretation of it. It would have been just as easy for him to take two seconds more and move the limb to the side, so that he could properly secure the latch ... but he failed to do it. It may have been a passive-aggressive attempt to get me to trim the bush or it could have been because he just didn't care.

When given the opportunity to respond to a questionnaire, leave a review or make a choice about future purchases, customers may not remember all the good things you did for them; but you can bet they'll remember if you didn't care.

As an employer how do you get your employees to care?

You already know that for your business to grow and thrive you need to impress upon your employees the need to provide exceptional customer service. When on the phone you want smiling, empathetic voices talking to your customers, not grouchy, detached people who would rather be texting or looking at Facebook. At the point of sale, such as roadside or at one of the local repair shops, you want tucked-in shirts and clean-shaven faces—not renegades who do their own thing when you're not watching.

If you're like most of us, you've made many attempts to inject caring into your employees but have missed the mark—many times. After doing so you've indulged in excuses to make yourself feel better. The reason you can't find or nurture exceptional, caring employees is because "these young kids just don't care anymore," or "their parents must have spoiled them."

The truth is caring starts at the top.

The real reason why employers have a hard time finding quality employees is because we're not looking for individuals we can bring into the fold. We've been jaded so many times by what we term as bad seeds so we hold employees at arm's length. Rather than being full of potential, we see them as future ex-employees.

Think about when you are with your friends. You talk about stuff that not only matters to you, but you also listen to what matters to them and you truly care about how they are doing in their lives. In the role of employer we fail to care as much, even though we spend more time with our employees than with our friends.

If the propane delivery driver felt that his employer truly cared about him and his life, maybe he would care more about the people he serves. In turn, those people would remain loyal customers, helping the company to grow. This is neither a transactional, or reciprocal relationship, it's a caring relationship; it starts at the top.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at
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