On April 17, 2018 Salesforce announced their next-generation Field Service Lightning, which shall take customer experiences to new heights.
The release implements four major improvements, which are:
- The ability to easily plug in an appointment management into a web site
- Simplified initiation and execution of return processes by customers and technicians
- The ability to select and dispatch repair crews for more complicated service jobs based upon abilities and availabilities
- A guided setup using a visual wizard to set up Field Service Lightning and that reduces the number of clicks necessary to get started by approximately two thirds on average.
Below is the full text of the announcement. Alternatively you can read it here.
Next-Generation Field Service Lightning Takes Customer Experiences to New Heights
Paolo Bergamo, SVP and GM, Field Service Lightning & Mobile
If you’ve ever spent a day waiting for the washing machine repair person or the utilities worker to show up, you know how trying it can be. But, when that employee shows up on time, armed with the right parts and is able to fix your problem on their first visit, you’re amazed. Even delighted. It feels like the company has your back.
Here at Salesforce, we’re laser-focused on provided a connected customer experience. That’s the main reason why we launched Field Service Lightning two years ago. We wanted to extend the world’s #1 service platform, Service Cloud, to field service – to equip mobile employees and dispatchers with all the information they need to provide customers with a connected experience that simply “wows”.
And today we’re excited to announce the next generation of Field Service Lightning that empowers companies to provide world-class service experiences in the field.
- Appointment Management: Ever spent 20 minutes on hold just trying to schedule an appointment with a company? Our new Snap-ins Appointment Management makes it easy for businesses to embed a scheduling interface on their website (with just one line of code!) and empowers customers to easily create and manage appointments on their own time and from any device.
- Return Orderssimplify the return process for customers and technicians. Customers can initiate a return from a company’s website, or field technicians can create return orders onsite. This means a quick, headache-free return not only for the customer, but also for the mobile worker who is assigned to retrieve the product.
- Crew Schedulingallows dispatchers to assign a crew of multiple people to a job, which is especially critical for complex projects like oil rigs repairs and elevator installations. Now dispatchers can assign different crew members based on their skill levels and expertise, so every job gets done right, the first time.
And of course … we never forget our Trailblazers! They need simple tools to customize their Field Service Lightning experience.
- Guided Set-Upoffers an easy, visual wizard that walks admins through a simplified set-up process, reducing clicks to get started with Field Service Lightning by approximately 66%, on average. The wizard walks admins through the process to configure territories, job types, and appointment booking windows to make the initial set-up a breeze. Based on our expertise in field service, admins can establish the minimum viable requirements to get their field service team up and running in a matter of minutes.
What’s been most rewarding for us since launching Field Service Lightning is the momentum from our ecosystem and customer Trailblazers. Because it is built on the Service Cloud platform, Field Service Lightning is highly customizable.
GearsCRM, a Salesforce Gold Consulting Partner, has deployed 15 diverse implementations of Field Service Lightning. “We’ve seen the immediate benefits that a truly mobile and connected workforce can bring to customers. With Field Service Lightning, our clients are able to provide a first class support experience to their customers and make their mobile workers’ jobs easier. It’s a win-win,” says Harry Radenberg, President and CEO of GearsCRM.
Pricing & Availability
- Return orders and guided set-up are available today for no additional cost with any Field Service Lightning license.
- Crew scheduling is available with Field Service Lightning Dispatcher and Field Service Lightning Plus at no additional cost.
- Snap-ins appointment management will be available in pilot at no additional cost starting in June 2018 to customers with a Field Service Lightning and Community Cloud license.
- Check out thisinteractive guide for field serviceTrailblazers
- Get started with Field Service Lightning on Trailheadhere
Both, the ordering and the return order process, are built upon powerful workflow and rule processing engines and can be widely tailored to customers’ needs. They help the user through the process with a kind of guided procedure and, where necessary, use AI based tools to come to good suggestions. Demoing the new system, Salesforce uses a cable TV upgrade as their scenario for scheduling and also for returning the old part.
The crew scheduling functionality helps optimizing the schedules and repair times using an algorithm that calculates repair times based upon the skill sets of the technicians in the crew and the crew size.
Overall, the release of Field Service Lightning is targeted towards delivering an improved on-site experience for both, the customer and the employee, says Dana Chery, Sr. manager of product marketing at Salesforce.
The bigger Picture
Field Service Lightning itself has been launched a bit more than 2 years ago and is used in a variety of industries as diverse as health care and retail. It is heavily invested into since. As Salesforce does not communicate customer numbers broken down by product line it is hard to assess product traction, though.
MyPoV and Advice
Looking at the demo scenarios that Salesforce presents the processes are well thought through and efficient.
The four main new features are addressing the needs of customers, users, and admins alike, streamlining processes. This streamlining includes the setup that with its wizard interface can be executed without consultants as long as the demands to the system are not overly complex. This now sounds worse than it is meant, as I do think that the vast majority of Field Service Lightning will benefit from this.
As an interesting aside, when being asked whether the process of creating an appointment via snap-ins Appointment Management can also be executed via voice commands, e.g. using Alexa or Siri, the execs couldn’t comment on it. This leads to the speculation that something is in the works here. While voice is not yet mainstream the combination of this well structured process with the, for humans, most convenient form of communication would make a lot of sense – and Salesforce has the reputation of being a frontrunner.
These times the way of distinguishing oneself from competition is no more via functions and features but by enabling a smooth and frictionless experience for customers and users alike. I think that for the targeted processes Salesforce succeeded with this release, also continuing to show that advanced analytics features (aka AI) can positively contribute without being hyped or even pushed into the foreground. AI is an enabler in the background. With this release core functionalities got a solid makeover towards the above-mentioned frictionless experience. This should make Salesforce’s Field Service Lightning and therefore Service Cloud even more attractive for customers. Kudos for this.
I am looking forward to hearing more from Field Service Lightning. Perhaps something that includes the integration cloud (Mulesoft acquisition)? Prebuilt integrations into other vendor’s customer service solutions could make things real exciting in the highly competitive field service market.