Everyone had at one point or another to call a technician. And chances are good that it wasn’t too pleasant. You have to take time out of your schedule, wait for the call and then realize that the technician is running late. We’ve all been there.
Efficient management of service technicians was historically one of the most challenging operations for many organizations. There are so many factors that go into it, many of which are sensitive to good-old human factor. Miscommunications, delays, time logs, and lack of real-time visibility. Although the introduction of digital databases played a significant part in improving the service sector overall, it is still very flawed to this day.
Naturally, there was a great demand for systems that can streamline and assist with managing field service operations. With the introduction of advanced cloud computing and connected mobile devices, technological solutions are sufficient enough to meet that demand. The resulting software allows automating field operation processes through mobile systems. It became known as field service management (FSM) technology.
What is Field Service Management & Why It is Important
At the very core, FSM serves to connect customers, dispatchers and service technicians through a unified digital environment. FSM software allows companies to integrate their front-end service management with databases and CRM platform, providing on-demand access to customer information and allowing easy communication.
Despite such system existing, over 50% of all companies which provide field services, still, utilize manual management. However, as overall customer expectations increase, over time, businesses start employing innovative digital solutions in order to keep up with customers’ needs and stay competitive on the market. Looking at Salesforce State of Service 2017 report, it can be seen that 92% of all executives surveyed believe that adopting FSM technologies is of paramount importance.
Using Salesforce Field Service Lightning in your Company
So, it should come as no surprise that number 1 CRM giant in the world – Salesforce has stepped up to the challenge and delivered Salesforce Field Service Lightning. The platform was built as an extension to Service Cloud, to simplify as well as streamline field service management and, most importantly, improve customer satisfaction.
Automation and continuous syncing of Field Service Lightning mean that any employee with access to unified real-time customer data and can provide on-demand services. In case some delays do occur, automated updates and notifications can be sent out to a client right away. For example, in case a technician cannot arrive on time, due to traffic, or for any other reason, new ETAs will be available to the customer, based on the vehicle GPS.
Additionally, FSM software allows the management team to automate many, previously manual and tedious, processes, such as figuring out which professionals are best suited to do a service, managing the flow of communication, monitoring the quality and managing feedback. Also, with advanced analytics and big data tools, managers can really have a 360 degrees view of customers and the current workflow.
Main features of Field Service Lightning
So, what exactly can Salesforce Field Service Lightning do for your business? Most useful features of Salesforce’ FSM solution includes:
- establishing and managing work orders from cases;
- monitoring and management of field specialists;
- route optimization;
- vehicle tracking;
- job status real-time updates;
- time tracking and logging;
- knowledge and asset management;
- inventory management;
- invoicing and payment processing;
- customer portal;
- regulation compliance management.
This list includes only the core features and does not account for integrated apps and platform customization. Obviously, in a real-world business scenario, you’ll need some very specific functionality to meet the expectations of your customers. Luckily, due to the overall flexibility and popularity of the Salesforce products, there are numerous solutions that can fit your business, starting with thousands of applications available on AppExchange. You can check out our top 10 list of most useful applications for Salesforce, and see the best apps for different fields and industries.
There are also third-party Salesforce consultant partners who can assist you in implementing Field Service Lightning and aligning its functionalities with your business requirements.
Your field service team
With the introduction of the FSM system, your typical field service team will not change that much. The only new person may be the admin. And if you are thinking about hiring and training Salesforce admin for your business, you can learn more in one of our previous articles.
- Admin is responsible for setting up field service features and managing the entire CRM platform in line with business needs.
- Contact center agent, who will take customer requests and schedule appointments through work orders. FSM software allows creating orders with a customizable list of skills and requirements for a particular task.
- A dispatcher’s role is to optimize and manage service appointments, select the right person for the job. In Field Service Lightning, the dispatcher does so through a single console that provides him or her with all the necessary data.
- And of course, you have your field specialists, who will be closing work orders and providing special reports. With the FSM system, all your field service specialist requires is just a mobile phone. Field Service Lightning provides easy-to-use mobile application, connected to the CRM.
Top 4 Best Practices in Utilizing Salesforce Field Service Lightning
1. Mapping out the customer journey
In order to unlock the full capability of Salesforce Field Service Lightning, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of customer journey and corporate workflow. Most companies use very outdated workflows, and it’s always a good idea to reinvent it and take a fresh look at how your business will engage with clients.
Obviously, if you’ve done internal audit and reinvention of customer journey recently, there is no need to do so again. However, you introduce a new variable into the workflow, so it’ll definitely require some level of optimization.
Analyze all the different pain points and try to think how FSM software can actually help you improve. It’s always a good idea to think in terms of problems and solutions. But remember that you’ll need some flexibility and room for changes, so try and think ahead at least in terms of possible course-correcting mistakes.
Once you’ll have customer journey mapped out, you’ll know what part and how Salesforce CRM will play in your business model.
2. Leverage real-time visibility and analytics
One of the most useful and undoubtedly powerful features that your business will receive with FSM is real-time data. Not only will you have the ability to look at your operation in action, you’ll also get access to valuable data. With various analytics tools available in Salesforce you can easily identify weak and strong points in your company as well as make accurate inventory forecasts.
Real-time syncing lets you make sure that you never go out of stock, optimize field service schedule and improve customer service.
3. Devise a mobile-first strategy
Ultimately, your services come down to field specialists. So, making sure that they always have access to all essential information is of utmost importance. And this access is possible via the mobile application. Exceptional customer service is built from many simple things, such as route optimization, timely notifications and maybe something as trivial as simply addressing clients by their name. Combine those little things with advanced intelligent scheduling tools and you can really start optimizing your operation.
4. Make customer engagement your central focus
Customer satisfaction is the most important area of your business. We all know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and no two customers are the same. So you should provide your customers with an array of options on how to contact you, leave an order and provide feedback.
Field Service Lightning can provide both your management and field departments with tools and functionalities necessary to succeed in today’s competitive business environment and making sure that satisfied customers will be talking about your brand.
Getting Started with Field Service Lightning
So, now that you know more about what Field Service Lightning is and who will be working with it, we can actually talk more about implementing the system and some of the best practices.
As you’ve probably figured out from the team breakdown, there are three main components that make up the platform:
- Core Field Service Lightning;
- Field Service Lightning Managed Package;
- Field Service Lightning Mobile App.
The process of implementing the Salesforce SFM solutions involves installing and setting up each of the above one by one in this particular order.
1. First, you start with the core and enable the platform. The second step is to provide user access. The next steps involve setting up different fields and objects, and are a bit more technical, so you’d want somebody with a good understanding of the platform to do this for you. But by the end of phase 1, you already should have a one-of-a-kind foundation with unique settings, corresponding to your business.
2. Second, you’ll need to install and set up Field Service Lightning Managed Package. This is by far the most complex and time-consuming stage. It can be broken down into three steps:
- Initial setup and data integration;
- Customization and FSM policy creation;
- Dispatcher console setup.
3. And finally, the final stage is the mobile app. Please note that Android and IOS apps will require a different approach towards setting up and there are minor differences on the admin side.
By the end, you’ll have a fully functional Salesforce Field Service Lightning platform. Remember, it is important that you’ll think about how you see your business model evolving with new IT assets, so that FSM system can facilitate these changes. Implementing the software and then trying to customize it is a much more challenging endeavor that will eat up a lot of your resources. So it is better to spend a bit more time planning and then implement Field Service Lightning in a shape and form suited for your business best.
Field Service Lightning Implementation Services by OMI
If you are ready to take the first step towards implementing Salesforce Field Service Lightning and integrating it with your existing IT infrastructure then look no further than OMI (Outsource Management Inc.). Our team focuses on developing and integrating advanced Salesforce solutions that work in line with your business model and answer your requirements. Here at OMI, we strive to empower our clients to overcome challenges and become a dominant force in their respective field.