Field Service Lightning, the onsite support solution from Salesforce, is a powerful tool for companies seeking to automate key aspects of field service coordination — things like creating service appointments, dispatching mobile workers and tracking vehicle locations and product stock. Useful features include work order integrations, which allow you to pull in valuable Salesforce data, and intelligent scheduling that automatically assigns the right technician to the right job. In large part, these capabilities are made possible by two main components: the Dispatcher Console and the Field Service Lightning App. Together, they enable workers in the office and in the field to be more efficient and effective.
For your organization to fully benefit from Field Service Lightning, however, it’s imperative that you take care to implement the platform in the right way. It’s a complex tool, with a number of different elements that must work harmoniously as a whole — and that can make for a complex build. As your company prepares for FSL, here are two essential tips to keep in mind. In our experience, they could mean the difference between success and failure.
Tip #1: Make mobile your primary focus.
As mentioned above, Field Service Lightning is comprised of two main tools. The Dispatcher Console is the main working space for dispatchers — this is where they can view service appointment lists, Gantt charts, maps and more. Basically, everything they need in order to schedule and monitor a mobile workforce. Given that it functions as a sort of “home-base technology,” it might seem like a good idea to start with the Dispatcher Console when implementing FSL. In reality, that’s not the case — which brings us to the mobile app.
The Field Service Lightning App is where workers out in the field can view their daily schedule, check directions to their next appointment, contact customers, update inventories and even capture signatures. It’s an impressively capable app, but many of its features don’t come standard; without some key customizations, it likely won’t live up to its potential for making your employees’ lives easier. That’s why we recommend making the app the primary focus of your implementation — in many ways, it’s the heavier lift.
In terms of specific customizations, we recommend the following:
Quick actions: As Salesforce puts it, quick actions are basically shortcuts: “They offer a fast way for mobile users to launch a specific workflow in the Salesforce mobile app, like creating records, logging calls, or sharing files.” Object-specific quick actions — as opposed to global quick actions — give users the ability to create or update a record when looking at a particular object type. In the context of Field Service Lightning, that means you could create a quick action called “Update Work Order” that’s available whenever a user is viewing a work order. Same thing for “Update Service Appointment.” By building in these shortcuts, you’ll make it much easier for field workers to complete necessary tasks. And it probably goes without saying, but team-wide adoption is essential to the success of the platform, so anything you can do to increase usage of the app is super important.
Automations: Another great way to make life easier for your field workers is to create certain automations in the Field Service Lightning app. For example, when a user marks the status of a service appointment as “complete,” that’s not the same as marking the associated work order as “complete.” Without the right automation in place, that user is always going to have to perform a duplicate task, which is annoying for them and risky for the company. What if they decide they don’t want to do that anymore, or they simply forget? Your team will end up with lots of completed work orders that aren’t marked as such, and could inadvertently send a technician to do a job that’s already been done. With the right automation in place, however, marking the service appointment as “complete” will automatically do the same for the work order. Again, it’s all about saving your users valuable time and effort. Get creative with automations so that they can spend less time on Salesforce and more time helping customers.
Tip #2: Make time for user acceptance testing before launch.
User acceptance testing (UAT) is a critical phase of any software or platform launch, but it’s even more important when the tool in question will determine the daily success of an entire team. Field Service Lightning was designed to make it faster and easier to route the right technician to the right job, but improper setup could lead to the opposite outcome. UAT is your chance to make sure everything is working as it should.
Primarily, you’ll want to focus on scheduling policies, which are basically the rules used to determine how a field worker gets assigned to a particular work order. The “Customer First” policy, for instance, prioritizes a given customer’s preferences over minimizing travel time, while the “High Intensity” policy does the opposite, putting employee productivity over the customer’s selections (as Salesforce notes, this can be valuable in times of high service volume).
Of course, policies like these can also be fully customized to suit your company’s needs, which reinforces the importance of extensive testing. If you’ve created a unique policy designed to solve a particular problem, you’ll want to make sure it’s actually solving that problem. After all, you definitely don’t want the system sending a worker to a job that’s 50 miles away when somebody else who is much closer is actually available. Such errors, especially at scale, can be very expensive.
Other things to consider.
Beyond these two larger suggestions, there are a number of smaller things you can do to make sure you achieve a successful FSL rollout. Customizing the dispatcher console by using field sets on service appointments, say, or avoiding calendar confusion by adding all upcoming appointments to FSL before launch. If you have any questions about the nitty gritty of Field Service Lightning configuration and strategy, let us know — the experts on our team would love to chat.
Before you go, though, there’s one more thing to note: The importance of leadership buy-in. Field Service Lightning is an investment, and you should treat it that way — publicly. Make it clear to your team how important this tool is and why everybody needs to use it. Because even with the right implementation from a great Salesforce partner, the success of the platform is going to depend on your users. And if you don’t make it clear why they should actually use it, well, they aren’t going to.