It's a full-on blizzard over here in New England so I find myself yet again…
The Summer 16 release notes are out and we’re now on part 2 of our part 4 write-up of salesforce’s 50th release. In part 1 we covered all of the Lightning Experience, Sales Cloud, salesforce1 and platform changes. In this part we’re going to cover all of the Service Cloud features. Let’s get right at it.
- Lightning Field Service – Field Service is officially out and this is going to become a major extension of the Service Cloud. For a long time, if you had field agents working with your Service team, you needed to buy a 3rd party app like ServiceMax to get them connected to your Call Center and all of your salesforce data. Now with the new Lightning Field Service feature you can extend your Service Cloud to your Field team all within salesforce. Please be aware that this is a different license then Service Cloud and will be something you need to purchase in order to use. Let’s get into the features. At a high level, Field Service is broken out into the following:
- Service Requests – Creating a Service Request is essentially where Field Service begins. Basically, a customer has called into your call center and walked your agent through a request. This might be an issue that can’t be resolved remotely or maybe it’s a request for maintenance or an upgrade to their equipment. With Field Service, the agent can now create a Service Request. An example of one is below, but basically this is like any object in salesforce where you can add custom fields, layouts, etc. The key details here though are the date & times the request is scheduled to be done, the address / location of where the service needs to be done and details about what the service entails. When the agent is booking the appointment time for this request, you can configure Field Service to present available times in pre-defined blocks. For example, if most services are quick work, maybe you’ll show blocks of 2 hours. However, if your typical service work is a full day, you’d just present daily blocks. (It’s not exactly the use case we’re describing here, but Service Requests can also be set on a recurring schedule. This is perfect for maintenance situations) Once the request is created and the desired time is set, the agent would move on to the next call. From here we’d go to the Dispatch Board.
- Scheduling Console / Dispatch Board – Your agents are setting up all of these Service Requests, and maybe some are even being generated automatically either by recurring logic or just from triggers / workflow you’ve built. Now you need to assign these out. Typically, companies will have a dispatch team and that team would use a Scheduling Console / Dispatch Board like Field Service has. See below for an example, but the point of the Dispatch Board is to show your dispatch team all of the Service Requests that are yet to be assigned (the left hand side of the board below) and then all of your field agents and what their availability is. The field agents are tracked in a “Resource” object (you can also use this to track and dispatch equipment vs. agents) and these are shown in a gantt chart view. From this view you can see what agents are available for the time the Service Request has been scheduled for. From here, you can drag and drop the Service Request onto the Resource and now that request is assigned!
Unfortunately, dispatching isn’t this straight forward in real life. In real life you typically have some other considerations to take into account before you can assign that request. First could be distance. If the request is in Boston, are you assigning someone stationed in Dallas to that request? Maybe, if it’s a critical priority and the Dallas agent is the only one available. In that case, someone’s getting on a plane. Most of the time though, you have local resources and want to schedule someone within a certain radius of the Service Request. You can filter based on the number of miles from the resource’s home base in order to reduce travel time and expenses. There’s an option to flip to a Map view as well, which will show you the Service Request’s location and then any resources that have a homebase – or even that resource’s last location – close to the Service Request. Even if Joe is based in Boston, maybe he’s down in Dallas for another job. With this you’ll be able to see that, and Joe’s going to have to stay any extra day. In addition to location, another key factor is Skill. It’s possible certain requests will require different skills that your field agents have. With your resources you can track these different skills and then on the Dispatch Board you can filter by these so you assign the Service Requests to the right resources.
In addition to the above, Field Service leverages the Milestones and Entitlements functionality within Service Cloud. This is incredibly important, especially if you’re trying to service critical or break-fix type issues. Say you need to make sure a Service Request is assigned to a field service agent within 1 hour of being reported. Using the same Milestones that you do for Cases, you can setup these rules and have the clock start ticking the moment the Service Requests are created or edited. They do recommend using different Entitlements to track your Case entitlements and Service Request Entitlements, but the all of the features you know and love for Cases is available here for service requests.
- Work Orders – The Service Request has been taken and scheduled. Now it’s been assigned to Joe and he’s on his way over to the location. How’s he supposed to know what he’s going to do when he gets there? Equally important, how are you as a company, going to make sure he does what he’s supposed to do? This is where the Work Order comes in. Essentially the Work Order are the instructions for the Service Request and also the checklist of things that must be done. Especially on more routine service visits like maintenance requests, typically there is a checklist of things that must be done. The Work Order allows the field agent to check off everything they’ve done. Technically, Work Orders came out in Spring 16, but that was to setup this. One nice change to the Work Orders that is part of Summer 16 is that you can now attach Knowledge Articles to the Work Order. So not only can you give your field agent instructions, but you can also link the relevant FAQs to those instructions that might help them do their job. Nice touch.
There are a lot more nuances and features to the Lightning Field Service app, but it’s impossible to go into them all here. Including the building block features above, it includes a robust mobile app (tough to be a field agent without a mobile app) and ways to interact back with the dispatch team if things go wrong or maybe they need to schedule a 2nd appointment to complete the work, or even ordering parts to fix the issue. Lots of functionality you can add to this and it includes a ton. We’ll probably do a blog post (or posts) dedicated just to this in the near future, but if you have a team of field agents – even a small team – this is definitely something to consider to fully round out your Service Cloud. It goes without saying that this is just the beginning for Field Service, and salesforce is going to be pumping new features in over the next bunch of releases.
- Hovers in List Views – I love hovers, so I’m a little surprised I never thought of this one, but once I saw this, it’s a no-brainer. Now, from the Service Console, you can hover over a record in the List View and see a pop-up of information about that record. Same functionality we’ve always had on recent items, etc. but now from a List View. Very cool and super useful. (not sure why this is just in the Service Console, but I’ll take it).
- Lightning Service Console Components – Instead of having to build Visualforce custom components for the Service Console now you can add in Lightning components. The real key here is that Lightning Components can be added to the appexchange, so in theory there’s going to be a building library of sidebar components that you’ll be able to grab and add to your console. Some will obviously be paid ones, but others will be free and it’s going to be a great way to extend the power of the Service Console. We’re kicking around a few ideas for components to add the the appexchange ourselves.
- Track Agent’s Active Time in Omni-Channel – Two new metrics are available to track work time for agents using one of my favorite features – Omni-Channel. First is Handle Time. This tracks the amount of time on a work request from the moment an agent accepts it until the agent closes it out as complete. Keep in mind, that agent could be multi-tasking, which is where the Active Time metric comes in. This takes that same concept but only counts the time that work request is the active tab within the Service Console. Very handy metrics and they are both available in standard reporting.
- Case Feed Email Improvements – We spoke about this in Part 1 as one of the new Lightning Experience updates, but the email module across all of salesforce is receiving a huge upgrade. This change is also being pushed to Case Feed. I can’t tell if you actually need to have LEX turned on for this to take effect in Case Feed though. I’ll need to play with that. Also, a nice little tweak with the feed itself around emails. Now, any system generated emails – like auto-responses – will appear under the customer or agent emails in the feed. It was always a little annoying have to scroll past these auto-responses to get to the real email. Now they’ll be at the bottom. Case Feed has also added a “type-ahead”, so when you’re putting in an email address, Case Feed will automatically start making suggestions of Contacts to email to. This will save a couple of seconds per email – which adds up quickly. Finally, you can now also display the From address on the layout when looking at an email. Especially with the Lightning changes, a big and welcome overhaul to emailing in Case Feed. We’ve said it multiple times, but if you’re supporting email as a channel for your team and you’re not using Case Feed to do this, you’re really giving your agents a poor experience.
- Omni-Channel Tweaks – A few small updates to Omni-Channel are coming as well. First, agents can now provide a reason for when they decline a work request. These reasons are preset in a picklist, so it’s not like they can write a book explaining why not, but this will give you at least some feedback on why work is being declined. Also, now with that work request, we can turn off the notification sounds. Nice little change there. Finally, there used to be a limit of 5,000 work items queued per hour. This has now been bumped to 10,000.
- Suggested Article Improvements – A couple of Knowledge improvements to helping suggest the right Articles. First, instead of just driving the Article suggestion off of the Case subject field, you can include up to 5 additional Case fields as context for the suggested article. This will help further narrow down the list of articles, especially if that subject is a little generic. Second, you can now map different fields to the Data Category mapping. This will also help filter down the list of articles. So, if you have a field called “Product” and a Data Category for the same concept, you can map them and let that narrow the search. These combined will definitely help make those suggested articles searches more relevant for your agents – and I assume for your customers through the Community as well.
- Work Orders on Assets – Even if you aren’t using the Field Service app – but especially if you are – Work Orders Lines can now be associated to an Asset and displayed on that Asset as a related list. This will give you visibility into the full maintenance history on an Asset. Huge information for your agents to be armed with. An issue pops up and they can see that maintenance is overdue, and maybe the customer should have paid for that to prevent these issues. Or maybe maintenance was just done, and now the agent can reach out to the field agent who did the maintenance to see if they have any more details. Very valuable addition.
- Social Service Changes for Twitter – Two new changes to Social Service if you’re using Twitter. First, you can now send direct message invitations to users even if they are not following you. This was always a bit of a pain point as direct messaging has no character limit so it’s much easier to provide support using it. It’s also private, so no need to air the issue out in public especially if it involved some personal information. Second, you can now send a small “Survey Card” that allows users to let you know how your agent did. These responses will feed right back to salesforce. Some nice updates here.
- Parent / Child Relationships for Entitlements – This is one that only the most complicated service organizations will need to use, but it’s a big add for those companies. Sometimes companies wind up with multiple levels to their Service Contracts, like a big umbrella contract for the parent, but then specific contracts and SLAs for different divisions. You’ve never been able to link these up before and always had to manage them separately – which is painful because when a company has this, it’s usually not 1 site, but more like 100 sites all co-termed, etc. Now, you can link these up as parent and children and keep the relationship across all of them. Will definitely make that management easier.
- Launch Pad Templates – Pretty cool new features that allows you to create Service Consoles quicker. Essentially there is now a few templates you can choose from – like a branded Console – that you select and boom, your console is created. You can also do this to deploy a set of preconfigured reports and dashboards. Nice little time saver for admins.
- SOS Look & Feel – SOS also gets a new look and feel with Summer 16. Much more intuitive for the end-user and easier to manage the different controls, like camera and microphone then before.
Well, that’s it for Service Cloud. A huge new addition with Field Service surrounded by a bunch of nice updates across the rest of Service Cloud. The Field Service addition is super exciting, and can’t wait to get our hands on it. Next up will be Communities!