Summer 21 is already live, but we're still going with the update write-ups. This will…
1. Salesforce Winter 22 Features – Lightning Sales Cloud, Einstein Sales Cloud, and General Enhancements
2. Salesforce Winter 22 Features – Service Cloud, Service Cloud Voice, Surveys and Service Cloud Einstein
4. Salesforce Winter 22 Features – Field Service & Salesforce Scheduler
Salesforce’s Winter 22 is almost here – it will start hitting production instances this weekend and wrap up on 10/9. With the release getting close, we’re right in the middle of our blog series covering it. Our first post was all about the Sales Cloud and core platform updates. After that, we covered Service Cloud and Service Cloud Voice followed up by Derek Camp writing all about the new Flow features coming (and some of the big updates from Dreamforce about how workflow and process builder are being phased out. Surprised by that? Well, definitely read our post as it’s huge news). With this post, we’ll be diving into the Field Service and Salesforce Schedule features that are coming. Let’s jump right into it. I have some alt-J playing in the background so some great writing music and as always we’re going in a pretty random order here of what interests me most.
- Shift Planning Updates – Shift Planning gets some really big updates with Winter 22. First off, we get some enhancements to the calendar itself. You can now quickly move from week to week or across months when creating shifts with an easy toggle arrow. In addition, we now get horizontal bars to represent each shift on the schedule. Finally, we get a nice toggle for territory time zone management. This one is super useful as it lets you view shifts within the local timezone vs. having to do the calculations yourself. The screenshot is below and it’s definitely a much slicker and easier to use interface. In addition to the improved interface, creating repetitive shifts has also gotten easier. We now have access to shift templates – leveraging some Experience Cloud functionality – that will let you create shift records from patterns. This lets you create many shift records for multiple resources all in one shot vs having to create these repeatedly. If you use shift management, all of these enhancements are huge.
- Virtual Remote Assistant Enhancements – The Virtual Remote Assistant add-on (this is another additional cost product) gets several new enhancements with Winter 22. I’m a big fan of camera sharing as a concept – we wrote a blog post covering this right as covid broke out – and Virtual Remote Assistant is Salesforce’s solution to this approach. If you have field service appointments that can be solved with virtual service, this is definitely worth looking into as the ROI will be incredible if this is done right. Obviously not all work types can be solved remotely so you need to evaluate if this is a fit for your business and what work types it’s a fit for. For Winter 22, the first enhancement gives your mobile workers more control over the video session itself by leveraging more of the camera’s features. Mobile workers can now change the exposure, adjust the focus, zoom in or out, and also leverage the flashlight right from within the remote assistant app. Next up, you can now take snapshots with the video to capture images. These images create a library within the session and you have the ability to annotate directly upon these images, which is really slick. Both your virtual worker and the customer can annotate on the image and as part of this, you also have the ability to set the colors of the magic markers for each of the user types. Afterward, you can share these images from the library with other users. Finally, you can now leverage Virtual Remote Assistant in Sales Cloud and Experience Cloud. Previously it could only be done in Service Cloud. Definitely some good use cases in Sales – the Experience Cloud side is an interesting angle as it allows you to expand this capability to your partners as well. Leveraging 3rd party companies for your field work? Now they can benefit from this functionality to avoid truck rolls and both of you save money. All of these are great enhancements.
- Proactive Preventative Maintenance – Alright, this one is really cool. We’ve always been able to create preventative maintenance plans on a recurring schedule, but now we can create a preventative maintenance plan based on events like asset use and conditions with the asset. The example below is a good one – if you have an asset that really shouldn’t be running in temperatures over 100 degrees, you can create a filter criteria rule that says if this asset is exposed to temperatures exceeding 100 degrees then automatically create a preventative maintenance record so that you can make sure the asset is ok. Obviously, this implies that you have a way to get the data needed for these conditions – like temperature or number of cycles in a day, etc (connected devices / IoT at work here). This is really powerful if used correctly as you can ensure equipment is being inspected during harsh conditions that typically would lead to downtime later. Any downtime prevented is huge ROI and this lets you get very intelligent about setting up rules to protect your equipment. Love it. This is actually a beta, so make sure you test this out heavily before relying on it. Maybe start off slow and wait until it’s GA before really driving a lot of appointments from this.
- Appointment Assistant Updates – Appointment Assistant expands from just being the last mile notification engine and adds some additional features with Winter 22. As a reminder, Appointment Assistant is an additional fee and doesn’t come with the core Field Service licenses, but the added functionality definitely makes this more interesting. First, your admins and dispatchers can now see what your customers can see when you use Appointment Assistant. With a new Lightning Component for the Service Appointment, you can see the exact details your customer is looking at from their notification. Second, we can give customers the ability to book, reschedule, cancel and confirm appointments leveraging Self-Service scheduling which is now part of Appointment Assistant. To leverage this, you can build flows that send customers a link to these self-scheduling web pages. It isn’t clear exactly how much control we have on these scheduling pages yet, but creating this functionality for Field Service has always been pretty custom (as a reminder, you really couldn’t use Salesforce Scheduler in the same instance as Field Service) so it’s good to see this now available more out of the box. I’d definitely prefer this being part of the core field service package vs. an added cost – but it is what it is. If you’re in a pretty high volume Service Appointment organization, this is worth looking at as there can be a lot of savings with the deflection costs of needing to use your call center to manage the scheduling and rescheduling of appointments.
- Stop Deep Link Security Dialogs – Deep linking is a super powerful feature and it was definitely handicapped by a well-intending error message warning you about the deep link. Basically, if you used deep linking, each time a worker tried leveraging it they got the error message below. Clearly, this isn’t really the worker’s decision – if the administrators made the decision to provide this link, no need to warn the worker – and this was a nuisance that made deep links a bit tougher to use. With Winter 22 you can now hide these by leveraging a security key. Huge to see.
- Easily Transfer Products Between Locations – Inventory Management just got a bit easier as you now have an improved interface to move products from warehouses to the work van or other locations. With just a few clicks, you can transfer products to new locations from within the mobile app. You just need to select the product, set the quantity, grab the new location and then hit save.
- Manual Sharing for Field Service – This one sounds small, but it’s definitely a helpful one. All Field Service objects now support manual sharing – allowing you to add other team members to see any Field Service object – except Asset (which for some reason is still only supported in Classic for Manual Sharing. Why is it always Assets???). I don’t think this bypasses licensing – so I think you still need a Field Service license to see these records, but I could be wrong.
- Work Plans in Experience Cloud – Speaking of Work Plans – you can now make them visible within Experience Cloud sites with the Work Plans lightning web component. This allows you to expose the Work Plan outside of the mobile app, which is especially useful for 3rd party contractors or for allowing customers to view their completed or in-process work plans.
- Custom Actions on Work Plans – Work Plans and Work Step records can now have custom actions added to them to allow users to update them easily. This definitely makes Work Plans easier to use for the mobile workers, as you can give them one-click actions for frequent updates vs. making them click Edit each time and update manually.
- Custom Icons on the Real-Time Location Map – Not exactly a game-changer of a new feature, but one that gives you a bit more flexibility on the visuals for your real-time location map. Now you have the ability to override the standard icons for customer and mobile work locations on the map.
- Salesforce Scheduler Enhancements – Salesforce Scheduler only has a handful of enhancements in Winter 22. The biggest is a new Even Appointment Distribution option. Salesforce Scheduler has built a data-driven load balancing logic that looks for the least-full eligible service resources for an appointment. This is definitely one of those leaps of faith to trust the logic vs. a human to make sure you’re sharing appointments evenly across resources, but the logic makes sense here. Let the logic figure out which of your service resources is the least occupied and continually try to load balance the work. You might want to run this and review it regularly to see how it’s spreading work – but my guess is pretty soon after you won’t need to keep an eye on it anymore. Next, we get a series of new Apex methods to create and update appointments. This is especially important if you’re not using the out-of-the-box scheduler flows and trying to update schedules with a custom scheduling UI. In addition to new methods, the API request limit has been raised to 10,000 requests per hour. For high-volume customers, this is a welcome update. Finally, the Save Appointment action in the Inbound New Guest Appointment flow has been optimized. This allows you to check external calendars for the availability of resources for these guest user type appointments. Not a huge release for Salesforce Scheduler, but these are all handy features.
Well, that’s it for Field Service and Salesforce Scheduler. It’s great seeing all of the Shift improvements and I love the preventative maintenance update. Next up will be our Collaboration features post – handled by our one and only Jill P. Looking forward to seeing what she has to review. While Jill P is handling that, I’ll be getting started on the Workforce Engagement post which I’m excited to dig into. As always, if you have any questions on these new features – or want some help implementing them – feel free to reach out and one of our Solution Architects will get right back to you. Thanks for reading!