We are all fed up by now hearing, reading, and discussing The New Normal. But whether we’re fed up or not doesn’t matter; it’s here, it’s now, and it ain’t going nowhere.
So maybe it’s time to stop discussing The New Normal and start adapting your field service business to the shifting needs, requirements, and challenges posed by the aftermath of COVID-19.
The New Fieldscape
Field service organizations, or organizations that a substantial part of their business takes place outside the constraints of their own offices or stores, had it hard during 2020. Simple tasks like making a home visit to fix a malfunction have become a regulatory and logistic nightmare. Service has become even harder.
Now that we all realize that this isn’t a passing fad, that the pandemic is having a long-lasting effect on how field service is carried out, organizations are rethinking their customer-interaction processes.
Organizations are less ‘eager’ to go out to the field and customers are less ‘eager’ to let technicians into their homes. The alternative? Virtual appointments, remote consultations, deliveries and drop-offs - minimized face-to-face.
Organizations that use Field Service Lightning (Salesforce Field Service as of recently) have a viable and available solution to integrate virtual appointments and consultations into the operation - Lightning Scheduler, an appointment booking solution from Salesforce.
Lightning Scheduler Vs. Field Service Lightning
Simply put, Lightning Scheduler is meant for appointment booking, while FSL is meant for resource scheduling. The distinction is a straightforward one. Another way of explaining the difference is that FSL is designed for dispatching mobile workers, while Lightning Scheduler is designed for in-store and virtual appointments.
Obviously, there is some overlap between the two systems, but organizations that need to start reconfiguring their field operation and incorporate virtual service into their business processes, are well-advised to integrate Lightning Scheduler into the existing Field Service Lightning system.
Finding the Right Balance of Service
Field organizations are now tasked with minimizing ‘going out to the field’. Instead of sending a technician to a customer’s home to deal with a malfunction, an over-the-phone consultation to resolve the issue by instructing the customer to perform simple tasks should be a first step. If that fails, then dispatching the technician follows.
Many decisions need to be taken in order to devise new business flows that take the best advantage of both options and utilize both systems, FSL, and Lightning Scheduler; when is a first-off virtual meeting sufficient and when is dispatching a must?
Once tried and tested, successful implementation of virtual appointments into the day-to-day operation has the potential to impact the ‘field-side’ of your business. Meaning, less dispatching, less travel, less mobile workforce - which all leads to reduced costs. While reducing costs is always a goal of any business, it should be considered against the quality of service provided. The key here is to find the right balance; the balance between virtual and field, between cost and quality, between FSL and Lightning Scheduler.
The potential benefits of integrating virtual service by the implementation of Lightning Scheduler come with new challenges that must be considered. Data transfer and sharing across the various service providers of an organization - stationary and mobile - is one of those challenges.
As an example, a virtual meeting was booked using Lightning Scheduler and carried out by an in-office consultant. The problem was not solved, meaning, a technician needs to be dispatched, using FSL, to the customer’s home. Additionally, the data collected during the virtual meeting needs to be transferred and made available for the in-field technician while they are at the customer’s home, in order to solve the problem faster and to provide better and more efficient service.
The goal is to have a 360 view of customer service, and customer experience, that combines the virtual and in-person interactions. Organizations must put in place a system that provides that 360 view and knows how to follow both technicians and customer journeys, end-to-end.
Measure for Efficiency
Any new system installed should be followed by measurement; of the business efficiency / cost-efficiency, of the service quality, of the customer satisfaction with service provided, and human interaction. On the last point, we should add that the two don’t always go hand-in-hand. The problem might have been fixed, but the customer could be left with an unpleasant feeling about the interaction with the service provider, or frustration over the time and effort spent obtaining and completing the service.
The ability to install efficient measurement of the various aspects of service is a crucial one for optimizing your field operation. Especially when an organization is taking the first steps with a new modus operandi. And for most field service organizations, integrating virtual service into their operational processes is unknown territory.
How Asperii Can Help
Having in-depth knowledge of both Field Service Lightning and Lightning Scheduler, combined with proven professional services implementation experience, allows us to provide organizations with a thorough analysis of their current state of service and the steps needed to adapt it to the new reality imposed on field service.
Additionally, having worked in various industries and business verticals, has given us a unique capability to fully understand your business needs, and how to utilize the Salesforce platform to answer those needs.
Last, we can help - actually more than help - we can lead you in your effort to integrate Lightning Scheduler into your existing field operation in the most time and cost-efficient way, so your business will swiftly adapt to The New Normal.