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4 steps to take your Salesforce Field Service (SFS) project from start to finish

October 30, 2019By
black and white image of four workers at a boardroom table

Part 3 of a 3 part series by Dane Peterson, Salesforce Field Service Practice Lead at Traction on Demand. Complete the series and check out more Field Service content.

Did you know

Field Service Lightning (FSL) is now Salesforce Field Service (SFS). New name, same product you love. Interested in learning more about this solution?

By now, you may have read my previous blog posts, Salesforce Field Service (SFS): What You Need to Know to Get Started and 5 Things That Will Make or Break an FSL Project. With this background knowledge, let’s move on to discussing the steps that will take you from a basic implementation of SFS to a full on digital transformation that is bound to disrupt your industry.

At Traction on Demand, we describe this methodology using the terms “crawl, walk, run and ride.” It helps us — in partnership with our clients — prioritize the current needs of the business as they pertain to SFS, as well as plan for growth and complexity in the future.

Salesforce Field Service has the capability to revolutionize your business. But, as we heard in Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility. It’s important you are realistic with what your business can handle. Change is not easy, so I want to provide some pointers to help identify where your business is right now and what the next steps are.

1. Crawl: providing visibility into your field service operations

This is the stage at which many companies will start their Salesforce Field Service implementation. The goal of the crawl phase is to start getting visibility into your field service operations. This step is probably the most important, as it sets the foundation for future decision-making.

Signs you’re in the crawl phase:

  • You’re moving away from pen and paper (ex. paper receipts, paper on-site forms and/or whiteboard schedules) toward a digital system
  • You’re moving away from Excel/Word documents toward a consolidated data-collection system
  • You’re moving away from an existing digital system (likely built in-house) that requires manual combing of data to gain any insight into the business

Action items:

  • Build out the basics of your business flow ensuring your technicians, dispatchers and agents can do their jobs end-to-end; make the system user-friendly but don't focus on making it a “one-touch magic button”
  • Prioritize the KPIs/metrics you want to measure and set your digital system to collect that information (tip: don’t try to measure everything, measure the information you can and will act on)
  • Adopt a consistent data model that collects relevant data; for example, who is working on what, how much work we are doing, what the cost of our service is, etc.

Keep in mind that you can be “crawling” in certain areas while “riding" in others. It's not an all or nothing approach.

2. Walk: optimizing your SFS implementation

The walk phase is where things start to get fun. In this phase, you’ll take the visibility you gained in “crawl” and put it to work. You’ll now optimize the metrics you’ve started collecting by making decisions based on them.

Signs you’re in the walk phase:

  • You have solid business processes that have been refined through experimentation and investigation
  • You’re moving away from a digital system that provides decent reporting but lacks the ability for further customization

Action items:

  • Introduce the automation of manual tasks, like sending confirmation or work-complete emails
  • Work on the technician’s user experience to ensure minimal time is needed on their mobile device; if they currently have to populate 100 fields in an on-site checklist, think about what information you could pre-populate or derive from other parts of the system; let your technicians focus on what they are good at!
  • Look at adapting business processes based on data collection; this could include fine tuning how you schedule, answer calls, estimate duration blocks or determine what inventory to bring on site

Before you can "walk" you have to make sure to have some support in place. Be diligent in making sure you've checked off the items in "crawl" before moving on.

3. Run: leveraging automation to maximize all business processes

The run phase is all about maximizing everything. Maximizing time, interactions and resources. The efficiency will take place by automating laborious manual tasks. An example of this may be automatically generating time cards for technicians depending on any number of variables.

Signs you’re in the run phase:

  • After reviewing the data, you’ve identified the areas where you can increase efficiency and save money using automation
  • You have resolved a majority of your logistical issues and are now focusing on how you can innovate service for a better customer experience

Action items:

  • Determine which business processes can be automated
  • Work toward scheduling optimization; ensure each technician is given the most desirable route regardless of the overall schedule complexity
  • Implement your newly refined processes into the system using configuration or, in advanced cases, code

4. Ride: disrupting and delighting your customers!

At this stage, you are at the cutting edge of innovation and service. It may take a while to get to this phase but once you get here, you are at the pinnacle of what you can provide to your technicians and customers.

Here's our VP of Community, Michelle Malpass, riding a wave while wake surfing. Be patient during your SFS project. It can take a while to get here.

Signs you’re in the ride phase:

  • You have set up scheduling optimization to run nightly and it’s working well; you are looking for how you can further maximize service time in a day!
  • Your customers are happy with how they are being made aware of their appointments; you are now looking to see how you can delight them
  • You are looking at opening up cutting edge service channels for customers (or assets!) to request service and back-end processing to allow for low or zero-touch work orders

Action items:

  • Optimize scheduling to minimize cost centres and maximize revenue; look at other processes such as in-day optimization and drip-feed dispatching; minimize truck rolls through intelligent searching and pairing preventative maintenance with break-fix repairs
  • Scrutinize the customer experience you provide; ditch the email updates and send customers the visibility they want, which may include live maps with ETA updates delivered via SMS or another channel chosen by the customer
  • Open up to IOT (if available) or bring in AI for case classification so the system can determine the best technician for a job, based on duration and skills; from customer requests for service to appearing on the assigned technician's mobile phone, no administrative touches are needed

You can do it!

As you start or continue on your Salesforce Field Service journey, keep in mind that you can be “riding” in certain areas while “crawling” in others. As you follow this journey you will run into rocky patches, but remember that change is never easy, regardless of systems. Make the changes slow enough to be digestible but fast enough to have momentum to benefit your business.

Salesforce Field Service has the potential to revolutionize your field service operations. Review the above points whenever you want to remind yourself of where you are — and where you want to be.

Watch the webinar

If you want to learn more about implementing a successful Salesforce Field Service project, check out our webinar. We’ll take you through the steps — no matter where on your field service journey you may be — and help you find that momentum and balance as you take on this digital transformation.

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