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Field Service Lightning (FSL): What You Need to Know to Get Started

When you’re a field service representative on the go, you can’t afford to get bogged down with the logistics of the day.

What is Field Service Lightning?

Field Service Lightning (FSL) is Salesforce’s field service solution. It is an onsite job management platform with real-time collaboration capabilities.

From installations and repairs, to professional services and regular maintenance, many organizations send agents into the field. But 52% of organizations are still manually managing their field agents. FSL is a much better option. It streamlines both the customer and employee experiences.

Field Service Lightning launched in 2016. It has quickly become one of the fastest growing products in the Salesforce stack. FSL is expected to account for more than $100 million in revenue in 2019.

Field Service Lightning Makes Life Easier—For Everyone

FSL provides valuable insight so everyone involved can work efficiently:

Dispatchers set field technicians up for success by sending the appropriate technicians (with the right skills and tools) to complete a particular job, keeping in mind driving and services times.

Field Technicians have real-time data at their fingertips, so they clearly understand the work that is being requested and the tools they need to complete the work. They can also access knowledge articles to fill in any gaps as needed.

Leadership teams have access to all the data they need to spot trends and improve operational processes.

Customers gain an effortless experience with a 48% faster case resolution time because the technician arrives prepared to do the task at hand.

This Gantt chart gives you a sense of how neatly all the data is organized, so you get a holistic understanding of your operations at a glance.

When you use technology to manage the logistics, the people in your organization can focus on creating the best experience for your clients.

FSL IRL (Field Service Lightning in Real Life)

With this quick introduction to FSL, let’s work through a business case.

I need a haircut every few weeks but find it difficult to make it to an appointment after work. Maybe if there was a mobile barbershop, I wouldn’t have this issue. Let’s pretend there’s a company called the Bustling Barbers serving Vancouver and surrounding areas.

Throughout the day, the barbers travel to appointments across the region. The majority of their appointments are for commercial clients requesting four and eight-hour time slots so their employees can get a quick haircut during the workday. The remainder of the time is reserved for residential clients who can book either a 30-minute or one-hour appointment. The Bustling Barbers have one dispatcher who manages their bookings and optimizes travel times.

Generally, this would be a lot for a single dispatcher to manually manage but with Field Service Lightning, the barbers can move seamlessly through their day. This use case brings up four core aspects of the platform:

1. Defined resources and regions: The barbers (resources) only take appointments in their designated cities (defined service regions).

2. Defined work types and durations: There are only four different types of haircut appointments—four-hour commercial, eight-hour commercial, 30-minute residential and 60-minute residential—the Bustling Barbers can schedule. These durations are considered when building out a barber’s schedule.

3. Exact start times: To create an effortless customer experience, the Bustling Barbers provide their customers with exact appointment times rather than traditional service windows.

4. Optimized travel times: To maximize the number of appointments in their day, the barbers can leverage Field Service Lightning’s schedule optimization capabilities.

Everyone wins with Field Service Lightning, from the field service representative to the customer.

What could have been a complex system of calendars and back-and-forth on barber availability (potentially leading to customers frustrated with the wait times), has now been broken down into a simple system for the Bustling Barbers to manage with ease.

Scaling with Field Service Lightning

As the Bustling Barbers continue to grow, they add 44 more barbers and nine more dispatchers. This brings their entire team to 50 barbers and 10 dispatchers. Beyond some additional technical set up, scaling is where Field Service Lightning shines.

With their growth, the Bustling Barbers are now able to add services like beard trims and hot shaves. But not all the barbers have the specialized skills, so FSL gives field service managers the ability to add “assigned skills” to each barber. This helps the dispatcher know which barbers to send to a particular appointment.

Additionally, the barbers are going to need increased supplies: razors, scissors, towels, etc. FSL keeps track of the supplies in each location—could be in the barber’s vehicle, a central warehouse, or even at a commercial customer’s building—and allows the barbers to move the supplies into their own inventory if needed. Since this would decrease the overall inventory, the Busting Barbers’ operations team can keep updated with their product levels and order new ones as needed.

These are just two quick examples about how easy it is for Field Service Lightning to scale with a business. An FSL implementation should be considered an integral part of any field service operation, even when just starting out. To have it already established will only make it easier to grow as you add functionality for your expanding business. The additional value in the platform is how you can track and report on the aspects that matter most to your field service operation.

To learn more about how Field Service Lightning could benefit your business, please reach out and we’d be happy to connect you with one of our FSL experts.


Written by Dane Peterson, Field Service Lightning Practice Lead at Traction on Demand.

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