FSM Construction Image credit pixabay/voltamaxSalesforce has announced a series of updates to Salesforce Field Service ahead of Dreamforce, which is only three weeks away. The new updates embed several AI-powered innovations into the platform. The improvements enable organisations to drive further efficiencies from their field service operation. They will help organisations increase productivity, revenue, and customer engagement.

The innovations bring generative AI to the mobile workforce rather than leaving it in the domain of deskbound colleagues. The updates include

  • Automated scheduling of appointment
  • Predictive analytics for jobs about expected duration, required parts and detailed briefing of the work
  • Automation of administrative tasks to reduce manual paperwork.
  • Predictive maintenance scheduling
  • Customer self-service for appointment booking and tracking
Taksina Eammano, EVP and GM of Field Service at Salesforce
Taksina Eammano, EVP and GM of Field Service at Salesforce

The update comes at a time when field service firms are feeling the recruitment pinch. The application rate for Gen Z seeking technical trade jobs such as plumbers, construction trades and electricians fell 49% in 2022 compared to 2020, according to data from online recruiting platform Handshake and shared with NPR.

Firms able to leverage AI can start to make up that shortfall, increase efficiency for the existing workforce and accelerate onboarding with generative AI providing guidance.

Taksina Eammano, EVP and GM of Field Service at Salesforce, commented, “The rise of generative AI and related technologies is going to fundamentally change how work gets done, but the focus so far has largely centered on use cases for desk workers. That changes now.

“With the latest Field Service innovations, we are empowering the mobile workforce with the AI tools and real-time data needed to efficiently handle jobs and offload time-consuming administrative tasks, so they can focus on their craft, deliver great service, and generate revenue for their companies.”

What are the new updates for Salesforce Field Service?

Several of these updates are improvements to existing features that Salesforce has already rolled out within Salesforce Field Service.

AI-powered self-service enables customers to interact directly with service firms.  Appointment Assistant, launched in the Winter 2021 release, has several enhancements. It is now available across multiple Salesforce products, including Einstein Bots, and all messaging channels, including SMS, online chat and Apple Messages for Business. A self-service option enables customers can book appointments, reschedule them and check when their technician is on the way, reducing call volume and no-shows.

Firms can also personalise Appointment Assistant with their terminology to personalise the experience for every client. For example, a simple label change will alter a message from “Your team member is on the way” to “Your babysitter is on the way”, confirming the customer what the service is for. For the AAA, this could mean revealing that the flatbed assistance is coming.

Shohreh Abedi, EVP, Chief Operations Technology Officer and Member Experience, AAA – The Auto Club Group, said, “Our goal is to deliver more personalized member engagement, make our processes more efficient and cost-effective, and drive innovation across our team within a safe and trusted environment.”

With access to Salesforce Data Cloud, the solution now has access to a wider data set. It includes data such as customer purchase details, service history, and IoT signals on machine health. Einstein can now schedule an appointment for preventative maintenance, understand the estimated duration of the visit, what parts are needed and select the best technician to complete the task.

Salesforce has added Work Capacity Management, which allows companies to reserve resources for priority work such as new installations, high-value customers or high-priority calls.

Empowering frontline workers

With this release, Salesforce has added the power of generative AI for field service workers. Mobile Work Briefings will summarise critical information that service engineers require for every appointment. The information can include customer data, asset information, and service history. Engineers can access a knowledge base to provide information on delivering fix-time fixes for customers when onsite.

The information provided can increase efficiency and reduce repeat calls, thus improving productivity and the customer experience. Once a job is complete, the system can quickly create service reports with little manual intervention.

Rob Pluta, Chief Technology Officer and VP of New Products Ryder System, Inc., commented, “With AI, we’re exploring opportunities for transforming our team productivity. We’re enhancing our capabilities to drive efficiency, including reducing our appointment times, enhancing decision-making, and creating a new horizon of operational excellence.”

There are enhancements to the augmented reality features. Integration with the Apple ARKit enables the mobile device to scan a room or scan barcodes. This speeds up data entry or helps understand the constraints of where the engineer is working. Scan a room was first mentioned in 2021 with Commerce Cloud. Salesforce and Threekit partnered to create an app that allows you to scan a room and place it virtually in the space.

Service Engineers provide organisations with customer touchpoints for both service and sales opportunities. The Mobile app now supports quoting, and the ability to create invoices and future worklists agreed with the customer. Using Salesforce Pay Now, firms can provide a seamless payment experience to customers. They can create payment links that direct customers to branded payment pages on all devices, including mobile.

Not only can service engineers create quotations, but they can also close the sale and take payment without leaving the customer. These upsell opportunities are normally lost between the field engineer and the follow-up from the call centre.

Field Service GPT, currently in pilot, will be included in Field Service Unlimited Edition. It also includes a limited number of Einstein GPT credits.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This intriguing update from Salesforce promises some very useful features for customers. Unusually, there is little detail in the announcement. These new features are welcome for service companies looking to enhance employee and customer experience. It will be interesting to see how customers evolve and enhance them moving forward.

At Dreamforce, there are likely to be demonstrations of these new features, so that organisations can see how they can make a difference to their operations.


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