Appointment booking in Salesforce Field Service (FSL) can seem confusing when you first approach it as an Admin or Consultant. At first glance, it’s easy to get absorbed in the feature-rich Dispatch Console, but did you know that getting something onto the Gantt using the FSL rules engine can be done without ever leaving the Work Order record?
In the last article, we looked at the benefits of FSL as a workforce management tool in the Salesforce platform. This time we’re getting more into the specifics of the technology and exploring the different ways to book appointments in the Field Service package, from manual to part-automated to fully automated.
Book Appointment Action
Used flexibly around whichever object drives the booking process, the Appointment booking window allows the user to choose an available slot and book the appointment within that slot.
Let’s consider the “Amazon” scenario, shown below (this is an image from an Amazon booking site – not FSL). The customer is not able to book a specific time, but can specify a window for delivery. You’ve probably seen something like this before:
Rather than being really specific about a delivery time at this point, a window can be given via Arrival Windows, enabling (a) the customer to be given some idea of when the delivery will take place, and (b) space for the delivery to be moved around to optimize schedules, reducing travel times.
The way the system is designed, using time slots and Arrival windows helps fit snugly into one of the core FSL processes:
This is how the FSL Appointment booking window looks in practice:
Get Candidates works in a similar way to “Book Appointment”, however instead of the rules choosing the best individual, the customer service agent is able to choose a specific individual.
Auto-create Appointments Using the Work Type
In some cases, the manual work can be removed altogether from the scheduling, and certain Work Types can have “auto create” applied to them, along with “auto schedule” on the Service Appointment, in order to push them straight into the calendar based on the rules set out in the scheduling policy.
Auto-create Appointments Using the Maintenance Plan
Maintenance Plans can be used to create Work Orders on a schedule, e.g. planned maintenance visits every month. But rather than just generating the Work Orders, they can also be used to completely automate the scheduling process – meaning the first time a human has contact with the appointment is when it’s pushed to the FSL Mobile app for the field technician.
In Salesforce Communities or externally-managed communities, customers can book, reschedule and cancel appointments themselves using the snap-ins provided by the “FSL Appointment Management” package. The image below shows these Snap-Ins in the context of a Customer Community.
Custom Appointment Booking
Beyond what’s available by default in FSL by default, many organizations of scale require custom interfaces in order to, for example, expose appointment booking functionality to in-store staff. When it’s not practical to give Salesforce licenses to these users, Lightning Web Components or Sites can be used to call the GetSlots API and deliver a completely customized booking experience.
In this article we’ve looked at various ways to book appointments in Field Service Lightning. In the next article we’ll get under the bonnet with Service Territories.