Salesforce adds two-way video and custom app capabilities to Field Service platform

Changes made customer service tasks more user friendly for employees and customers, according to the company.

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The new visual remote assistant two-way video feature on the Field Service Management platform from Salesforce lets customer service agents and customers share their cameras in real time to troubleshoot problems. 

Image: Salesforce

Salesforce added four new features to its Field Service Management platform to make customer support tasks easier for customers and employees. The new components include self-scheduling for customers, two-way video, the ability to build custom apps and a scheduling optimization engine.

Paul Whitelam, SVP and GM of Field Service Management at Salesforce, said these new features will help service companies address changing customer and employee expectations. Both groups want more personalized experiences from customer service software, such as scheduling appointments online or having an agent call back instead of waiting on hold. Employees expect the same ease of use from apps at work, he said, which means simple UIs and easy to use tools. 

"Automation and AI are becoming a bigger piece of the puzzle as this allows dispatchers and field service technicians to get the simple work out of the way and focus on harder, more complex issues that require human interaction," he said. 

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The Lightning Web Components feature allows customers to build custom apps to fit a particular workflow or industry-specific task.

Image: Salesforce

Service providers also can use these new features to capture institutional knowledge as older field service workers begin to retire and businesses are at risk of losing years of historical knowledge and expertise. 

"This labor shortage makes it all the more important to be able to share knowledge in the field — for example by using visual remote assistant technology — enabling dwindling expertise to be more readily available," he said. 

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Salesforce Field Service provides scheduling, mobile capabilities, AI to manage jobs, and swarming capabilities with Slack for mobile workforces. The new features include:

  • Enhanced scheduling and optimization engine: This feature is in beta and allows companies to chain together all the steps in a complex job so dispatchers can understand the work and manage workers appropriately.
  • Lightning Web Components: This feature is in pilot testing and allows customers to build custom apps to fit a particular workflow or industry-specific task.
  • Appointment assistant self-service scheduling: This feature is generally available and allows customers to schedule, cancel, confirm and reschedule appointments.
  • Visual remote assistant two-way video: This feature is also generally available and lets customer service agents and customers share their cameras in real time to troubleshoot problems. 

Field service is becoming a more important strategy for business, Whitelam said. 

"Service has historically been a cost department, but today there is a shift towards service becoming a revenue driver, enabling agents to up-sell, cross-sell, and build trust with the customer," he said. 

Lightning Web Components is the company's primary way of extending its apps, including Lightning desktop and Salesforce mobile app, Whitelam said.

"By adding LWC support to the Field Service app, we will enable customers, SIs and ISVs to build for a wide variety of use cases not supported in the app," he said.  

The enhanced scheduling and optimization engine puts all the steps required to complete a particular job in one place. This makes it easier for dispatchers to understand the time required to complete a job. The two-way video is browser based, which means it can work on Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...