Field Service Management: How Dynamics 365 Changes the Game

Field service management (FSM) software can improve efficiency and customer experience for any organization that uses a mobile workforce to service their customers.

In this article, I’ll explain how a field service solution can help your business, and I’ll provide some specific insights into what Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 solution brings to the table.

Table of Contents

The Dynamics 365 Field Service Solution

Dynamics 365 Field Service is Microsoft’s answer to organizations’ field service needs. It’s a leader in Gartner’s 2021 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management.

D365 Field Service can be implemented as a standalone solution. But in our experience, customers get the best results by integrating it with other Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions. Further resources:

Optimize Scheduling and Dispatch

A key benefit of any field service management solution is to help your company accurately and efficiently assign field team members to jobs off-site.

That means incorporating info about what skills and equipment each field worker has, plus their existing schedule, along with the location and needs of a specific customer case.

Dynamics 365 Field Service provides this functionality through its schedule board. (Click the image to see a larger version.)
The AI scheduling system surfaces the relevant info about available technicians, equipment, and credentials, and provides recommendations for who should do each job and when.

The new Power BI dashboards for Field Service also help you review actual average time spent on each type of job, and compare that against the amount of service time you have been scheduling for those jobs.

Convenient Self-Scheduling

Self-scheduling lets your customers schedule their own appointments online (without having to talk to one of your customer service reps). This can improve the customer experience and save time for your own team.

Dynamics 365 Field Service has a new self-scheduling feature currently in preview, which will be quite easy for your customers to use and for your sysadmin or Dynamics Partner to set up.

Track and Troubleshoot Your First Time Fix Rates

The first time fix rate shows how often a field worker is able to solve the problem the first time, without having to get additional help or equipment. Improving the first time fix rate makes for happier customers and reduced costs on your service calls.

Dynamics 365 lets you centralize all your information about customers and cases. That allows you to compare first time fix rates across departments or technicians, and then look for underlying causes of problems. Power BI integration can also surface this info conveniently for decision-makers and analysts.

Accessible Customer Service History

Ideally, a customer service history should tell your team what your field workers did during any service call to the client’s location. This lets you prove that you maintained something. And your workers can easily see what they tried last time if the problem recurs.

Dynamics 365 Field Service stores your data from past visits to a customer site, and can display that info on field workers’ mobile devices.

Prompt and Accurate Service Reports

Service reports should be prompt and accurate for clients to feel satisfied and for your team to be properly prepared for follow-up calls.

Sadly, many companies are still using paper-only reporting, or PDF files stored haphazardly in various folders.

In Dynamics 365 Field Service, the mobile app helps the technician deliver the report right on their mobile device, so they can get the client signature before leaving.

Better Safety and Compliance

Many businesses that send workers off-site need a trackable, transparent way to ensure they follow all applicable safety and liability laws.

An FSM solution can create reminders for the workers and reliable records for managers (and auditors). Usually, this requires customization to fit your specific safety requirements.

An experienced Dynamics 365 Partner can build your safety forms, and then those forms will be surfaced on your mobile workers’ devices during each customer visit.

You can also create and store field level hazard assessments directly within the customer record, so that the information is available for everyone who deals with that customer or job site in the future.

SLA Management for Field Service

An SLA (service-level agreement) spells out what your company promises to do for your customers when they need service, and how long it will take for your team member to arrive.

If your customer service team has to look up each customer’s SLA manually, and then pass that info on to field workers, that takes time and can lead to errors. Before you know it, a customer with an SLA for same-day maintenance is waiting a day or more for service.

Dynamics 365 Field Service lets you automate aspects of SLAs within your system to prevent these problems. Here’s an example:

  • For an SLA including a certain response time, reminders and warnings can appear during your resource scheduling process.

Proactive Maintenance with IoT

IoT (the “Internet of Things”) allows you to monitor and even issue commands to customer assets remotely. Without IoT, providers of equipment like printers or generators have to wait for a customer to phone them and complain that the equipment has died.

An IoT-enabled customer asset could send you automated signals regularly, indicating its temperature, performance, connectivity, and more. That, integrated with your field service solution, could let you

  • Detect problems before the customer even notices.
  • Fix some problems remotely by sending commands (like “restart”) to an IoT-enabled device.
  • Dispatch technicians to fix problems proactively.

Note: This capability requires Dynamics 365 Field Service to be implemented along with Azure IoT and the Connected Field Service add-on for Dynamics 365.

Field Service Solution Partners

A good field service solution partner does more than just install your software and send you the bill. Your solution partner should

  • Assist you with training and user adoption.
  • Advise you on a roadmap for future technology investments in your business.
  • Provide responsive support over the long run.

Microsoft’s approach to business software is heavily focused on delivering tailored solutions to customers through Dynamics partners.

To learn about how D365 Field Service could fit together with your company’s needs and strategy, talk with a Dynamics 365 Field Service Partner.

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