Check out this on-demand webinar for a look at some of the Dynamics 365 CE Field Service Release Wave 2 features. We talk about new capabilities in Field Service, mobile app enhancements, and show a demo of self-service scheduling in Portal. Keep watching until the end for the informative Q and A portion.
Melissa: Hi, there, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. This is Melissa. I’m a marketing specialist here at Encore. And today we’ve got Mark Rosmus and Ingrid Kreitz. And I’ll just tell you a little bit about them. So, Mark is a senior solution specialist with over 20 years of experience focusing on ERP, CRM, BI, and Power Platform. He believes in driving adoption with intuitive, modern, and innovative solutions and has implemented Field Service for large user bases. And Ingrid is a senior solutions specialist for Encore with 30 years experience in various information technology roles. Ingrid brings an advanced level of technical expertise and business aptitude. And her commitment and contributions have resulted in success across numerous projects and corporate initiatives. So, welcome, Ingrid and Mark. Thanks for joining us today. I can throw it over to you.
Ingrid: Thanks, Melissa. Our brief agenda today, we are going to provide an overview of the new capabilities introduced in Field Service in Wave 2, which took place in October. And then my colleague, Mark, will take you through a demo of the Field Service Portal Self-Service Scheduling functionality. We will review the mobile app enhancements that were released and then give you an overview of the Field Service Portal settings options available to you so that you can implement it yourself. And then finally, we’re gonna give our attendees some time to ask questions, and we will do our very best to answer them.
So, there are a number of enhancements released with Wave 2, namely a streamlined onboarding experience. In order to improve productivity, Microsoft has redesigned the work order. They’ve enhanced frontline worker experience and implemented some mixed-reality improvements. And they’ve enhanced the scheduled board experience. And today we’re gonna talk about the improved communication capabilities. And, Mark, if you are ready, he’s gonna give you a demo of the self-service scheduling.
Mark: You bet. Can you see my screen?
Mark: Oh, perfect. Okay. Yeah. My name is Mark. And what we’re gonna do is take you through the Field Service’s Self-Scheduling Portal that’s been recently released into production by Microsoft. It was in preview for a while. So, we have been able to play with it for quite a bit. But now that it’s been released to manufacturing, it’s kind of ready for primetime. And yeah, we’re gonna take you through a whole view of everything that you can do with this new self-service portal.
So, when you create an account or a contact inside of CE, you are able to send that account or contact a direct email inviting them into your Self-Scheduling Portal. So, this portal isn’t available to just anybody who’s surfing the web comes across your website and wants to sign up. It requires a very specific invitation code that links the portal user that your customer would set up with the CE account or contact. So, it is important to note that this isn’t, you know, an add-on or a silo, is that this is actually an extension of CE. So, with this portal information, it doesn’t live somewhere else. It actually lives all in CE and bases itself on all of that information.
So, here I’m logged in as myself. I can view my profile. And behind the scenes, of course, it’s linked to that invitation code. So, that means that when I hit this page, I’m only gonna see information that is applicable to me and I don’t have the, even, opportunity to browse about and see other people’s information. So, it is very much a self-service, but yet an individual portal. Just giving a one viewpoint into a customer’s Self-Scheduling.
So, what I’m able to do from here is I can see my upcoming appointments as well as any of my past appointments. These will show you any appointments beyond just what was scheduled in the Self-Scheduling Portal. So, if I had called in to the company and, you know, their dispatch team had created a booking to kind of do some work at my home, I would see that here as well as any of the ones that I would have created through the Self-Scheduling Portal. So, this is very much a history of services provided specific to this customer.
So, here on my upcoming appointments, I can see I have an appointment on the 22nd for an appliance removal. Up until 24 hours before that appointment, I can actually modify this appointment to change the date, add note, put in some detail, perhaps change the service. Just as when I’m on my past appointments, I can go in and I can see any notes that were left, but I can also send feedback/fill out a survey. So, if I had turned on the survey portion, our end-users would be able to come in here and the customers will be able to leave feedback on what that service was like or, you know, whatever your customer voice survey asked.
So, yeah. So, here, right, we can see the upcoming appointments, we can see the past appointments. And if I wanna create a new appointment, I can click the Book A New Appointment. Now, it knows who I am because I’m signed in, so it brings up my service location. If in CE I had multiple service locations, you know, if I had multiple offices or warehouses or locations or homes, I would be able to pick which service location I wanted to schedule for. Just as if I was using customer assets and I wanted to, you know, say, people wanted to put their appliances on here or their cars or whatever purchases they actually had tracked inside the CE, then we would be able to use that level as well.
So, it automatically knows I only have one location, so it defaults that for me. Here I can see the service type. So, I’ve got two service types that I have exposed to the Self-Scheduling Portal. Inside of CE, you can go into any of your incident types and basically click a checkbox that enables them for preview through the Self-Scheduling Portal. Once you do that, it does play by all the same rules that you do have in a normal Field Service. So, for example, if I were to pick the Appliance Removal, it would go behind the scenes, calculate exactly what the time duration is that I’ve specified that that incident type takes, as well as any of these specific service types or service activities that would be against that type would all get created and assigned to that technician.
So, this isn’t just a drop-down. This is actually a listing of incident types from your CE system that will do all of the same work as if this was scheduled by your dispatch. So, in this instance, I’ll pick House Inspection. It automatically dynamically changes it to whatever the duration is of that specific type. Then it also gives me the date ranges. Now, inside of the setup, you can specify exactly how long or how much in the future someone is able to book. So, in my config, I say that I don’t want anybody to be able to book within 24 hours. That’s just too much for me to turn around in this scenario. I don’t want them messing with my scheduled runs for the day. But anything beyond today, if there is an opening and the tech available, I definitely want them to be able to schedule that. So, that’s why the 14th is blocked off is that it’s observing that rule. So, if I take the 15th, which is the first blue square circle, you’ll see that the times actually starts at 10:30 because that’s the next bucketed window 24 hours into the future. If I picked the 16th, it would give me the full range of times.
Now, it is important to note that these times are being pulled from my Field Services system. So, the availabilities that are displaying here, it’s not just showing all of the time buckets, it’s showing all of the available time buckets. So, here I can actually pick if I wanted to do, say, the 16th, and I wanted it to be at 10:30. Then I’m able to schedule that if it was available. And I can add in any additional information here. So, I can say I have two big dogs. Anything that’s put in the additional information will actually show up as a note on the booking for that technician. And once I’m ready, I can click Book. And it’s important to note that behind the scenes, it’s not just creating a record or, you know, sending an email to somebody. What it’s actually doing is it’s creating this booking inside of Field Services.
It’s assigning that booking to a technician, based on their proximity to the customer address due to the restrictions based on the specific customer or based on the characteristics of the incident type and, you know, which texts are actually qualified to handle this kind of a call. So, it’s doing all of that behind the scenes. So, it is actually doing the Field Service work. It’s not just creating an email that sends to a dispatch department for them to go in and actually schedule it. And it’s booking this time. So, there isn’t…you don’t have to worry about delays or blocking time off. This is actually putting a hard allocation on that.
Yep. So, now when I click Home from the confirmation screen, I can see that here’s my December 16th or two days from now my house inspection at the address at the time that I specified or how long it’s gonna take. Now, once that’s been created, that point will then show up on the mobile client for the technician that’s been assigned that booking. So, when I come into my mobile client, and I see that appointment, and I go in, I can actually change the booking status on that specific booking from the mobile client from scheduled to traveling.
And when I click Save, it’s actually going to send the customer an email, letting them know that I am on my way to their location, as well, it’s also going to update this specific booking and it’s gonna change it from Modify because you can’t modify it, I’m already on the way, to View Live Map. And when you click on View Live Map, it’s actually gonna split the screen into two so that you can see the details of the estimated arrival and the technician on the left-hand side and you can actually see a dynamic map on the right-hand side. And this truck or this vehicle here represents me. This represents the client’s address. And as I move from this location, it’s gonna actually show it just like any of the modern mobile apps like SkipTheDishes or Uber Eats or anything like that.
So, yeah. So, not only am I gonna get an email for any of these touchpoints, but I’m gonna get sent to this map so that I can see where they are. And, of course, any of this information here is updatable from throughout the system because what we’re looking at here is just the base kind of normal deployment of the Self-Scheduling Portal. So, obviously, you’d be able to colorize or ramp this appropriately with, you know, your company colors or however you would want that done. So, yeah. So, that is the Self-Scheduling Portal. That’s where you can see your current appointments and you have your history and where you can see your live map so that you’re able to see your technician. And the important thing is that this works on computers, laptops, tablets, phones, anything. So, any device that they would get an email on, you’ll be able to actually click in, view that live map and, you know, make for a more positive customer service story. And I’ll hand it back to you, Ingrid.
Ingrid: Thanks, Mark. Okay. I’m just gonna reshare my screen. Let me know. Can you see it?
Mark: You bet.
Ingrid: Perfect. Thank you. So, now we’re going to move into the mobile app enhancements. So, Microsoft has made usability enhancements on mobile apps. So, frontline workers have a more friendly user experience and make it easier to edit information and reducing the number of tops it takes, basically, for common tasks. Mark, we’ll review the mobile forms with you on the next slide in more detail. However, I’ll give you a brief functionality overview. So, they’ve given the ability to add three custom fields to the booking calendar so that you can see more. They’ve allowed for extending multi-line textbox. They’ve streamlined the date and time input controls to fit in with the patterns that your phone operating system uses so that you don’t have to relearn different input patterns. And they’ve made it easier to complete tasks with large touch-friendly icons. All right. Take it away, Mark.
Mark: Thanks, Ingrid. Yeah. So, on the first picture on this slide here, you can actually see that we’ve added some extra fields. A common request that we had when deploying the mobile solution for Field Services was that there wasn’t enough information on the main bookings calendar that technicians needed to jump in and out of appointments to be able to see small pieces of information that were required. Microsoft had listened and they’ve now given us the ability to customize this booking block by adding additional three custom fields as well as being able to manipulate the other fields on a booking block as well. So, I actually added the work order number and the estimated arrival to my booking block just because that would be information that’s important to a technician for me.
On the next slide, we actually have comments, multiline text box. And one of the things that we…One of the issues we used to have was that when you add a multiline text box to a form, you can specify how big you visually want it to be on the form, but behind the scenes, the data that you can add to it is usually about 2,000 characters. So, in this scenario, the out-of-the-box mobile client actually had a two-high, like, a two-line high textbox, which was great. But if you added more than two lines worth of information, you wouldn’t see that the rest of the information was actually in that box unless you actually clicked into the box and moved your cursor down.
So, having information that’s off the screen and that you wouldn’t even know was there unless you went to go check isn’t really a great look on a mobile client. Microsoft listened and now what they’ve done is they’ve actually made it so that the multi-line text boxes are elastic. So, if you add 10 lines worth of information, now that box will be a full 10 lines and there won’t be any information that’s hidden just because the field is only set to say two lines high. Now, the web version of CE has been doing this for a long time. So, while this is an enhancement on the mobile client, it is just another effort for Microsoft to align the mobile client and the web client. And eventually, they want those to look and operate as similarly as possible just from an intuitive standpoint. And this was another area where not only did they improve the mobile and give them another tool with which to put information into the mobile for their technicians, but now it actually works the way it should. And the intuitive way that it works on the web client. So, is this a big change? No, but it makes it infinitely more usable knowing that there isn’t any information that you’re not seeing.
And the third tab is now there’s a three dots on any booking. And when you click those, you actually get a very thick, thumb-friendly context menu. So, this is where you’re able to, you know, save, create a new record, schedule a follow-up. Also, if you want to record any audio. So, if you wanted to put, you know, an audio note against this booking, that would be available to anyone on the dispatch side, anyone on the management side, or anybody that would have access to that booking just like you could also save a PDF, a Word Doc, a picture, really any kind of multimedia information. And like I said, they’ve made it very friendly to those of us with big thumbs. But as you can see in the first slide, they’ve also added a bottom chim to the booking calendar so that these options and the most common options that you would have at those points are available and spaced out well or for mobile technicians on the right.
And I believe the next slide is the customer server portal settings. So, we wanted to show you these slides for two reasons. One, we wanted to show you kind of that the deployment for this Self-Scheduling Portal is very much wizard-driven and, you know, you click these toggles to basically turn on or turn off different pieces of it. So, when you launch this Self-Scheduling Portal, you don’t have to turn on everything at once. You can actually turn on just the pieces you want or as part of a phased implementation, just kind of the pieces that you’re ready for. So, the top three toggles here actually turn on or turn off the various levels of functionality inside of the Self-Scheduling Portal. So, if you wanted to offer the Self-Scheduling piece, but you weren’t ready for the Track My Technician, say, you know, your techs aren’t really, you know, updating on the road or as they’re going from location to location and you need a little bit of time to be able to get that sorted out, you don’t necessarily have to hold off on everything just to get that piece out. You can pick and choose.
Just as if you wanted to just push out the Track My Technician, you wouldn’t actually need the Self-Scheduling. If you had your dispatch creating all of your bookings and your techs rather with the mobile app, if you had this turned on, once the tech changed the status against that booking to traveling, then it would automatically send an email to the customer saying that, “Hey, your technician is on your way.” And you can click the link, and then you’d be able to actually look at the map without having any of the Self-Scheduling pieces. So, I think that’s really great that they did that because I could see, you know, customers on both sides, maybe not being 100% ready for Self-Scheduling, but ready for a portion. And that Track My Technician has been one of the most requested features that I’ve ever heard of. So, that was something that I was really interested in because I know a lot of my customers asked for it. So, that was one of the reasons why I really wanted to jump in.
Now, the second half of this slide or the bottom part, rather, are all of the different touchpoints that you can actually automate as part of the solution. So, if everything was turned on, what you would do is once the booking was confirmed, they would receive an email, they would receive a booking reminder within a specified number of days. They would get an email for a technician that’s traveling to their location. They would get a notification if the booking was canceled, rescheduled. They would also get one on completion and once the technician has arrived. So, those are all of the out-of-the-box messages that can be sent automatically from within the Field Service Self-Scheduling. You can turn on or off, obviously, any of the ones here that you feel are perhaps over-communicating just as you can customize the verbiage language within each of those messages.
Now, on the right-hand side here, we can actually see that the communication type right now it says Email. But part of the Self-Scheduling offering is that you can now communicate via email or text. So, if you prefer to communicate with your customers with SMS, for example, you’d actually be able to specify that here, and that would be the default measure through which most people will be contacted. So, that’s 100% preference. Text does seem to get a little bit more of a priority viewing. And it’s a little more of a nudge than an email would be, especially in something that is time-sensitive. So, again, you know, you have those options to be able to turn those on and off. You can specify who the specific contact you should be sending the email to. And this is actually…it shows the SMS connector and the email connector. So, these are the actual flows that come out of the box that drive all of these different messaging. So, you can actually go into that flow and, you know, update it so that it matches your company, your verbiage, your wording, however you want that stuff to go. And yeah, so that’s kind of the customer portal config. You can turn on or off whatever you don’t want, what channels you want for communication, and how you wanna communicate that to your customers.
Ingrid: Thanks, Mark. So, we’ve covered the Self-Service Scheduling portal and the portal settings as well just now, as well as the mobile enhancements brought out in Wave 2. Melissa, do we want to move on to the question and answer portion?
Melissa: Sure, yeah. We’ve had a few questions come in, so I can read those out for you guys. The first question is, how complicated is it to set up the Field Service Portal?
Mark: That’s a good one. I can take that. You know what? It’s actually quite easy. It’s not a custom add-on or anything. It uses the dynamics portals functionality. So, it was a wizard to create. And, you know, basically, there were checkboxes and booleans just to set for what information you wanted to turn on. So, again, that is doing it in its kind of default form. If I were going to push out a Self-Scheduling Portal for my business, I’d wanna have my logo on there, my colors, you know, updated to all of my wording. And all of those customization steps, you know, might take a little bit of work, but getting the actual portal up and running was pretty straightforward and it wasn’t a technical exercise.
Melissa: Okay, great. Second question is, is the confirmation email for the booking already configured?
Ingrid: I’ll take that, Melissa. So, you would set up your email confirmation the same way as you would anywhere else in D365 CE. So, you would wanna determine what you wanna say in your email, of course, and then configure your template. Once your email template is set up, he would do workflow to kick off whenever the user would hit the Submit button on the booking. You’ll wanna include the date and time of the appointment, of course, in the email, and possibly set up reminders and confirmation messages as it gets closer to the date. It’ll reduce, you know, missed appointments the customer forgets. That often happens. The customer will forget about something that’s coming up. And as Mark said a little while ago, you have the option for SMS text messaging. So, best practice would be to incorporate logic so you aren’t overusing. We’re using messages. And I have recent experience with that personally.
A couple of weeks ago, I had some furniture delivered after about a 12-week wait. They called me to get a date, which I confirmed at the time. The day before the actual delivery, I received an automated message asking me to confirm the date and time. And okay. So, I pressed one to confirm. And then about an hour later, I received a text message asking me to confirm again. So, I hit C, text them back. And nothing happened. So, I didn’t know if they got that or what, but I did confirm. I felt like I confirmed three times at that point. Then a half an hour later I got an email and it says, “Can you confirm?” So, at this point, I was a little bit exasperated and kind of worried that, “Okay. They’re not getting my confirmation. Are they going to show up? I may have to call them, right?” So, anyway, when I emailed, I clicked on the link, and the message says, “You’ve already confirmed.” So, that was a little bit overkill of having to confirm multiple times. So, the bottom line, don’t do that. Pick a method to start. If they confirm the first time, then you stop your workflow. Don’t send any other messages. That would be the best way to handle that once the confirmation is made.
Melissa: Thanks, Ingrid. Okay. The next question here is, if you were looking to see where your technician is, can you see the last place they were at?
Mark: Good question. I can take that one. No, you can’t. Every person’s portal is basically restricted down to only information for that specific set of accounts or contacts. So, even if the technician had set multiple bookings to traveling, for example, so that there were multiple bookings, that would be able to see a live map based on where he is or they are. It wouldn’t work that way because each person’s Self-Scheduling Portal only sees things that are already locked down to themselves. So, they wouldn’t see any of the other appointments even if they were scheduled, traveling, or complete. So, you would only see it, your appointments. And even then you will only be able to see that map when the technician has set that status to traveling. Once the appointment has been completed, they would set the status to complete and that would drop off and it would actually move the appointment from the active appointments into the past appointments. I hope that answers your question.
Melissa: Great. Looks like we’ve got one more question. And we’ve got time to just get this one in before we close down. So, last one. Are you able to add your own fields to Self-Service Portal?
Mark: Great question. I can take that one. You bet. The format that we looked at today was the out-of-the-box deployment for the Self-Scheduling Portal. But you would be able to add any of your own snippets, your own coloring, your own logos, your own fields. And you’d be able to incorporate this into any of your base website or anything like that. So, absolutely, you can customize it. One note is that it…because this is a web page and it treats it more as a resource that you wouldn’t customize it the same way that you would customize CE, you would use the portal’s customization to be able to do it, which is a little bit different than the CE customizer. So, that might take a little bit of learning, but, you know, it’s very similar and, you know, the main point is that you do have the ability to be able to customize it. You might just have to learn how.
Melissa: Okay. Great. Thanks, Mark. Looks like it’s time to end this. So, thank you so much, Ingrid and Mark, for your time today. And thanks for everyone for joining us. And we hope everyone has a great rest of your day.
Ingrid: Thanks, everyone.
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