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Salesforce Announces New Innovations for Field Service Workers

Salesforce Announces New Innovations for Field Service Workers

The News: Salesforce announced on August 24 several new AI-powered field service innovations focused on streamlining field service operations and creating new revenue opportunities, while also providing end customers with more visibility into their appointments. Salesforce Field Service incorporates AI innovations powered by Einstein GPT, while also leveraging other advanced technology, such as Apple’s ARKit, to provide augmented reality (AR) functions.

You can read the original release on the Salesforce website, with a rundown of the included features, along with comments from Salesforce executives and customers.

Salesforce Announces New Innovations for Field Service Workers

Analyst Take: Salesforce announced several AI-powered field service innovations that are designed to streamline field operations, increase productivity, and drive revenue, while also improving end-customers’ experiences. The capabilities address the needs of mobile and field service workers, who are often tasked with the challenge of performing complex tasks, while also interacting directly with customers, often without direct support or easy access to necessary information.

AI-Powered Field Service Tools Designed to Ensure Workers Have the Required Resources

Salesforce announced several productivity-focused tools that are designed to improve field service worker productivity, by making sure the information they need is served to them, rather than forcing them to search through knowledge bases or calling back to the dispatch office.

  • External Knowledge Search answers leverages generative AI to provide customer, asset, and service history data prior to job starts, and work summarization tools and onsite search answers, grounded in a trusted knowledge base, let workers reduce the amount of administrative work they need to conduct before, during, and after a job has been completed.
  • Salesforce also announced the inclusion of AR capabilities with Apple’s ARKit, which will help workers measure, scan a room, and enable barcode scanning to speed up accurate data capture onsite.
  • The company’s mobile quoting and document builder helps companies quickly create documents like invoices, reducing the amount of manual work required, and potentially reducing errors.
  • Salesforce Pay Now provides payment capabilities within the mobile app, empowering frontline workers to collect payment and generate upsell opportunities from one place, on the digital channels they are already using.

These productivity tools are all designed to let frontline and field service workers focus on the core task at hand, rather than the repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks that are challenging to handle when using smaller, mobile field devices. By freeing up workers, job throughput can increase, along with worker job satisfaction, a key element in retaining workers.

Increasing Workforce Efficiencies With AI-Powered Insights

Salesforce also announced the incorporation of AI-power insights on the back end, which are designed to provide a unified, single source of truth for pertinent customer, interaction, and job information. Proactive service with Data Cloud combines a unified view of customers and their assets, including customer purchase details, service history, and IoT signals on machine health, in real time and at scale. This unified data allows Salesforce Einstein to automatically schedule field service appointments and job duration, while identifying the necessary parts or tools needed and the technician with the right skill sets for the job.

Meanwhile, Work Capacity Management is an AI-powered tool that assesses field service capacity and lets companies reserve capacity for work they want to prioritize, including new installations, high-value customers, or unexpected service needs to meet customer demand.

Customer Self-Service Tool Ensures Greater Customer Visibility

One key customer-focused feature being announced is the Appointment Assistant, which is currently available across multiple Salesforce products like Einstein Bots, and within all messaging channels, including SMS, online chat, and Apple Messages for Business. This enables customers to book and reschedule appointments, and check when their field service worker or technician is en route, reducing call volume and no-shows.

A key driver of customer experience is providing transparency to service calls. By letting customers track when their field service worker is on the way, it provides a greater level of assurance that the company is being mindful and respectful of their time. Further, the support of several messaging channels is a great example of being mindful of the principle of “meeting the customer where they are,” as opposed to making them use a channel that is convenient for the company.

Focus on Mobile and Service Workers Is Overdue

Field service and mobile workers are often forgotten, when it comes to providing them with the tools they need to improve efficiency or effectiveness. Leveraging AI to serve them the required information to handle their jobs, as well as interact with customers in the field, likely will help improve efficiency and increase worker satisfaction.

The question, of course, is whether service organizations will make the investment to offer these tools to their workers, given the additional cost of deploying generative AI. It is likely that as services firms are rolled up to gain efficiencies, they may conduct pilot implementations, but these may not expand into a full rollout unless key metrics, such as a reduction in job completion times, or increases in add-on revenues, are realized.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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