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Geofencing in FSL: why you should partner with an expert before starting


Salesforce® Field Service Lightning (FSL) is an excellent choice if your company relies on a mobilized workforce to fulfill customer needs. FSL is a platform that helps to optimize your staff productivity and ensure your customers receive a level of service that exceeds their expectations.

This article reviews geofencing or geolocation—a capability within FSL. We discuss the definition of geofencing, as well as how and when you should expect to phase it into your FSL implementation.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing enables you to set up virtual perimeters around predefined areas and then create rules for these “fenced” locations. It uses a blend of the Global Positioning System (GPS), cellular data, and Wi-Fi signals.

Geofencing adds value to your business in many ways. It enables your customers to see how far technicians are from their location and can also automatically let customers know about any delay. Use geofencing to automate processes like assigning work to technicians based on their location. Geofencing trigger operational activities, like a stock center getting parts when a technician is within a certain distance. It also triggers post-event actions, such as closing tickets after a techician leaves the location.

While geofencing is a great enhancement, it is not a catch-all panacea. You should consider several factors before implementing geofencing.

Geofencing requires planning before implementation

Using geofencing at the beginning of your FSL project is certainly an option, but it might not be the best idea. To get the most out of geofencing, you should first consider all factors. Far too often, companies skip the planning step entirely, and as a result, encounter problems along the way.

Things to consider before you start geofencing

We advise our clients to consider a few things before implementing geofencing. First of all, geolocation is not as accurate as most people think. The accuracy of the pinpointed location is usually within 10 meters. This is why when you use a ride-sharing app to call for a car, your driver might sometimes think you are at Location A when you are actually standing one block away at Location B. This adds a layer of complexity when using geolocation to connect your field workers with your customers.

As another example, your technician has an appointment at House A and another appointment at House B, which is 10 meters away. When they pull into the driveway, it is difficult for geolocation technology to determine exactly which appointment is about to begin. One solution to this problem might be to set up time dependencies in your system, creating limitations based on appointment start and end times. Doing this is helpful in theory, but introduces another layer of complexity if your technician finishes their appointment early. Now, they can move on to the next job at House C, ahead of schedule for the day. In this case, you need a solution that allows technicians to manually update appointment times and notify customers of any changes to their scheduled appointment.

What about offline technicians? Geofencing enables you to send automatic notifications to your customer when their technician is within five meters of their house. For companies whose technicians frequently work outside of a service network, or are otherwise offline, this particular feature might not add much value. Mobile FSL gives you the capability to update work orders while offline and synchronize completed work when a connection is available. However, while the technician is offline, location information isn’t updated in real time, so your customers miss any notifications that rely on geolocation. Depending on how often your technicians have online access, this might or might not be a worthwhile use of geofencing for your business.

These are just a few of the things you should consider before using geofencing. We recommend working with an experienced implementation partner to cover all of your bases and correctly set up your geofencing capabilities.

Rackspace has certified FSL specialists

Rackspace is a member of the FSL advisory board and offers a team of certified FSL specialists. We are knowledgeable about all product changes, as well as how to help you get the most out of FSL. If you are considering geofencing, we can help you map out (pun intended) the best way to accomplish this.

The most important part of any implementation is setting realistic expectations and considering all factors ahead of time. We work with you to do all the necessary planning and prepping and to ensure you have the right data and time information in place to begin effectively using geofencing.

We have helped many clients implement and integrate FSL, and we would love to work with you. Ready to create a plan that enables your business to successfully employ geofencing within FSL? Contact Rackspace today to see how we can help you.

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Kortney Cervantes

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