Geofencing in FSL: Why You Should Partner With an Expert Before Starting

If your company relies on a mobilized workforce to fulfill customer needs and you’ve decided to go with Salesforce Field Service Lightning (FSL), congrats on a great decision! FSL is a wonderful platform to optimize the productivity of all of your staff and make sure your customers receive a level of service that exceeds their expectations.

Today we’ll be talking about geofencing, or geolocation, which is a capability within FSL. Specifically, we’ll cover what geofencing is, and how—and when—you should expect to phase it in to your FSL implementation.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing allows you to set up virtual perimeters around pre-defined areas and then create rules around these “fenced” locations. Geofencing uses a blend of GPS, cellular data, and Wi-Fi signals to work. 

There are many ways in which geofencing can add value to your business. For example, geofencing allows your customers to see how far away technicians are; it can also automatically let customers know that there will be a time delay. You can leverage geofencing to automate processes, like assigning work to certain techs based on where they are located. Geofencing can also trigger operational activities, like a stock center getting parts ready for a tech once they’re within a certain distance; as well as post-event actions, like closing tickets once a tech leaves the location.

Geofencing is a great enhancement, but what it’s not is a catch-all panacea. Some factors need to be considered before you move ahead with geofencing in order for it to work correctly. 

Geofencing Requires Planning Before Implementation

It’s easy to think that as soon as you get FSL, you’d start using geofencing. After all, why wouldn’t you?

Well, the truth is, while using geofencing from the beginning of your FSL project is certainly an option, it may not be a great idea. In order to get the most out of geofencing, you’ll want to do some planning first to consider all of the factors. Far too often, companies skip the planning step entirely and end up with some problems along the way.

Things to Consider Before You Start Geofencing 

There are a few major points we advise our clients to consider as it relates to geofencing. First of all, geolocation is not as accurate as most people think. The accuracy of the pinpointed location usually falls within 10 meters; this is why sometimes when you call for a car on a ride-sharing app, your Lyft driver may think you’re 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.

For example, say your technician has an appointment at House A and his next appointment is at House B, but the houses are within 10 meters of each other. When he pulls into the driveway, it’s difficult for geolocation technology to determine exactly which appointment he’s arriving for. One solution to this may be to set up time dependencies within your system, setting limitations based on appointment start and end times. This is helpful in theory, but introduces another layer of complexity if your technician finishes his appointment at House B early. Now, he can move on to his next job at House C, ahead of schedule for the day — in this case, you will need a solution that allows technicians to manually update appointment times, and ensure customers are notified if their appointment will be beginning earlier or later than scheduled. 

Additionally, what about offline technicians? Geofencing allows you to send automatic notifications to your customer when their technician is within 5 meters of their house. For companies whose technicians frequently work outside of a service network, or are otherwise offline, this particular feature may not add much value. FSL mobile gives you the capability to update work orders while offline; and will sync all of the work completed when the worker gets back online. However, while a technician is offline, location information isn’t being updated in real-time so your customers will miss any notifications that rely on geolocation. Depending on how often your technicians have online access, this may or may not be a worthwhile use of geofencing for your business.

These are just a few of the things you’ll need to take into account when starting out with geofencing. In order to cover all of your bases and make sure you correctly set up geofencing capabilities, we recommend partnering with an experienced implementation partner.

RelationEdge Has Certified Field Service Lightning Specialists

RelationEdge offers a team of certified FSL specialists, and we’re also a member of the FSL Advisory Board. This means we’re up to date on all product changes and how you can get the most out of FSL. If you’re looking to enable 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 of the factors ahead of time. We will work with you to do all the necessary planning and prepping, and ensure you have the right data and time information in place to begin using geofencing effectively.

We’ve helped many clients implement and integrate FSL before, and we’d love to help you succeed. Ready to create a plan that enables your business to successfully employ geofencing within FSL? Contact RelationEdge today to see how we can help you