Welcome to Part 2 of our Winter 17 write-up. Our first part focused on Sales Cloud, Force.com and the new Lightning Experience features for Sales Cloud. This part focuses entirely on Service Cloud. This is a massive release for Service Cloud and includes the beginning of the Service Cloud migration to Lightning Experience. At the end we’ll talk about Lightning Experience in general, but please keep an eye out on the features that are only available within LEX. Overall though, a monster release for Service Cloud, so let’s get at it!
- Omni-Channel Supervisor Page – Huge new feature. This has been in Pilot for what seems like forever, and is now in beta which means it’s now available for anyone to grab. The Omni-Channel Supervisor page is the next big step in the Omni-Channel improvements and allows you to see real-time information about all of your Omni-Channel agents, queues and work. For those of you that use Live Agent, this is similar to the Live Agent Supervisor page – except on steroids. A ton of good stuff here. First, there are now three different views that all display real time information. Let’s start with the Agents Summary.
- Omni Channel for Live Agent – As if the above wasn’t big enough for Omni-Channel, with Winter 17 Live Agent is now supported through Omni-Channel in a new beta feature. It was always a little ironic that we had this since Omni-Channel was built on a lot of the same objects and approach that Live Agent had, but with Winter 17 this can go away. Basically, instead of using Skills to route the Chat, you’d select Omni. So, essentially you can do this on a button by button basis. By selecting Omni, the Chat requests would go to agents right along side any other requests you have routing through Omni-Channel. In the picture below you can see how it’s the single Omni-Channel tray item, but the agent can accept Email or Chat requests in this example. Obviously any chat requests coming through Omni-Channel are available to be seen in the Omni-Channel Supervisor page above. There are some limitations that are worth noting and may prevent you from using this if you’re a heavy Live Agent users. First, if you roll this out in a mixed setting – where some buttons are Omni and others are classic Live Agent – you can’t transfer chats between those buttons. Second, direct-to-agent routing and chat conferencing does not work for chats that are using an Omni button. Finally, from the above Omni-Channel Supervisor page, you can’t use the whisper capability. Definitely keep these in mind before swapping over your entire Live Agent setup and getting surprised.
- Heywire Acquisition – This isn’t a Winter 17 feature but Salesforce acquired Heywire a couple of weeks ago and this is definitely related to Omni-Channel. Heywire created the LiveText Agent, which allows for service organizations to introduce a new channel to their offerings – the ability to take Cases and requests via SMS text messaging. The UI for the agent looks a lot like Live Agent does where you’re having a chat conversation, but to the end-user, they’re able to use their phone and text back and forth instead of having to initiate a chat session. What’s great here is Heywire does this with your already existing support phone numbers, so you don’t need to get a different number to turn this on. Lots of huge benefits here, especially if you’re servicing a younger customer base. No word yet on how Salesforce will integrate this, but it’s a safe bet this will be run through Omni-Channel when they do. Prior to the acquisition we had worked with Heywire to implement this so we have first hand experience and it’s a great tool. Awesome acquisition by Salesforce.
- Field Service Updates – A bunch of new enhancements to Field Service Lightning. Field Service Lightning was launched in Summer 16 and it’s clear with the amount of updates that this is going to be a major focus for Salesforce. If you have a team of field agents, it’s time to check out this new offering from Salesforce.
- Service Resources – Now there is a centralized place to manage your Service Resources and all of their attributes. From the Service Resources tab you can create a Resource and then add attributes such as their Territories and Skills from related lists. In addition you can see related lists for Service Appointments and Absences. Finally, if this is a contractor resource, you can define their Capacity as well.
- Service Appointments – Service Appointments can now be created from the Service Appointments tab and can be associated with different types of parent records including Work Orders, Assets, Accounts and Opportunities. These records will contain information like the summary and description of the appointment, length of the appointment, the date of the appointment as well as the arrival window that you have and finally the status of the appointment. These Service Appointment records are also able to be exposed to the Community. (we’ll cover more of that in part 3)
- Service Territories – Field Service Lightning now has a dedicated object for Service Territories and the ability to create hierarchies within these Territories. Once created, you can associate members to the Territory which will allow for dispatching to easily ensure they are assigned to work nearby.
- Service Skills – Skills have been expanded to allow you to track a skill level to the Resource being assigned a Skill. Now you can assign these Skills to your Resources, but also rate how qualified they are with that Skill. Maybe a beginner has a Skill rating of 10 and an advanced Resource has a 75 or above. Combined with this, on the Work Order you can now specify what Skill is required and the Skill level for that work. This will allow Dispatchers to easily find the right Resource and ensure they have the necessary skills for the job at hand.
- Operating Hours – You can now assign different Operating Hours to Service Territories, Members of the Service Territory and even Accounts within salesforce to show what hours they can be assigned work for. Especially if a Territory has shifts within it, now you can see which shifts members work and can make sure they are dispatched to jobs that match their working hours. On the Account side, this is a terrific new feature as you can now track what time your customer’s allow you to come onsite to do work. Maybe you have a customer that only let’s you come in after their shift has ended and they are closed for the day. Now you can track that and line up your resources to your customer’s requirements. Very important new feature.
- Improved Work Orders – A bunch of new updates to the Work Order functionality itself. First, is the introduction of Work Types. Basically this is a re-usable list of tasks / work that you can select from. So instead of having to constantly put in the information for a repeatable task, you can create a Work Type and just select that. Big time saver for the Service and Dispatch team. As I mentioned above, Work Orders can now have Required Skills associated to them. In addition to that, you can also specify how long the Work Order and Work Order Lines should take with new Duration and Duration Type fields. Next, you can even apply Suggested Articles to the Work Order. So if there are guides or FAQs that will help your Field Agent with a job, add them as Suggested Articles. The Work Order Status field has been updated as well to be more granular. Scheduled and Assigned are no longer options – they were too broad. Now, you have New, In Progress, On Hold, Completed, Cannot Complete, Cancelled, and Closed as Status options. Similar to Cases, there is now a “Is Closed” field for reporting based on these Statuses.
In addition to all of this there are some quick changes as well. There is now a beta to open up Criteria Based Sharing Rules for Work Orders. In addition the Hierarchy limits have been bumped up so now a Work Order can have up to 10,000 levels in the Hierarchy which is up from 2,000. There’s now no limits in the levels, where before it was limited to 50. This applies to Work Order Line Hierarchies as well. Finally, Work Orders are now available in Professional Edition. Check out the new Work Orders with all of these changes below.
- Geocoding Addresses – Another great new feature. When adding a street address on a Field Service record, the record will automatically be stamped with the longitude and latitude (as well as the accuracy of the location). Right now this data is only available via the API, so you can build a custom component to get at it and display it.
- Reporting – A ton of new objects have been created with Winter 17, and with these come a slew of new report types. I won’t go into the full list, but needless to say you can report away on all of these new objects as well as run reports with their associations to non-Field objects like Accounts, Assets, Cases and Entitlements.
- Case Feed Improvements – There are a couple of Case Feed improvements in Winter 17. First, is the ability to change the Owner of a Case right from the feed. Previously you needed to do this from the detail page. Next, is a quick improvement to viewing Contact data. Now, right from the feed you can see the Case Contact’s Name, Phone, Mobile and Email address in a side component. These fields need to be on the detail layout to appear here. Please note, this feature only works with Lightning Experience (please see our comments on Lightning Experience at the end). Finally there are some updates to the Email editor within Case Feed. What’s interesting is, we mentioned some good new stuff for the Enhanced Email for LEX in Sales Cloud, but it doesn’t mention it here. In particular the ability to Forward emails which is a really big need in Service Cloud. Hoping this is just a miss in the release notes. Otherwise, the CC and BCC sections now are collapsible which will save some real estate and Case Feed gets a new “From” picklist. Especially for Service Clouds with lots of email-to-case addresses, this is a nice addition. Finally, from the email side, you now have a nice display of all of the attachments within the email. You can now very easily see these right from the Case Feed. Another nice productivity improvement. Please note though, these also only are available if you’re using LEX. The last Case Feed change is the introduction of Social Actions into Case Feed. Again, this is only available with LEX, but you can like, unlike, Follow and view the source of a Social site directly from Case Feed. Unfortunately, to actually reply using Social Service you need to be in Classic and not LEX (in my mind, that makes this a pretty tough feature to use).
- Open CTI for Lightning Experience – The Open CTI APIs are now available for use within Lightning Experience. This means there are now two Open CTI APIs – one that works in Classic and one that works for LEX. This allows vendors to start building Lightning Components for their CTI connectors. Definitely something to consider if you’re thinking of moving to LEX. If you have a CTI connector it may take time for your vendors to update their connectors to the new API. Might be worth having that conversation with them now to find out what their roadmap is. Below is a look at the demo adapter within LEX.
- Transcript Page Layouts – An interesting new update for Live Agent here. Basically you can now create different Page Layouts based on the state of the Chat. It’s almost like the state is acting as a Record Type. This will allow you to create a different layout for Completed, In Process and Waiting states. Could be handy.
- Sidebar for Live Agent Attachments – Previously to link a Chat Transcript to a record there was a little paperclip on the chat component of the console. Now, there is a sidebar component where your agents can easily lookup a record to assign the Transcript to. From here you can also create new records if needed – without ever losing the view of chat dialogue itself. This won’t interfere with the normal associating of transcripts to a Case popped by Live Agent.
- Change Owner with Macros – Macros get a quick little update in that now you can Change Owners directly from a Macro. Definitely something that will be used heavily.
- Knowledge Updates – Two quick updates to Knowledge in Winter 17. First, Knowledge is now available for those of you on Professional Edition. Most Service Cloud customers are on Enterprise or above, but this is a nice new feature for Professional customers. In addition to this, you can now hit the Data Categories and the Article List associated to those Categories with the REST API. This is extremely handy especially for public knowledge bases.
- Entitlement Process Updates – A nice update for a feature that was always a bit of a pain. Once you’re live on Entitlements, just from a practical sense, it’s tough to make updates to your Entitlements as you’ll always have Cases or Work Orders in mid-stream. Now, you can create a new version of an Entitlement all of these records will be updated if you decide to by using an Update Rule. Very handy. In addition to this, a quick bump up on the Hierarchy limits for Entitlements. Now you can go up to 10,000 levels versus the 2,000 previously. (I really feel bad for the admin that needs this new feature…)
- Advanced Assets Hierarchy Limits – Speaking of hierarchy bump-up and super complex instances, Assets also had their hierarchy limits increased. Now you can have unlimited levels to the hierarchy and up to 10,000 child assets within the hierarchy. This is a huge jump as before you could only have 50 levels within the hierarchy and 2,000 child assets.
- Hover Controls for the Console – Not a big release for Service Console. Just one quick update that gives you a preference option for allowing Hovers instead of them being on for everyone. I personally love the hovers for productivity reasons, but if you don’t like them, now you can shut them off.
- Instagram in Social Service – Instagram is exploding and now you can create Cases and respond to your mentions with Social Service. From your Social Hub you just need to create a rule for the #hashtag listening for your brand and you’ll receive these posts as you’re mentioned.
- Features being Retired – A couple of Service Cloud features had their retirement announced with Winter 17. First up is Chatter Answers which will be shut down in Winter 18. Chatter Answers has been replaced by Chatter Questions. This looks like a pretty real retirement though in that as of Winter 18, no new Posts, Answers, or Comments to Chatter Answers will be allowed and it looks like users won’t even be able to view data currently in there. If you’re a current user of Chatter Answers, you have a year to migrate that over to Chatter Questions. I’d get on that sooner than later. Another feature being retired is the LinkedIn pilot for Social Service. This looks like it’s effective immediately. Might be the beginning of the end for the Salesforce and Microsoft love-fest.
- Web-to-Case Endpoint Changes – I forgot to mention this on the Sales side as it impacts Web-to-Lead as well, but Salesforce recently emailed all customers about a change to the endpoint URL for Web-to-Case. Basically, to improve performance, Salesforce has made a change to these endpoints and introduced a new URL. What this means is, if you are using Web-to-Case (or Web-to-Lead) you need to update your forms by the Summer 17 release. This is a very easy change and you can do it already, but your forms will stop working if you don’t. Just follow these instructions to make the change, and I’d do it sooner than later.
One final thing to note is that Winter 17 is the first time we’re seeing Lightning Experience updates specific to Service Cloud. Similar to how Lightning Experience was rolled out for Sales Cloud, this is going to take more than one release before all of the Service Cloud functionality is supported in Lightning Experience. If you have a very simple Service Cloud setup just using basic Case Management, it’s worth looking at Lightning Experience now and seeing if you can make the cut-over. However, if you’re a multi-channel Service Cloud user and using a lot of the features, Winter 17 is not the time to move over. Let’s see what comes out in Spring 17 and then start the planning.
Well, that’s it for the new features. As I mentioned, this is a huge release for Service Cloud, but Winter 17 doesn’t stop here. It’s potentially even bigger for Communities which we will be covering in Part 3!