It's once again time for my top 5 features for the next Wave release

 Self-service scheduling for your customers

Will be released in April 2021 for Public Preview and July 2021 for End Users, Makers & Administrators.

Business value

Improve your customers' scheduling experiences by providing flexibility to schedule on their own time directly from their devices. This will provide your customers with a more personalized experience, reducing scheduling errors and rescheduling events. Reduce your organization's back-office costs by reducing scheduling call volume, freeing up resources to focus on customer service.

Feature details

This new experience will be enabled with the following key features:

  • Self-schedule from any device with a responsive customer interface.
  • Suggest available time slots based on your resource availability.
  • Collect important pre-service visit customer information as part of the scheduling request.
  • Fast solution deployment so you can quickly empower your customers.

Thoughts

When I think about functionality that completes a platform then this is it. The ability to self serv your own bookings as a customer is fantastic. Cant wait to see this rolled out in the Power Apps Portals as well.

 End Customer Engagement

Will be released to Public Preview in February 2021 and General Availability in April 2021 for End Users, Makers & Administrators.

Business value

Improve your customer experience by providing visibility into upcoming service visits. Automated service visit reminders will ensure customers are ready and available when the technician arrives, eliminating wasted trips due to customer unavailability. Real-time location tracking while the technician is en route helps your customers better plan their days around a service visit. Direct customer feedback following a service visit will drive improvements within your field service technician workforce.

Feature details

This business value will be delivered with the following capabilities:

  • Automated service schedule reminders and notifications of service time changes are sent to your customers via email and SMS.
  • On the day of service, send a notification informing your customer of the technician's estimated arrival time, with the ability to track the technician's progress to destination in real-time.
  • Collect feedback from your customers on their experience to drive improvement and growth within your field technician organization.

Thoughts

Tell your customers when you are going to be there by text or email :-) again these new features are knocking things out of the park. I think there will be a reliance on Twilio for SMS but this will save a lot of time on building each deployment.

  Enhancements to the embedded optimizer within schedule board

Will be released to  Early Access in February 2021 and General Availability in April 2021 for End Users, Makers & Administrators.

Business value

The embedded optimizer was released as a preview in October in the 2020 release wave 2. In this release, we will enhance it with new capabilities to improve dispatcher productivity, reducing the time it takes to perform their daily activities.

Feature details

This feature will increase schedulers’ productivity and reduce avoidable scheduling errors.

  • Create and manage different templates of scheduling rules as per the business priorities (scheduling objectives and constraints).
  • Dispatchers can work across multiple schedule board tabs simultaneously without having to wait for results to be rendered.

Thoughts

This is not a flashy look at me updated but what it does mean for a scheduler is that they can quickly get an overview of where there is spaces or problems on the schedule board.

 Knowledge management articles to enhance technician productivity

Will be released to  Early Access in February 2021 and General Availability in April 2021 for End Users, Makers & Administrators.

Business value

By embedding knowledge management into field service processes, technicians can reliably resolve work orders and install assets the first time. This increases customer satisfaction and reduces cost by avoiding follow-up visits.

Feature details

This new experience will be enabled with the following key features:

  • Author and link knowledge articles to work orders, enabling technicians to fix issues and install assets property the first time.
  • Leverage articles both online and offline through the new Field Service (Dynamics 365) mobile app.

Thoughts

This feels like a remote assist feature sneaked in which I am totally ok with. Download KB articles associated with a Work Order, maybe even multiple with an Incident Type.

  Technician location tracking and direct customer feedback

Will be available for Public Preview in February 2021 for End Users, Makers & Administrators. Then General Availability on April 2021

Business value

Improve your customer experience by providing visibility into upcoming service visits. Automated service visit reminders will ensure customers are ready and available when the technician arrives, eliminating wasted trips due to customer unavailability. Real-time location tracking while the technician is en route helps your customers better plan their days around a service visit. Direct customer feedback following a service visit will drive improvements within your field service technician workforce.

Feature details

This business value will be delivered with the following capabilities:

  • Automated service schedule reminders and notifications of service time changes are sent to your customers via email and SMS.
  • On the day of service, send a notification informing your customer of the technician's estimated arrival time, with the ability to track the technician's progress to destination in real-time.
  • Collect feedback from your customers on their experience to drive improvement and growth within your field technician organization.

Thoughts

Notifications can be good bad or indifferent if you are an internal resource. But for an end customer, these notifications help along the journey. This is a good way to keep them informed.

Full Release notes can be found here Microsoft Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 1 plan overview | Microsoft Docs