Field Service for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 contains the ability to configure time groups, these are very useful if you schedule appointments in terms of defined time slots. For example: You may only book two appointments per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This post will describe how to implement this feature in Field Service.
Defining Time Groups
First of all, let’s look at how to define a time group then in a second I will explain how this is used. Under CRM settings, navigate to Field Service Administration and settings. Then select the time groups option.
In my example I will create a time group for a company that offers just three slots to customers each day, morning, afternoon and evening. To do this first click “New” to create a new time group.
|Name||This is simply a text field describing the time group, it will be seen on the work order when selecting the appropriate time groups|
|Display Top x results||This setting defines how the scheduling assistant will offer options. In my example I’ve set this field to 1. (A common selection.) This means only one option for each timeslot will be presented. The logic here is to present the minimum number of options to the scheduler to help make their task simpler.|
|Hide schedule Time||This option is about making things simpler for the scheduler by reducing the amount of information shown. By default, in addition to the time groups, the scheduler will see the actual start and end time. To simply the screen display it is possible to use this option to hide these columns.|
Having saved the new time group the next step is to add the definition of the time slots. An example of a morning time slot is shown below, hopefully you can see that I have set the start time to 9am and the end time to 12 noon.
After adding all of my required timeslots, my time group looked like this ….
You may notice that in the detail form you enter just a time but this becomes a date/time field in the display above. This just reflects the way CRM / Field Service hold these fields. It does not represent a problem!
Adding Time Group to a Work Order
Having created your time group(s) you can define which time group should be applied to each work order. You can see below that in the preferences section on my work order I have selected the time group I have just created.
Using Time Groups in the Schedule Assistant
When I run the scheduling assistant instead of seeing multiple start times the options are grouped by my time groups. 9am (Morning), 1pm (Afternoon) and 6pm (Evening.)
Also notice that there is only one suggestion for each time slot. If two or more resources are free for the appointment the one with the shortest travel time will be suggested.
Hopefully you will also notice that the start and end time columns have not been shown.
Once time groups have been configured it becomes very easy for the scheduler to group the results by date or time slot. Making it easy to offer various options to the customer. For example: If the customer only wanted an evening appointment, grouping by timeslot start would allow the operator to quickly suggest the possible dates.
Below you can see that once the schedule is grouped by start time it becomes really easy to offer an appointment on the 8th, 9th or 10th.
I think some thought on how to configure time groups will help making the scheduling assistant easier / quicker to use and therefore improve customer service.
Hopefully you will have found this post useful.
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