Optimize Salesforce Communities for Field Service Lightning to Meet Business Objectives

Published on
April 17, 2020

Communities bring it all together. They can be leveraged to complete the circle between CRM and FSL functions. Salesforce Field Service Lightning activities are carried out with the integration of partners, customers, contractors, and field technicians all in one place. Communities can also reduce some of the costs associated with field technician licensing.

What is FSL?

The Salesforce Field Service Lightning is a mobile app solution developed for field personnel. This offline-friendly application enables users to update work orders, track parts, obtain customer signatures, and connect with dispatchers from their mobile devices.

Salesforce communities can be particularly useful in bringing customers and partners together, be it Sales Cloud or Service Cloud. The process of engaging with customers and highlighting its features is now easier with the introduction of FSL in communities.

This is an advantage for field service providers given the critical and growing importance that community has in the service cloud cycle. Let's start out by considering the stakeholders who benefit from using FSL in communities.

Customers and Partners

End-users generate service-related queries seeking assistance from field technicians to resolve their problems. A dispatcher then schedules a service appointment with an assigned technician. Then the technician completes the procedure to complete the job.

While this is a simple and straightforward process, what it lacks is a critical element that most cloud businesses want to achieve: customer interaction.

Where Is The Customer In This Process?

Does the role the customer plays stop with raising a service issue? No. This is where the community comes into play. The customers or partners are configured as community users with the service appointment details shared.

This allows the customer to receive updates and follow-up information such as visit time and who to expect. This leads to better customer satisfaction.

This also allows the work order to be shared to ensure that the customer is aware of the job details, such as products consumed, service reports, skill level involved, etc.


Most field service businesses hire contractors rather than full-time employees. Giving contractors complete Salesforce and FSL licenses can be expensive. Communities that provide the necessary information to contractors are more cost-effective than granting Salesforce licenses.

There are two ways a contractor can be set up depending on the business. A contractor can be a community user and also act as a contract manager. Contractors can also manage all work order assignments in a separate system.

The Contractor as a Manager

This type of setup allows all managers and technicians of the contract access to the Salesforce system. This provides the means to receive, track and update the service appointments using the Salesforce system.

  • The contract manager can be a community user.
  • Contractor technicians are set up as service resources in Field Service Lightning.
  • The internal dispatcher assigns the work order to the contractor manager.
  • The contractor manager uses the "book appointment" function on the work order to delegate appointments to the technicians.
  • The contractor technician uses the field service mobile application to view and update service appointments once the work is completed.

A complete platform is made available to the contractor and his technicians to execute the field service efficiently. A single system scenario allows complete control over contractor work and for the purpose of transparency.

The Contractor as a Technician

This setup allows the contractor to track and manage contractor technicians. This may be a cause for alarm to potential new Salesforce Field Service Lightning customers, but it's a great way to reduce costs when the contractor has a system to track technicians and work orders. With FSL, mobile licenses are not needed, instead, contractor technicians need a community user license for the contractor.

  • The contract manager can be a community user and a technician
  • Contractor technicians are managed in a separate system by the contractor
  • The internal dispatcher will assign the service appointment to the contractor manager
  • The contractor manager takes ownership of the work order and appointment
  • The contractor manager updates service appointments when work is completed

The downside of this setup is that you rely on the contractor to do your field activities. However, this saves you the expense of field service mobile licenses.

Field Technicians

Technicians are an inseparable part of your field service activities. All the technicians must be set up in the Salesforce community and should be assigned a technician license, which costs $150 per user, per month. Now if you're a small business or have part-time technicians, then the license costs will be too high to run a sustainable field service operation.

A solution is to utilize communities that cost around $5 per user, per month with the "customer community license."

Wondering what Salesforce communities allow you to achieve with such a low-cost license in field service?

With the above license, Salesforce allows access to the service appointment and work order data. You would need to consult with your administrator on how to set this up in your community and activate technicians with respective community licenses.

Although the technician will not have access to the fancy field service mobile application, they can still complete the work at a fraction of the cost to your field service operation. This includes viewing their service appointments, work orders, and updating the status once work is completed.

Salesforce communities are an excellent platform for field services in the same way it is for sales and service cloud applications. The key feature is the ability to assess operational challenges in the business and determine how the feature can be optimized to meet them. It extends the features of Salesforce Field Service Lightning while also saving money by providing alternatives to the licensing costs.

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