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Business Issue

I need to schedule my people and equipment resources to provide a service to a customer.

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Solution

One of the most underutilized areas in Dynamics CRM is its Service Scheduling functionality. Service Scheduling in Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps organizations track the service scheduling process including:

  • Managing different service types and what resources are needed to carry those out (Part 1 of 3)
  • Scheduling of those services (Part 2 of 3)
  • Reporting on scheduling levels, performance, customer satisfaction (Part 3 of 3)

In Part 1 we walked through the process of managing different service types, your resources and sites. This month we are going to look at how we schedule those resources to perform services.

Service Scheduling allows schedulers to be current and informed with calendar views that enable the scheduler to clearly view:

  • Weekly scheduled service activities
  • Monthly scheduled service activities
  • Daily scheduled service activities

The service calendar also saves schedulers time by providing current information about their unavailable days and times. Scheduling services in Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides the tools that help users organize and keep track of resources, resource schedules, time off, and company closures.

Scenario

Let’s look at a real life example of a dermatology office needing to schedule their services. This is a complex example that requires scheduling medical professionals who have different skill sets, work with specialized equipment and are located at different sites (clinics). For this scenario, the business must meet the following scheduling requirements:

  1. Various medical professionals have different skill sets, credentials, licenses. Not everyone can do all services.
  2. Employees work different shifts/times.
  3. Employees are working different sites.
  4. Specialized equipment is shared among the medical professionals.

Navigating the Service Calendar

The Service calendar helps users visualize the organization’s scheduling commitments and activities and create and update those commitments. You can see:

  1. Views that provide helpful way to look at the calendar. You can look at the calendar in daily, weekly and monthly views or by resource(s).
  2. Ability to view, edit and schedule items on the calendar.
  3. Ability to distinguish between various types of scheduled activities.


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Viewing Details for Resources, Appointments and Service Activities

Users can view the resources, appointments, and services activities for anyone in their organization. In the Type list, select Resource, and then in the View list, select the desired resource view.

 To find a specific resource, in the Look for box, enter the first few letters of a name to search for a particular resource. The linear calendar displays the resource’s schedule.

Users can double click on any service activity record to open and view the details.

Use the Calendar Pane to Change the Date Display

The Calendar pane appears on the right side of the calendar. To change the date, click a date in the Calendar control. Use the arrows on either side of the month to change the month displayed. You can also change the number of days that are displayed in the linear calendar by clicking any of the options of Today, Month, Week or Day.

 

Scheduling Service Activities

Users can either search for an open time using search criteria that at a minimum includes selecting a service, or users can define a more complex set of criteria. The service activity appears as a color block on the Services Calendar.

Scenario: Schedule a patient to see a doctor for a laser procedure at the Woodbury, MN location. They would like the first available time slot with no regard to which medical professional.

Click on Schedule button in the Service Calendar.

On the Schedule Service Activity form, you must enter the following information:

  • Customer – locate and select the patient
  • Service – locate and select the service you want to schedule. For this scenario we are choosing Laser.
  • Site – select the site in which the patient wants to be scheduled. In this case it’s Woodbury, MN.
  • Resources – don’t make any selection here as the patient doesn’t care which medical professional they see.
  • Duration – the default duration for this service will populate from when you set up the service. Don’t change this unless you want to schedule more time than the default duration of the service.
  • Click on Find Available Times. The next available times are displayed.
  • Under Available Times, select the time in which the patient would like.


The Schedule Service Activity form closes and CRM fills in the information from the selected time into the Service Activity form.

  1. On the Service Activity form, enter any additional information about the service activity.
  2. On the Details tab, you can select and locate a record in the Regarding box to link to this service activity. You can also set a Priority for the activity, and record a Category and Sub-Category.
  3. Click Save or Save and Close.

The service activity appears as a color block on the Service Calendar.

Service Activity Conflicts

During scheduling, an alert informs users if there is a potential conflict. You can choose to select another time, or book the service activity anyway. At any time, users can identify any service activities or appointments with conflicts by clicking Show Conflicts on the Actions toolbar on the Service Calendar.

Closing, Cancelling, or Rescheduling a Service Activity

If a service activity is completed, it can be closed. If the service activity is not completed, it can be cancelled. If the customer wants to reschedule the activity, users can search for a new timeslot.

When you are rescheduling a service activity, the flow is similar to scheduling.

  1. Locate and select the service activity to reschedule from the Service Calendar.
  2. On the Actions toolbar, click Schedule.
  3. On the Schedule Service Activity form, change information as needed.
  4. Click Find Available Times and again CRM returns a list of all the available time slots that meet the criteria on the form. If you don’t find a suitable time slot, change the criteria and try again.

When you are closing or cancelling a service activity:

  1. Locate and select the service activity to close or cancel from the Service Calendar.
  2. On the Service Calendar toolbar, select Change Status and a drop down will appear.
  3. Select the appropriate status of close or cancel.

Setting Service Activity Preferences

You can provide personalized customer service for customers by recording their preferences regarding services and service times. These preferences become the default criteria the next time that a service activity is scheduled for the customer and they are offered in the Form Assistant pane.

  1. Navigate to the account or contact in which you want to designate their preferences.
  2. On the Administration tab, under Service Preferences, select the customer’s preferred time and day for appointments, preferred service, facility/equipment or user.
  3. Save.

Summary

CRM Service Scheduling can help you track the service scheduling process. The Service Calendar saves schedulers time by providing current information about their available days/times, resources and conflicts. The scheduling process allows you to designate criteria such as site, resource and time and find available times that fit into our resource schedule. You can also provide personal service by adhering to your customers preferences.

Next month we will have our final segment (Part 3 of 3) on Service Scheduling – Reporting of your Scheduled Services.

Happy CRM’ing

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JoeCRM

Joe CRM is a CRM superhero who runs on pure Microsoft Dynamics CRM adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe CRM’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics CRM and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.