In the second of our two-part Microsoft Power Virtual Agents series, we examine the difference between Chatbots and Intelligent Chatbots, and how AI can elevate chatbot capabilities and improve user experience.
Today we will be covering the basic features of a brand new (out-of-the-box) Power Apps Portal application called Field Service Portal. This was announced in Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 1 plan (link is in the References section below). It was first released for public preview on Apr 26, 2021 but hasn’t hit the General Availability at the time of writing this article.
This is a long-awaited requested feature from Microsoft. And we are so excited that its finally out there!
Disclaimer: This feature not released yet so it should not be used in Production environments.
Field Service Customer Portal is a Dynamics 365 Field Service feature/add-on that connects Power Apps Portals to Field Service in Dynamics 365 and provides self-service scheduling capabilities of service appointments for Customers.
It allows customers to book service appointments online without the need to call an agent. Instead, the customer can go online and see all available timeslot(s) for the specific type of service they need. The customer can then select the day and time that best works for them. Once the customer submits, the system automatically creates a booking and a work order, then presents the customer a confirmation of the booking (and a confirmation Email/SMS if configured). This saves a lot of time and energy compared to when the customer calls an agent and spends time on the phone trying to schedule.
One other advantage of using the self-service functionality is the ability to access the portal from any device, laptop, PC, or mobile phone. Power Apps Portals App is known for its responsive design so it will work on any device.
You need to have Dynamics 365 Field Service version (126.96.36.199) or higher.
Also depending on your requirements, you might want to set up Office 365 Exchange (or alternate email connector like Twilio, for example) to send emails, SMS provider for automatic SMS communication, or both. For instructions on how to set up Email/SMS notifications, please see the link to Microsoft Docs in the references section at the end of this article.
Before using Field Service Portal, the following are (at a minimum) configuration/settings that need to be completed in order to get the Portal up and running and enjoy the full benefits of it:
Setting up an Account is necessary because the Portal displays Service Products based on the logged-in user’s Account Assets. In our case, we have the pre-setup Account Contoso Electronics with Assets.
Figure 1: Account Assets
Next up is setting up a Portal Contact. There are many ways to create a portal contact, in our case, we had created a Portal user account through Field Service portal Invitation process (#1 in the list below).
If you do not follow Step 1, then you will need to manually add the web role Web API User to the Portal Contact for the Portal to work properly.
You can find more about how to set up Portal Contact in the reference at the end of this article.
We need to set up at least one Bookable Resource and associated Work Hours. The two main reasons for this are:
Tip: If you have more than one Bookable Resource, it may be a good idea to set up a default Work Template and apply this template to your bookable resources.
Tip: Make sure that the Resource type is User. Portal will not consider any other types of resources.
Below is a screenshot of sample Work Hours for a Bookable Resource that we created (8 am to 5 pm – Excluding Weekends):
Figure 2: Resource Calendar (8 am to 5 pm – Excluding Weekends)
Incident Types determine the type of Work/Service to be done when work orders and bookings are created. Incident Types are populated in the dropdown Service Type on the Field Service portal. Incident Types also determine:
You can create new Incident Types or use existing sample data that you can install for free from the Microsoft Docs website (link in the references below). However, you need to ensure that Incident Types contain the following information:
In our case, we will use Install IoT as Incident Type.
Figure 3: Incident Type “Install IoT”
Once you set up Incident Type, you need to set up Incident Type Characteristic that is the bridge between Incident Type and Characteristic.
In our case, we have created Incident Type Characteristic Arm Band Servicing and linked it to the Install IoT Incident type and the Characteristic Arm Band Service.
Figure 4: Incident Type Characteristic
Finally, ensure that there is at least one Bookable resource that is linked to the Characteristic Arm Band Servicing (through Bookable Resource Characteristic). This step ensures that ultimately, the Bookable Resource is linked to the Incident Type.
Figure 5: Bookable Resource Characteristic
Now that we have completed our setup, we are ready to test this!
As a customer, login to the portal and follow these easy steps to book your timeslot:
This is the Customer Asset associated with the current logged-in portal user Account. Notice that Service Address is populated under the dropdown.
Figure 6: Service Product
As previously mentioned, this dropdown represents Incident Types in Dynamics. Notice the duration of the work is listed under the dropdown (1 hour).
Figure 7: Service Type
Once we select Install IoT, the system automatically loads the Calendar and circles the days that are available. As you can see from the screenshot below, the customer is only presented days available from Monday-Friday (8 am to 5 pm) because there is not any bookable resource available during the weekend.
Figure 8: Select Day
When we click on any available day, the available time slots are displayed (default 30 minutes between each timeslot). System also respects Bookable Resource Calendars.
Figure 9: Select Timeslot
Portal now displays a confirmation of your booking.
Figure 10: Booking Confirmation
Once the Booking is submitted from the Portal, Dynamics automatically creates a Work Order, a Resource Requirement, and a Booking in Dynamics. See below screenshots:
Figure 11: Work Order
Figure 12: Bookable Resource Booking
Field Service Portal has a lot of potential, and it is expected that more and more features and new ideas will be added to it in the next releases. However, at the time of this article, there are some known limitations of Field Service Portal that we hope change in the future. Perhaps the most prominent ones are:
For more information about other topics that were not covered in this article, pre-requisites, release dates, and other updates:
2021 release wave 1 plan:
Sample data installation for Field Service: