Solve Problems by Experimenting with Lynn Guyer


Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Lynn Guyer, Manager, Salesforce Practice at Forefront Telecare. Join us as we chat about how she was able to build a no-code, out-of-the-box solution for one of her organization’s biggest operational challenges.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Lynn Guyer.

Scheduling on-call hours for a telehealth organization

Lynn started out as a Salesforce user before she ever found herself sitting in the admin’s chair. That gives her a lot of insight into what things are like on the other side of the screen. So whenever she’s building a solution, she’s really concerned with how it’ll impact other users and what the experience is like for everyone involved in a business process.

As a telehealth organization, they have staff across many different time zones who have to be on-call at certain times. They needed to know who was covering which shift, that those people knew their schedule, and that every shift was covered. She tried a couple of the industry standard solutions to see what they were like, but they each had some significant shortcomings. Ultimately, Lynn decided the best course of action was to build something of her own in Salesforce.

Why research should always be the first step

While Lynn was in her research phase, she looked at each of the existing on-call management solutions to understand their workflows. How many clicks it takes to do certain tasks, whether you can reuse different elements of the schedule week-to-week, and what it looks like from different users’ perspectives. This research really helped her to spec out exactly what she needed and how it should work.

Lynn and her team took their requirements to their Salesforce Account Executive and Solutions Engineer, who suggested they look at Scheduler. It seemed like a perfect fit—it could store and manage all the data they needed but, in order to implement it, Lynn needed to learn Flows. 

How Lynn skilled up quickly in Flow

There are a lot of great self-guided resources out there for learning new skills in Salesforce, but Lynn’s a working mom so she wanted something with a lot of focus that was tailored to her specific needs. A small group live class proved to be the perfect solution, allowing her to pick up the skills she needed in just a few weeks.

In the full Flow, the request comes into Salesforce from Experience Cloud as a record, which kicks off a series of Flows that check who’s on call, texts the people who need to know, assigns the correct user to be the owner, and puts the information correctly into a schedule that everyone can see. In the end, Lynn was able to build a solution to her organization’s problem entirely in Salesforce, without code, made entirely with out-of-the-box features and add-ons.

Lynn is a big fan of keeping things out-of-the-box.“Salesforce does all of the testing for you—that’s what you’re paying them for,” she says, “you’re paying them to test their code for you to use so you don’t have to test your code every release.” Building solutions like this makes them much more reliable, easier to maintain, and you get to benefit from the improvements Salesforce makes with each new release.

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I’m your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we are talking to a special, awesome admin today, who has built such a creative solution that it’s helped her grow her career, it’s helped her organization be successful. And I wanted to bring her on the podcast to talk a little bit about what she built and then the thinking behind building something new and experimentation and trying new things to help grow your career. Without further ado, let’s get Lynn Guyer on the podcast. She’s a Salesforce certified administrator at Forefront Telecare. Lynn, welcome to the podcast.

Lynn Guyer: Thanks, Gillian. Great to be here.

Gillian Bruce: I am very happy to have you on the podcast today. We’re going to talk about some really cool stuff that you’ve built, but before we get into that, can you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience? Talk a little bit about what you do, how long you’ve been working in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Lynn Guyer: Sure. I’m Lynn. I am a Salesforce admin. I am certified regular Salesforce admin, and then the advanced certification. I’ve been working in Salesforce since I was out of college, my first job, now I’m going to date myself, but my first job out of college, I remember we worked in Salesforce. And ever since then, it was at every job that I did. And the more that I worked in it, the more I got into it. And I was like, “What is this thing? Why are we using it at every job?” Because my jobs were totally unrelated. And finally I got into a job and they had Salesforce and they were a small company and their Salesforce admin just left. And so they were like, “Lynn, you can take this on.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s great. I am familiar with this.” And then everything just clicked from there. And now I manage the Salesforce practice for my telehealth company and it’s a blast.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I love that you were definitely a serious Salesforce user before even becoming an admin. I think that’s a really great transition story.

Lynn Guyer: I remember sending error reports or I tried to access a report and then I couldn’t and I would send it to the admin. And now it’s how I act where it’s like, “Oh yeah, let me fix that for you.” And I was like, “How’d you fix that so fast?”

Gillian Bruce: You were a super user, it was destined to happen, this, your path. Let’s talk a little bit about something very cool that you have built, you shared with me earlier. I wanted to share it with our listeners because I think it’s really innovative and really an interesting story. You mentioned you work in a telehealth space, you built something pretty cool to help manage a specific part of that process. It’s something in business that I actually think can extend to a lot of different use cases. Can you tell us a little bit about what you built?

Lynn Guyer: Sure. We had the need for people to be on call at our company and the need for requests to be submitted and then them to be notified that there was a request waiting for them. And so we needed some platform to house this on-call schedule. When I was researching the different things, what came really important to me was for it to have the concept of time zones. Because we are a telehealth company, so everyone is working in different time zones and everyone else is in different time zones that they’re working with, so that was really the part that it came down to. But we really were deciding where to put this data and where to store it and Salesforce ended up being the best place for it.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So you’re talking time zones, you’re talking on-call schedules, you have Salesforce. That was some serious customization because that’s not something that we provide as a standard option within the size of Salesforce. Can you walk us through a little bit about what are some of the tools that you ended up using to figure this out, to put this puzzle together?

Lynn Guyer: I am just an experimenter. I think that’s what makes me successful as a Salesforce admin and makes the job a good fit for me because I love just diving in and trying something. One of the executives that was leading the project, they had done some research on programs that we could use for scheduling on-call times. And so they gave them to me and they’re like, “Hey, what do you think about these?” And I was like, “Well, clearly I have to try it, find out what I think.” I was like, “Can you guys give me a sample schedule of the people and then I need their time zones.” And so they gave me a sample schedule. And so then I got that program. And usually most of these programs have free trial. So I got the free trial. Of course I had to talk to the salesperson like 50 billion times.

But I got the free trial. I started using it, got a feel for how easy it was, how many clicks am I taking, what can I reuse in the schedule, how many users have to be set up, all these different things. So I did that with the one program and then it wasn’t really what we needed. And so I actually talked to someone in our industry and they were using a different program that they recommended. And so I bought that, that one I had to buy, they did not have a free trial, but luckily it wasn’t that expensive, convinced my boss to buy it. And I tried that.

I put in the same sample schedule, was thinking about how easy the UI was to use, if I had to make users or if there was this concept of just data or whatever. The second program worked in some ways, but it did not have the concept of time zones. It was assuming that everyone on the team could work in this one time zone, whatever you decided that time zone was. So that one didn’t work either. So me as a Salesforce admin, I was like, “Well, why can’t we just put all this in Salesforce? It has time zones. Salesforce is a worldwide company, it has time zones.” And so we went to our account executive and our solutions engineer and told them what we were looking for and they really came back to us with a nice presentation and presented scheduler to us and it was perfect.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Scheduler is something that I’m sure not a whole lot of Salesforce admins are familiar with, but you found it. And since it was on Salesforce, I imagine it was probably a little bit easier for you to get a grasp of and customize because you are experienced with Salesforce. But did that completely solve your problem or was there more to it? Did you have to do more than just find this scheduler part of Salesforce to solve your problem?

Lynn Guyer: Yeah, so scheduler just would house the on-call data and then I had to learn flows. I did not know flows before this project. And in my research it became apparent that I needed to know flows. I’ve learned Salesforce in the past and on Trailhead or on, I don’t know, just reading people’s blogs or studying for the test or whatever, there’s many ways you can learn Salesforce. And those ways in the past haven’t worked for me the best. And especially these days being a working mom, I don’t have a lot of time to mess around. And so I needed the most bang for my buck and I decided that what I needed was a personal class on flows.

And so I was in a small group, I signed up for a small group live class over Zoom. And I did that for a few weeks. And then I did the advanced class and then I was ready, actually, I was pretty much ready. And then actually the guy… So then I got done with the class and I could understand flows. Of course, I wasn’t the fastest at building them because I was still learning and my company needed to get this product live. And so I just suggested that we hire the guy that taught the class to do some contract work and write the flows. And he said yes, so we still work together today.

Gillian Bruce: That’s great. You did learn flow, but you needed a little help to get overline. You figured out the scheduler piece, you figured out the flow piece, so you’ve got some automation going on. And how did you end up piecing it all together and talk a little bit about the payoff there. You’ve got the scheduler piece, you’ve got the time zone thing figured out. You’ve got some automation now going under underneath it all. What was this end result that you got?

Lynn Guyer: Sure. Then we ended up coming up with this idea that they would get text notifications, so we bought the digital engagement package we add on from Salesforce. And so the full flow is the request comes in via experience cloud, and then it comes into Salesforce as a record. And then the flows are kicked off, so a flow checks who’s on call. A flow sends the text message. A flow assigns the correct user to be the owner. A flow sets a whole bunch of required fields, sets it up to be in the next part of the process.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, basically you put together some flows that pulls together the request for the process, matching it up with the schedule, using scheduler, and then giving you notifications via text, which I am sure, especially working in a healthcare field, that is what people are used to getting is texts or pages all the time. It sounds like you really were able to solve this problem with basically all using Salesforce. The customizations that you’re talking about, these were all very admin, low code or maybe no code solutions, correct?

Lynn Guyer: Correct. Yep. I don’t code.

Gillian Bruce: Okay.

Lynn Guyer: It’s my personal boundary.

Gillian Bruce: This is a big deal though. As an admin, you pull together all these different pieces to solve this really complex problem using Salesforce, basically out of the box functionality with some special schedulers and the add-on and all of that.

Lynn Guyer: That’s out of the box.

Gillian Bruce: It’s out of the box.

Lynn Guyer: That’s just an extra box,

Gillian Bruce: Extra box. It’s an extra bigger box, yeah.

Lynn Guyer: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: That’s pretty amazing. Can you talk a little bit about the payoff from that? What has been the impact and what was your experience understanding that you built this thing? Just talk about that a little bit.

Lynn Guyer: Sure. Yeah, my whole Salesforce admin philosophy is to be out of the box. And so that’s just how I roll. If that doesn’t work for a business, then we’re not a good match. And I firmly believe on that because Salesforce does all the testing for you. That’s what them for, that monthly fee, you’re paying them to test their code for you to use so you don’t have to test your code every release. And you’re paying for their innovation to add new features. And you’re just able to gobble that up as soon as it comes out because you’re out of the box. And so that is just how I fundamentally needed to build the product.

We cut a soft launch with one client and there was really no issues because it was out of the box and everything was automated in flows. And of course there was some adjustments, but they were easy to make. And then we rolled it out to more, we just a kept adding on clients, because they’re like, “Well, nothing’s wrong with this lens, so we better just keep adding it to people.” I think we have probably eight clients using it now, it’s been about six months. And so we have about eight clients using it now, and they’re still obviously selling stuff and stuff’s in the pipeline. And then they actually asked me to make a version two of the program using the same concept of the shift job scheduler and people being on call. I made another app that just automatically makes records every night during a scheduled flow.

Gillian Bruce: And that’s an internal app that you got going on?

Lynn Guyer: No, it’s external.

Gillian Bruce: That’s the external-

Lynn Guyer: Yeah, it actually just went live last week.

Gillian Bruce: Congratulations. That’s awesome. That’s great. Would you say that this is one of the most significant things that you’ve built as a Salesforce admin?

Lynn Guyer: 100%, yeah.

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome. Well, congratulations. It’s a really great solution. And I love that you’re pulling together all the different pieces. And I love also that you mentioned you have an out of the box first approach, which I think is really like you say, taking advantage of everything that Salesforce offers just as it is because, yeah, we do, we test all of our own stuff all the time so that you don’t have to do that. Lynn, can you talk to me a little bit, you said you’re an experimenter and this was a pretty tricky problem to tackle and you walked us through how you did it. You sound like you’re a pretty good problem solver. You’re a natural experimenter, you said that. Can you talk a little bit about how admins can become better problem solvers? How they can maybe become better experimenters?

Lynn Guyer: Sure. I think you just have to go with your gut. You really just have to… I know there’s always that piece of you saying “No,” and there’s always that piece saying, “Yes.” And you always just have to take that, yes. And there’s always going to be that piece of you saying no, but you just have to ignore it. And you have to just take the yes. And you have to be like, what do I need to be able to do this? And just go find your resource and then try it and yeah, maybe it won’t work. I was not good at flows right after I took the class. It took me a while to learn, but now actually I’m better than the teacher. I’ll send him stuff and he’ll be like, “I don’t know what the problem is.” And then I’ll be like, “Okay, let me look at it again.” And then I’ll find it. And he’ll be like, “How’d you find that?” And I was like, “I don’t know. I just tried different things.”

Gillian Bruce: I love that. You’re now better than the person who taught you how to use flows, that’s fantastic-

Lynn Guyer: Yeah. He’s like, “You don’t need me anymore.” I was like, “Well actually I do because I don’t have unlimited time in the day.”

Gillian Bruce: That’s great though. And that’s what’s really incredible about hearing about your journey and other admin’s journeys is once you really dig in deep to a feature or a skill and you go for it and then you want to continue to grow and learn and having that person, that teacher or that mentor to bounce it off of and get that input. And at some point your teachers basically said, “And you’re done. I have nothing else to teach you,” so that’s pretty awesome.

But yeah, I love the idea of just digging in there and just getting at it. Trailhead is fantastic because you have the opportunity to get hands on with a lot of product, but sometimes you got to take it a step further and just in your story, you actually got to try and just start building things and doing stuff. One of the things I think that stops a lot of people is the fear of it not working or the fear of failing. Can you talk to us about how you approach that, because I didn’t hear a lot of that in your story?

Lynn Guyer: I don’t really look at it as failure, I guess. When you say that word, that’s not really in my vocabulary. It’s just an experiment that went wrong and this is an experiment, you can run it again. I don’t know, I just don’t think of it that way. Of course, my flows failed. Of course I got a million errors, but that was just it telling me that I had to do something different.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. I think that’s really important because it can be hard when you build something and get frustrated that it doesn’t work. But as you said, view it as an experiment and just keep going at it and figuring out which pieces you need to fix and work on and you’ll get there. I love that. Lynn, you mentioned that you’re a working mom, and I want to just dip into that for a second because I wanted to know, has being a mom changed the way that you think about problems or you work?

Lynn Guyer: Yeah like 1000%. I was an admin before I was a mom and I’m still an admin and I don’t know, just having to problem solve on the fly for your baby that just pooped and you have no pants in the car and you’re an hour from home, just having to problem solve like that, it’s really exploded my ability to be creative as an admin. Not that I’m recommending that people have children, so they’re a better admin. I wouldn’t think that was a benefit of being a parent. I had all these other expectations that I would have other benefits.

Someone telling me that they love me every day, doing something with my husband and I’ve let it. I’ve let that yes, there was always that, no, but somehow I’ve just said yes more. I don’t know if that’s because I’m more tired or what, but I had to say yes to my baby that was crying. I had to say yes. And so that really, I think trained me to be like, “Just say yes. Just say yes. Just try it. What else can happen? Your baby’s already crying in your face.” It was a hard learning curve for me as a mom, I think like most moms. But when I think about it, parallel with my career, it’s really cool to look at how much it’s changed.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. You don’t have a choice of saying no to a screaming child who needs something. And so having that faith and that confidence that you’re going to figure it out and you’re just going to get through it, I think that there’s something to be learned from that that definitely is applicable to having some good skills, especially in a tech career and especially in the Salesforce admin career, so thank you for pointing that out. I think that’s really valuable. Any last things you want to share with our listeners before you go today? Any tips, any outlooks, anything in general you just want to share?

Lynn Guyer: I would just say stay connected in the community. Recently I’ve joined some Slack communities and I’m just getting a Slack right now from them. Those are really cool. Those are another place to look for data other than on the typical Google results and ask people things. And I think the people in there are different people than the people who are in the admin groups on Trailhead. I think just trying different things and then if you don’t like the Slack group, you can get out of it. It’s not a big deal.

I know there’s different podcasts. Whatever your ability to ingest information is, just look for that and just try different things, because I don’t have a ton time to do podcasts, but I definitely tried it. I have listened to a few podcasts, I just don’t have time. But Slack works for me because I could do it in my own time and it’s very fast and I just absorb whatever I want to absorb in those five minutes. Just always looking for different resources and there’s probably going to be something else coming out whenever the new next cool platform, social media thing comes up.

Gillian Bruce: I love it, so I think the theme is experiment and try things.

Lynn Guyer: Yes, minor theme.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Well, Lynn, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today and congrats for the really cool solution that you’ve built, and I look forward to seeing what else you build now.

Lynn Guyer: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thanks to Lynn for taking the time to join us on the podcast. I love those little interesting tidbits about becoming a mom and how it has helped change her thinking and approach to solving problems as a Salesforce administrator. Pretty cool, as a mom myself, I can identify. I’m sure parents going through that, you may have identified a similar transition or change in perspective. But I wanted to really get her on the podcast. I hope you got a lot from hearing about how she figured out a pretty complex solution to a tough problem. But also just the theme of experimenting and trying new things and treating a problem like an experiment, I think is really valuable in terms of, if it doesn’t work, that’s great. That means you’ve learned something and you can try to tweak it in this way or that way.

Take those tips from Lynn and apply them to your next project or your next problem you’re facing and see if that approach will help you at all. As always, if you want to learn anything else about being a awesome admin, please check out my favorite website, where you can find more great content. We’ve got product pages, we’ve got blogs, we’ve got videos, and yes, more podcasts. You can follow all the fun on Twitter using #awesomeadmin or you can find us @salesforcesadmns, no I. You can find myself @gilliankbruce, Mike, my co-host @mikegerholdt. And if you want to connect with Lynn, our amazing guest today, you can find her on LinkedIn, Lynn Guyer, I’ll put the link in the show notes. Hope you have a fantastic rest of your day. Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll catch you next time in the cloud.

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