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CONTROL THE RESPONSE TIME USING SLA
Katerina Vinokhodova
Make yourself a cup of tea and get comfortable — today I will tell you in detail how to get your support service to a unified standard using a service level agreement, or SLA.
Graph showing the ratio of completed and expired SLA metrics
A bit of theory
An SLA (Service Level Agreement) is an agreement on the level of service provided. More and more often, this term can be heard not only in the field of telecommunications and IT, but also about email service in any field. The modern business environment is so highly competitive that the client has the right to demand compliance with certain deadlines for responding to a request. Therefore, compliance with the SLA is one of the main key performance indicators (KPIs).

An SLA can also be used internally as a tool that monitors the timely response of the team, depending, for example, on the category of the request. Each request is assigned a priority.

Now, in UseDesk, you can create a time frame that demands the team to respond on time:
In 2017, we plan to add additional fields to UseDesk, which will allow you to create flexible SLA settings based on the category of a request, the presence of a complaint, and so on.
Let's go to the settings
Enable SLA in the settings in the Integration section:
There are three metrics available: first response time, next response time, and time to completion. You can use three SLA metrics at once, or you can just use one. If you do not provide 24/7 support, enable metrics according to the company's working hours.


Now we configure the rules. There are several options: for example, you can define the query category by keywords, or an employee can add the desired tag to the query themselves.

If the support team employee needs additional information from the client to solve the problem, you can use the Pending status — all SLA metrics are suspended for the request in this status, and if the client reopens it, they are counted again, starting from the client's last comment.
Configuration option when adding a tag manually


Configuration option with recognition of key phrases in the query
Now the request will display the time during which the employee needs to give a response and solve the client's problem.
Guarantee customers quick problem resolution with a service level agreement
In the main query table in SLA, we added a column with two metrics (the text box with the metric for the first response is replaced by the metric of the next response after completion if it is enabled in settings, and the second text box is time to completion): now the employee will definitely not miss a message that requires an immediate response. The column is sorted in ascending or descending order by the metric of the first / next response. If your team doesn't work 24/7, then on Monday morning (or whenever the pause in support hours is over), the employee just clicks on the column and responds to the most urgent requests.


SLA in the request list
In case of an unexpectedly large number of queries, the SLA filter allows you to assess the situation quickly and immediately proceed to processing requests for the desired metric.
SLA filter
Request waiting for a response from the client, SLA is paused
Notifications before or after an SLA violation
The supervisor does not have to press F5 every five minutes and frantically search for red queries. You just need to set up an email notification and warn a support employee about a forgotten email if they suddenly decide to leave their place unnoticed 15 minutes before the end of the working day. :)
If there are too many potential delays, talk to the team: it's possible that current business processes are preventing you from responding to customers on time for some reason.
A rule that sends a notification of an overdue SLA
SLA reports
In the SLA report, we display the most important and necessary information: the number of completed and expired metrics in the form of a visual graph (at the very beginning of the report) and the percentage ratio. You can view the performance of an entire department, a specific employee, or a separate tag. The diagram is clickable and shows a list of queries that can be downloaded in the desired format and discussed at the next meeting. The "time to run" metric specifies the request lifecycle without any pauses: from the moment of creation to its final completion. After analyzing most of the queries for this metric, you will be able to determine the optimal average figure for your problem-solving SLA policy.

SLA report with a list of queries
To sum up
A powerful functionality for building a common standard of processing support requests has been introduced in UseDesk. With an SLA, you can guarantee your clients on-time responses, discipline your team, and even reward them for meeting performance targets. Please contact us in your reply — we will help you understand the settings, and together we will make your customer service more productive. Be sure to ask your customers if they felt a difference a couple of months after implementing the SLA — we are one hundred percent sure that the answer will be yes.