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Support - SLA Policies

This article will help you understand the importance of creating an SLA policy and its dependency on other modules.
R
Rashmi Kashyap
5 Aug, 2021 - Updated 5 months ago
Table of Contents

 Introduction to Service Level Agreements

Do you want to set a priority to your customers’ queries?

Are you willing to up your game in solving customer issues?

Take the first step by configuring SLA policies in Vtiger CRM.


Watch this video to learn about SLA Policies in Vtiger CRM!


A Service Level Agreement or an SLA is a contract between a service provider and a customer. The agreement defines the level of service the customer expects from the service provider.  SLAs are defined to help support agents respond to customer queries, and their purpose is determined explicitly by the kind of support the customer receives.

Benefits

So how do SLAs benefit you? With a well defined SLA policy, you can:

  • Prioritize customer issues.

  • Trigger alerts when there are any unattended issues.

  • Set up an escalation hierarchy to deal with violations.

  • Ensure the customer is provided with a solution within a specified time period.

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SLA Policies

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Types of SLAs

Vtiger CRM allows you to create two types of SLAs: Customer SLA and Internal SLA.

  1. Customer SLA: Customer SLAs are used only in the Cases module. You can have different SLAs for every customer you are providing the service to. Every time a new case is created, the default Customer SLA is applied, but you can change this by editing the SLA name in the case record.

For customer SLAs, the value in the Type column is set to ‘Customer’. 
To know more about Cases, click here.

  1. Internal SLA: Internal SLAs are used in the Internal Tickets module. Internal SLAs are mainly used to measure the service provided to your company’s employees. The default Internal SLA is applied when you create a new Internal ticket, which can be changed later by editing the SLA name.

For internal SLAs, the value in the Type column is set to ‘Internal’. 
To know more about Internal Tickets, click here.

Creating an SLA Policy

In this section, you will learn about creating an SLA policy. To better understand the topic, we have divided it into four sections, and each section explains every field and functionality.

Follow the steps to create an SLA Policy:

  1. Sign In to your account.

  2. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of the screen.

  3. Click the Settings button.

  4. Look for the Support section.

  5. Select SLA Policies.

  6. Click either of these two buttons in the List View:

    1. Click the + Add Customer SLA button on the right side of the page to create a customer SLA.

    2. Click the + Add Internal SLA button on the right side of the page to create an internal SLA.

Configuring an SLA Policy

  1. Fill the following fields:

  1. Policy Name - Provide a name to the SLA policy
  2. Operational Hours - Enter the details of operational hours, either Calendar Hours or Business Hours
  3. Default SLA - Enable the checkbox to set the SLA Policy as default and apply it to all new cases
Note:
  • Business Hours define the working hours of your company. You can set them up in the Business Hours screen in the CRM. To learn how to set up your business hours, click here.
  • Calendar Hours consider 24 hours in a day and include non-business hours.


Setting SLA Targets

In this section, you will learn about setting the response time and resolution time. You will also learn to set the priorities that must be implemented for every case or an internal ticket.

Here is an explanation of the terms mentioned in the screenshot above:

  1. Priority - You can categorize the issues as Urgent, High, Medium, and Low.

  2. First Response within - You can specify the time (number of minutes, hours, or days) within which a customer must receive the first response from the customer service agent or customer support.

  3. Resolve Within -  Specify the time (number of minutes, hours, or days) within which the service provider must resolve a customer’s issue.

To learn more about Alerts and Escalation and what happens when you enable the checkbox, click here.


Importance of setting SLA targets

Consider this situation: A VIP customer may expect you to resolve all high-priority issues within 4 hours. 

  1. When the customer raises a high-priority case, the agent must know how much time he has to resolve it.

  2. In addition, it will be useful for the agent to get a heads-up when there is only 1 hour left. 

  3. There will be cases where support agents might miss these targets. In such cases, as a heads-up, the concerned stakeholders need to be notified.

Also, it is important to set SLA targets when an SLA is based on business hours. This helps as SLA targets are not included in the case response time calculation during non-business hours, holidays, or when the issue is waiting for input from the 3rd party or the customer. To know more about Business Hours, click here.

Configuring email alerts before a violation

Vtiger CRM gives you an option to configure email alerts that must be sent before an SLA violation happens.

Nobody can say no to configuring such a crucial reminder.

When you enable the Alerts checkbox for any priority, you must configure three things:

  1. Select the users who must be alerted when the SLA is about to be violated.

  2. Enter the time when the email alert has to be sent before the SLA violation.

  3. Select an email template to send the alert. These email templates are related to cases or internal tickets based on the type of SLA you create.

You can click the + Add Alert button to add multiple alerts at different time intervals with the same or different users for the SLA policy.

To know more about Email Templates, click here.

Configuring escalation emails on violation

 You can configure escalation emails sent to users who must be notified when an SLA violation occurs. They are normally sales managers, account managers, or other stakeholders who interact with the customer. 

The CRM allows you to select a priority level to alert stakeholders about escalations.

Enable the Escalation checkbox for a priority level, and configure the following: 

  1. Select the users from your company’s hierarchy who should be notified about the SLA violation. 

  2. Enter the time when the email alert must be sent after the SLA is violated.

  3. Select an email template to send the alert.

 You can click the + Add Escalation button to add multiple escalation alerts at different time intervals for the same or different users for the same SLA policy. 

 Note: You can set the case status and SLA timer behavior for custom case states in picklist field values.

 

Understanding SLA Statuses 

It is vital to understand different SLA statuses in Cases and Internal Tickets. SLA statuses help the service provider to react to the problem efficiently. The SLA status speaks about the current situation of the SLA time clock. Here is an explanation of each status:

  • Time left: Displays the time left to resolve a case or an internal ticket since the SLA time clock started. The time is displayed in the Summary View of the case record.

  • Fulfilled: The case or an internal ticket was resolved within the specified target time in the SLA. 

  • Violated: The case or an internal ticket was not resolved within the specified target time in the SLA.

  • Escalated: After a violation, if escalation rules configured in the SLA are executed, the case or an internal ticket status changes to escalated.

To configure an escalation rule, read this section.

 

Note: When a customer replies to a case that is resolved, the status reverts to Open, and the SLA clock resumes.


Dependency of SLA Timer on Case Statuses

Here is how the SLA timer behaves based on the status of the case:

  1. When a case is in the New, Open, or Assigned status, the SLA timer starts and displays the time remaining before the SLA target is violated.

  2. When the case is in Wait for Customer, Wait for 3rd Party status, the SLA timer pauses.

  3. When the case is in Resolved status, the SLA timer stops.

To know more about Cases, click here.

Note:

  • When the case has been resolved within the defined SLA, the time is shown with a plus (+) prefix. 
  • If the SLA gets violated, the time is shown with a minus (-) prefix.

 

Read this example for a better understanding:

Mr. Barry Sheene reports a Speaker issue that creates a case in Vtiger. The status of the case is set to New. 

  • Let’s assume that the problem is of high priority, and the SLA for case resolution is 6 hours from the time the case is created.
    • Case Created time = 10 AM, Case Status = New, SLA Status = Time left, SLA Time Remaining = 6 hours 0 minutes
  • Suppose the case status is changed from New to Open, and one of the Support agents, say, Akira Rio, assigned it to herself at 10:30 AM.
    • Case Status = Open, SLA Status = Time Left, SLA Time Remaining = 5 hours 30 minutes
  • After working for a few hours, she comes up with a few queries that need to be clarified by Mr. Barry. So, she sends an email query to him and marks the status as Wait for Customer at 12:15 PM.
    • Case Status = Wait for Customer, SLA Status = Time Left, SLA Time Remaining = 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Mr. Barry replies to the email at 12:45 PM, which changes the case status from Wait to Customer to Open.
    • Case Status = Open, SLA Status = Time Left, SLA Time Remaining = 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Akira resolves the issue within SLA time and marks the status as resolved at 1:30 PM.
    • Case Status = Resolved, SLA Status = Fulfilled, SLA Time Remaining = +3 hours 0 minutes
  • If Akira had taken a long time to resolve the case and violated the SLA, the SLA Status would have been set to Violated. 
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