Service Level Agreement Compliance: How to Track Your SLAs

image of purple bowling ball next to bowling pins to reference aiming for a strike like preparing a quality SLA and tracking compliance to hit time targets

Service Level Agreement Compliance: How to Track Your SLAs

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a necessary part of the business-customer relationship. They need to be created with both your company’s unique needs and the needs of your customers. However, there is little point in going through the trouble of creating these agreements if they aren’t adhered to. The right tools track your service level agreement compliance and evolve your SLAs.

First, Be Honest About What You Can Provide

Over promising doesn’t help you or your customer. Even if a great promise is a selling point, it can quickly become a cause for churn when it can’t be kept. Get clear on what your company can realistically provide before creating whichever SLA you use – customer, service, multi-level – and this even applies to internal SLAs.

Your response and resolution times are going to depend on multiple factors including budget, bandwidth, hours of operation, agent capacity and self-service options. Make sure your SLAs reflect your company’s stage of development.

Keeping time targets realistic manages expectations of your customers while respecting the work of your agents. If agents can’t possibly keep within targets they are more likely to feel discouraged and even churn. That’s one reason to include agent feedback when creating or modifying your SLAs.

“The best customer service SLAs help define your team’s goals and establish your company’s reputation for fantastic support. Because once you’ve outlined specific objectives, it’s easier to keep your support team honest and your customers happy.” – 

Track Service Level Agreement Compliance

Once you’ve created a well-defined, realistic SLA, you then need to track metrics for compliance and identifying issues. There are tools you might already be using or that integrate with the ones you already have to make tracking easier.

Triggers on Zendesk

Zendesk provides a set of standard conditions that then cause automatic triggers – like a customer being emailed after their ticket is opened. It also allows you to make custom triggers, setting conditions and their subsequent actions. 

You can also input your SLA policies, like response and resolution times, and the conditions that need to be met to cause a trigger to execute. 

SLA target columns show the time remaining before the next target on a ticket will be breached. This keeps you on top of potential breaches and helps you proactively avoid them. The status of an SLA target is color coded and listed as Active, Paused, Closed or as a breach of one of these three. A  breach indicates that the target has gone past the time target defined.

Time Targets

As of this writing, you can set time targets for six metrics including First Reply Time, Requester Wait Time and Agent Work Time with a minimum target of one minute. These take into account the schedule you define of your working hours and with the option of using calendar or business hours for reporting.

Agent Compliance Support with CSAT.AI

CSAT.AI, an AI powered app integrated with Zendesk, allows you to go further in tracking your SLA compliance. As a CSAT.AI client you can set custom metrics based on your own SLAs in addition to the metrics on Zendesk.

CSAT.AI dashboard image with generative AI summaries and agent analysis and coaching

Generative AI Summaries

Automate your ticket summaries with CSAT.AI. These summaries give your managers a fast picture of agent performance, customer sentiment, product and workflow issues. 

CSAT.AI generative AI summaries go beyond condensed transcripts. The AI is trained on substantial metrics data, and includes analytics and coaching suggestions based on the summaries for agent improvement. A coaching suggestion could indicate that an agent has quick first response time, but also recommend they provide more frequent updates, use more straightforward language and improve their soft skills for better CSAT.

Agents are provided a weekly performance report which includes a select number of summaries along with the coaching suggestions. 

These summaries also provide insight into negative tickets, helping managers decipher potential causes of SLA breaches like agent performance. This helps you pivot more quickly and address problem areas.

If certain agents are a frequent cause of breaches, they may require additional training. If there is insufficient coverage for volume, hiring and scheduling needs to be addressed. 

Additional Metrics: Timely and Improper Handling

CSAT.AI includes tracking of timely handling based on industry standards for different channels. Agents get scored as to whether their response is within the parameters of timely handling or not (90 seconds for chat and 24 hours for email). This acts as a QA tool to train agents. 

Tracking of improper handling is another additional metric in CSAT.AI. The AI tracks when a customer has to repeat themselves or the agent responds in a manner that doesn’t address the question. It also recognizes overuse of macros on the part of the agent. These kinds of repetitive, canned responses when incorrectly or repeatedly used lead to frustration for the customer. 

Your SLAs are an important tool in maintaining solid metrics and solid customer relationships. Make sure you are adhering to them with tools available on Zendesk like CSAT.AI.