Defining and using SLA policies (Professional and Enterprise)

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179 Comments

  • Conza

    Hi Nicole,

    Yes of course. 

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  • Nicole S.
    Zendesk Community Team

    Great, I'll reach out in a ticket. Look for a message from me shortly. 

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  • Susan Maher

    Since the order of the SLA policies matter to ensure they get applied to the correct ticket how can we reorder the Policies without deleting them and redefining. 

    I am in the process of improving our implementation of SLAs.  I am adding policies to existing ones and modifying processes.. I have a need to make one of the new policies first in line.  So far I have found no way of doing this without deleting ALL the Policies and starting again.  Am I right or am I missing something?

     

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  • Peter Reynolds

    We're having issues when a ticket is created by an Agent, the timer is not starting, even though a Periodic Update should now be applied.

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  • Chris

    Hi - How can we set up Service Level Agreements on tickets based on ticket creation time as opposed to first public end user time?

    Our tickets are created via an API/integration with our own site - so the ticket comes to us with Internal Comment only, and not a direct public comment from End User

     We need to track First Reply/Next Reply time based on when ticket is created, but this seems to not be possible with the standard set up. There seems to be a metric that tracks exactly this, but seems it's logic is not available to customers to use?

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  • Ifechi Okobi

    Hello,

    How does SLAs work with reassigned tickets?

    Say Agent 01 reassigns a ticket to Agent 02 in a different department having an SLA of let's say Agent Work Time of 2 hours.

    • Does the SLA kick off referencing the time when the ticket was reassigned or uses the requester's first comment time as a reference?

    I see that someone asked a similar question in the comment section and it was never addressed. I would appreciate if someone could explain this to me. Thanks.

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  • Mark Schäfermann

    Our support process relies heavily on light agents. Most of our tickets are created by light agents as requester. First Reply Time works fine. But Next Reply Time seems only to work with end user comments.

    Is there a workaround for this? This implementation kinda looks half baked, as one metric works, but the other doesn't.

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  • Kristel Kos

    Hi,

    I have a question about Agent Work time and using this in a SLA policy.
    Our basic SLA policy is First Reply Time and Next Reply Time --> 24 calendar hours (7 days a week)
    Besides that, we use status Pending for tickets, and this can last up to 3 weeks.
    We also use status On Hold, and this can last up to 1 week. 

    How do i configure the policy so that Pending and On Hold tickets don't breach SLA?

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  • Susan Maher

    Kristel,

    SLA is not based on Status but on Public Comments so you will always run the risk of breaching SLA regardless of the Status of the ticket. 

    The way you are set up right now, you will not breach SLA unless the last Public comment is from the customer.  If you add any other metric you still will breach SLA if the last public comment is from the customer. 

    Let's say you add Agent Work Time for a 3 week Period.  Then you place the ticket in Pending.  The SLA for Agent Work Time will Pause.  However, if the customer decides to send you an email for some reason (even to say thanks) then the Next Reply Time will kick in.  And, you will breach if you don't respond within your limit.  There is no way around it unless you program your own stops via trigger.   

     

     

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  • Kristel Kos

    Thanks Susan, that clears things up!

    What kind of trigger do you mean, can you tell me more about this?

     

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  • Susan Maher

    Kristel,

    Using triggers to manipulate SLAs is akin to writing your own mini SLA system.  I had to do that for my team because what Zendesk offers was not completely adequate for us and we were running into issues where my agents were jumping through hoops to try to accommodate.

    I am not sure how large an organization you have.  If you have a small organization there is an easier way to do this without having to use triggers: 

    1. The easiest way for you to manipulate the SLA is to play with Priority.  Use Low priority for "no SLA" .  So when you set your ticket ON-HOLD or Pending tell your agents to change Priority to Low.  Then the SLA will go away. 

    2.  If that is a concern because customers will see it and they will complain.  You can do the same thing by creating a custom field.  Call it whatever you want. Let's say SLA OFF.  Then your agents will mark this Checkbox when they want the SLA OFF.  In your policy you will check for this field to be off.  So, when it is on the policy doesn't apply.  When it is off it does.

    If you have a large organization with a complex process like I do where you would need manager approval to do something like this and you do not want people to manipulate SLA willy-nilly then it gets a lot more complicated than this. 

    I had to write something rather complex with a combination of triggers/automations/macros and custom fields.  I can take that offline if you need to.

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  • Kristel Kos

    Hi Susan, thank you for taking the time to clarify! This is very usefull and can actually work very well for our team.

    We will try this out and if i have more questions i will kindly take on your offer and sent you a message.

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  • Jason Fouchier

    Hey All,

         Is there any way to ignore tickets in the "New" status? I only want the SLA's to be active when the agent is actually working on the ticket. We work with a tiered system where agents get assigned tickets, and a "New" ticket may sit until an agent has the bandwidth to take the ticket and work on it. So, tracking tickets in the new status make our SLA's tough to reach in some cases. 

    Thanks,

        Jason

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  • James Green

    Could you just ignore First Reply Time and focus on Next Reply Time?

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  • Jason Fouchier

    Hey James Green,

         Would that not still track the time from the when the ticket is first submitted and in the new status since it is the time between the oldest, unanswered customer comment and the next agent comment? Or am I misunderstanding the definition of "Next Reply Time"?

     

    Thanks,

         Jason

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  • Aidan Ryan

    I notice that the First Reply time SLA is not activated for tickets our agents create or API generated tickets (API account is an agent).

    Reading above, I see for agent generated tickets, that "SLA first time target is immediately satisfied. It does not activate or record an achievement. Is there any known work around to capture First Reply Time. Maybe this is now 2nd Reply time. I don't want to turn on 2nd reply time SLA as its on every subsequent reply

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  • James Green

    Hey Jason Fouchier

    My understanding was that Next Reply Time is only counted from subsequent end user comments, not the first comment. So if your agent answers or even solves the ticket with their first reply, the first reply time could be large, but there would be no next reply time at all unless/until the end user writes back.

    I could be wrong! I'd better let someone from Zendesk chime in :)

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  • Susan Maher

    Aidan,

    First reply only applies when the end user opens the ticket.  This means that the user either opened the ticket via email or online.  When an agent opens the ticket (or API opens the ticket) the system assumes that someone has already talked to the user and that conversation resulted in this ticket being created.  Therefore, all comments created from then on will be set to either Next Reply Time or Periodic (or Pausable) Updates if you have those set up. 

    I hope this helps. 

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  • Susan Maher

    @Jason,

    While status is not part of the criteria for SLAs what you may be able to do is set a trigger to add a tag for all tickets at creation time.  Something like:

    Ticket is Created

    Status is New

    then

    ADD Tag status_new

    Then in your policy check if ticket Contains none of the following: status_new and that way your policy will not apply to your tickets in new status. 

    You will also need a trigger to remove the status_new tag when the ticket changes status out of new.  Something like:

    ticket is updated

    tags contains at least one of the following status_new

    status is greater than New

    then

    Remove Tags status_new

     

    This should work

    =====================================

    On First Reply Time - This only apply when the ticket is first opened by the customer

    subsequent replies from the customer will get Next Reply Time.  This is assuming you have timing for these in your policy. 

    If you do not want to bother with First Reply Time, just don't use it in your policy and then you will not have to worry. 

    But, remember, if you ONLY use First Reply Time then ALL answers from the customer will get First Reply Time regardless. 

    I hope this helps

     

     

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  • Jason Fouchier

    Hey @Susan Maher and James Green,

          Thanks for the tips and advice, I will give them a try and see what happens. Thanks again.

     

    Jason

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  • Aidan Ryan

    Thank you Susan. Did i get a very local response from Ireland !

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  • Susan Maher

    Aidan,

    No, I am in the US. :)

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  • Aidan Ryan

    There is Irish ancestry there with that name :) Thanks again

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  • Mateusz S

    Hi,

    I would like to base our SLAs on two metrics: First and Next reply time.

    1. Is First reply time SLA counted correctly also for tickets with no public comment? E.g. tickets for missed chats with internal note only?

    While reassigning tickets to another department, our agents update customer on what is going on. In such case none of the two above SLA is applied anymore. Periodic update time seems to be a solution here.

    2. When agents reply to customers and no more action seems to be required on our side, they submit tickets as pending. Since periodic update SLA doesn't pause then, would such tickets count as breaching SLA in Zendesk Support SLA Explore dashboard?

    3. If customer replies, would such ticket possibly have SLA breached since the time has passed since the last update on our side?

    Thank you for your help.

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  • Susan Maher

    Mateusz S

    1. Is First reply time SLA counted correctly also for tickets with no public comment? E.g. tickets for missed chats with internal note only?

    ANSWER:  SLAs work on Public Comments ONLY.  First Reply applies after the First Public Comment from the End user.  It only applies Once during the life of the ticket. 

    While reassigning tickets to another department, our agents update customer on what is going on. In such case none of the two above SLA is applied anymore. Periodic update time seems to be a solution here.

    ANSWER:  Periodic Updates like all SLAs also work on Public Comments.  A ticket with no Public Comments will have no SLA Policy applied

    2. When agents reply to customers and no more action seems to be required on our side, they submit tickets as pending. Since periodic update SLA doesn't pause then, would such tickets count as breaching SLA in Zendesk Support SLA Explore dashboard?

    ANSWER:  SLA is breached only if you have a policy that has values in that metric.  If you do not measure a particular metric then there is no breach.  If your ticket has a banner in it and it shows Green then you have a "no breach" situation.  If you have a "Red Banner" you have a breach and it will be counted for sure.  The banner will tell you which metric breached. 

    3. If customer replies, would such ticket possibly have SLA breached since the time has passed since the last update on our side?

    ANSWER:  SLAs breach when we do not respond to the customer.  They do not breach because the customer responds to us. If the ticket had already breach, then the timer will not be reset, the ticket will remain in a breach condition.  However, if the ticket had not breached, then the timer will be reset to Next Reply Time. 

    When you think of SLAs think about a conversation.  You have 3 different situations:

    1.  You have a conversation with a customer.  Customer contacts you, you respond, customer responds, etc.  This is where you worry about reply time (first and next)

    2. Next case is when customer contacts you with an issue that requires research.  You have work to do that will take time.  So here is the scenario:  customer contacts you, you respond to customer that this will take time and that you will let them know when you have an update.  Time passes by and you need to keep the customer informed so they know you are still working on their issue.  SLA in this case will deal with Periodic Updates.

    3. Last case is when customer contacts you, you respond with a solution but the customer wants to test and be sure your solution is valid.  Customer asks you to please do not close the issue.  You place the ticket in pending.  Time goes by and the customer doesn't call back.  You want to follow up to ensure your solution works.  SLA in this case deals with Pausable Updates. 

    You do not have to work with all of these values in your policies.  As a matter of fact you may choose to work with only one value.  You need to design your SLA philosophy and then implement.  I hope this helps 

     

     

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  • Mateusz S

    Thank you Susan Maher, this is very helpful.

    Ideally, I would like to work with only one policy, however, this is very important for us that all the tickets haves SLAs applies. Otherwise, tickets are left at the end of the queue and not picked-up by agents.

    I'm left now with tickets that have no public comment (as tickets for missed chats). Do all SLAs work on public comments only? Would Agent or Requester wait time help here maybe?

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  • Susan Maher

    Mateusz,

    You can set up a Policy that checks for tickets that have not Public comments and set the Agent Work Time and the Requester Work times.  This will work  You can manage these tickets that way. 

    These metrics do not work on Public comments.  Of course you could mic the metrics on the same policies but it may become confusing.  Again, your issue is not simple, you are going to have to design your SLA process and then study how to implement it. 

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  • Susan Maher

    Mateusz

    Sorry for the typos.  I was a crazy day at work today and I had some issues with my own SLAs as well.  I have to add some more logic for my enhancements.  But back to your case, I would like to clarify something on my previous statement.  The Agent Work Time and Requester Work Times do not reset the same way as the Reply times so be careful if you decide to use them.  Entering Private comments will not reset these times.  You will have to combine these with Pausable Updates and Periodic Updates.  As I tried to say before you have a complicated case here. 

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  • Chris

    It seems to me that there are a lot of paying customers here that need to calculate First Reply Time on something other than a Public comment from an End User - those creating tickets on behalf of end users via their own systems integrations, missed chats etc etc. 

     

    I'm wondering if someone from Zendesk could share an update on the status of this feature request? It's been added to your request list and up-voted for several years. There seems to be a lot of customers needing to do manual work-arounds or in-house solutions for what should be an obvious and easy feature

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