Troubleshooting common issues with SLAs

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  • Rene de Haas

    "In this case, there is no First Reply Time metric applied, because the ticket was created by an agent"

    When we create a ticket on behalve of a customer, we need a SLA target. It should be replied in time. Any solutions?

  • Megan Howell


    In that situation, your best bet is to make an SLA using the reply time metric of "Periodic Update Time" which looks at the time between each public comment from agents, displayed in minutes. Unfortunately if an agent creates a ticket the First Reply Time metric is already out as an option, as it looks for the first public agent comment. You can see a bit more in this document.

  • Brad Marshall

    Is there any way to pause the "Next SLA breach" for "Periodic update" if it is in a status of Pending? Pending, to us, implies that we are waiting for a customer response and there is no dependency on the agent until the customer has fulfilled their responsibility. However, the timer keeps on going down and can mess up our workflows as you have to ignore some SLA's and pay attention to others.

  • Matt Savage

    I agree with Brad- more granular control over SLA events would be extremely helpful.  I understand the rationale for wanting to enforce the SLAs without an easy opt-out that could allow the metrics to be fudged.  However, there are many instances where an agent may review a ticket it but push it back to pending/hold status without comment:

    • inactionable responses (e.g. 'ok', 'thanks', etc.)
    • 'customer' responses come from automated systems (e.g. 'your ticket has been created') or similar sources that don't require actual response/confirmation at some points of a lifecycle

    There are workarounds, such as temporarily switching the ticket to a dummy SLA, then removing it when a new response arrives.  To combat abuse, you can also log any time this SLA is manually overridden in a custom field or tag so you can monitor that it's being used appropriately.  

    Obviously, this isn't ideal, but it is one solution that adds the basic functionality with some oversight.  You could combine this configuration with a trigger that gives you real-ish time notifications (email, Slack, PagerDuty, etc.) if you're concerned about monitoring it more proactively.  However, it'd be nice to have more control directly in the SLA policies rather than using complex workarounds.

  • Mike

    Can a ticket have SLA policies applied to it in succession?

    e.g. I've got a ticket that comes into our Tier 1 queue, to which a blanket 24 FRT SLA is applied. The agent replies back and achieves the SLA. But the ticket is not solved and needs to be escalated.

    The Tier 1 agent escalates that ticket to Tier 2.

    I have another SLA policy with 40 hour requester wait time, which should be applied to all tickets with a specific tag (applied via the escalation macro tier 1 agent used).

    That policy never gets applied. Does the ticket not get run through the SLA rules again after one SLA has been met?




  • Peter Hochstrasser

    We have the following metrics in our existing SLA:

    - 1 hour "acceptance time" for all priorities

      in this time span, we have to assign the ticket to a 2nd level agent

    - depending on priority, 1/2/4/8 hours "reaction time"

      after acceptance, we have to report an initial response by the 2nd level agent.

    - for blockers, there's a requirement for an update all 4 hours.

    There are no further requirements; there is no resolution time or some such.

    The first and last point are easy to implement, however, how do I handle and evaluate the second requirement? 

    The only idea i'd see is to "stop" the SLA after the "reaction time", i.e. first substantial response to the ticket by a 2nd level agent.


    Any pointers, ideas, tips?




  • Rebecca

    Hi Peter!

    Interesting question here! I see you opened a ticket with our Support team and appear to be in good hands. 

  • Phil Holcombe

    Zendesk support helped us understand another situation where SLAs are not behaving as expected. We use pausable update time to help ensure we keep customers informed of progress on issues that are taking a longer time ( for example because we've dependent on a supplier for an answer ). We noticed that some tickets are not showing any SLA target. The problem is caused when a public comment is added when the ticket is in pending status, or is set to pending status. In this situation, the SLA target is never set, so the ticket doesn't show any SLA breach time. It's not the most common workflow ( it's usually the customer that responds when the ticket is in pending status), but it's common enough to be confusing and annoying. The workaround is to only add public comments when the ticket is not in the pending status.

    Regrettably, it is considered 'as-design'

    If Zendesk believes this might impact others ( I had that impression ), I suggest this article is adjusted to reflect this scenario, and you can delete my comment.


    Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform.

  • Coilin Walsh

    Hello - we have a "Next Reply Time" SLA set up, but it is not working on tickets when the end user sends an email (changes the Status from Pending to Open). The ticket is set with a priority, so I'm not sure what's going on.

    Additional info: we have nearly a clone of this SLA with "First Reply Time" and that one is working correctly. What do you think is going on here?

  • Stephen Fusco

    Hey Coilin, 

    Thanks for reaching out to us! The reason the SLA wouldn't be applied could be for any number of reasons depending on the setup of the SLA policy itself. To really troubleshoot we'd have to take a look at your account and the setup of the SLA itself. 

    I noticed that you're already working with one of our agents so i'll add the contents of your comment to that ticket so we can continue troubleshooting. 

  • Lindsay Biernat

    I'm creating a First Reply Time SLA and it appears to be firing on applicable tickets in the view, but I set the time to be 10mins, and it is showing on the view as 2 days from now. I'm new to this, can anybody give me some insight as to what's going wrong?? Thanks!

  • Nicole - Community Manager

    Hey Lindsay - 

    Most likely this means that the reply time would land outside of your business hours. The system defaults to two days to account for weekends. 

  • Max McDaniel

    Hi there, we have a report set to show "# SLAs Achieved" for a certain type of tickets, which should all fall into the same SLA policy. For several days, those tickets accidentally had a different SLA policy applied which they, by definition, couldn't achieve and therefore our report shows a column of "0" for the days where the wrong policy was applied. Is there any way to salvage the report for those days?

    I ran an automation which updated those tickets, causing the SLA policy to switch for them to the correct policy, however there still do not appear to be any recorded SLAs achieved in our report.


  • Guy Dee

    Hi Max!

    Sadly there's no way to retroactively apply or analyze SLA data. Even if the correct policy has since been applied to the ticket, it will only assess its targets from that point forward; it can't go back and determine whether or not it would have been achieved if it had been applied earlier.

    Depending on the metrics your policy measures you may be able to retrieve some similar metrics for the affected tickets in a separate report, like first reply time and full resolution time, but the black-and-white Achieved vs Breached data can't be reconstructed.

    To avoid cluttering or confusing your current report, you might consider filtering out tickets from the affected date range.

  • Heather Cook

    Hi Team,


    Right at the end of the article there is this explanation:


    The system can’t modify past ticket events history from the technical point of view, that's why when a new SLA application happens, SLA counter always looking forward from that point.


    This really doesn't make sense, please can you explain? Also could someone may update the English, as I don't believe it is correct.

  • Jessie - Community Manager

    Hi Heather!

    It's a little confusing and hard to explain, but I'll try to clear it up.

    It just means that the system can't retroactively apply a new or modified SLA to tickets that breach that SLA.

    So, let's say that you create a new SLA on Wednesday. There's a ticket in your Zendesk that, according to the conditions of that new SLA, would actually have breached the SLA on Monday had it been in place at that point.

    Zendesk will show that the ticket breached the SLA on Wednesday, the date the SLA was created, rather than Monday even though that's technically when the ticket met the SLA criteria.

    I hope that makes sense!



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