A service level agreement, or SLA policy, is an agreed upon measure of the response and resolution times that your support team delivers to your customers.
For example, you can define an agreement where you respond to urgent tickets in 10 minutes and resolve them within 2 hours.
Setting up SLA policies
Each SLA policy has a set structure consisting of conditions that a ticket must meet and the metrics you choose to measure. Note that you don't need to set a target for every metric when setting up an SLA policy. See Best practices for using metrics together.
To set up an SLA policy
- In Admin Center, click Objects and rules in the sidebar, then select Business rules > Service level agreements.
- Click Add policy.
- Enter a Policy Name.
- Optionally, enter a Description.
- Select the Conditions for the policy.
Start typing the condition to autocomplete or select an option from the drop-down menu.
- In the Reply targets section, enter a time target for each metric and ticket
See Reply time metrics to learn more.Note: The minimum target time you can set is one minute. You can enter hours, minutes, or both.
- In the Update targets section, enter a time target for each metric and ticket
priority. It's recommended to use only one of the two update time metrics.
See Update time metrics to learn more.
- In the Resolution targets section, enter a time target for each metric and
ticket priority. It's recommended to use only one of the resolution time metrics.
See Resolution time metrics to learn more.
- If you've set a schedule, select either calendar hours or business hours for Hours of operation for each priority.
- Click Save.
The SLA policy is created.
If you have existing SLAs, the newest SLA is added to the bottom of the list. The order of your SLA policies determines how they are applied to tickets.
To make your policies most effective, you should roughly order your policies with the most restrictive policies at the top, and your least restrictive policies at the bottom (see Ordering SLA policies).
Community tip! Mat Cropper shows how to set up SLAs so the correct policy is always applied in Running triggers, automations, and reporting based on ticket SLAs. And Mark Powell shows how to set up SLAs for time zones in Using SLAs with different time zones, contracts, and business hours.
Understanding which SLA metrics you can measure
You can define SLA service targets for seven different metrics, which include reply time, update time, and resolution time metrics.
Reply time metrics
Reply time metrics help you understand how your team is performing in regards to responding to your customers.
Reply time SLA policies apply to all ticket, chat, and messaging conversations. Note that if reply time SLAs for chat conversations aren't turned on, then only public replies count towards the reply time SLAs. See Activating reply-time SLAs for live chat.
First reply time
First reply time is the time between ticket creation and the first public comment from an agent. Use this metric to specify how much time it should take your agents to get back to your customers.
The first reply time target starts when a customer submits the ticket and stops once an agent makes a public reply to the customer. This is the most common workflow and typical behavior. In the example below, the first reply time is a combination of segments A and B:
If an agent creates a ticket on behalf of a customer with an internal note, the first reply time target starts when the customer makes a public comment and ends when the agent makes a public reply. See the example below, where the first reply time is a combination of the segments C, D, and E:
- The first reply time is not calculated on tickets if the agent creates the ticket with a public comment. This is because the SLA first reply time target is immediately satisfied. It does not activate or record an achievement.
- If a light agent makes the first comment on a ticket with an internal note, the SLA first reply time target starts at their comment and runs through the next public agent comment.
- SLA first reply time targets for side conversation tickets have additional considerations. See Defining OLA policies using internal SLAs and child ticket side conversations.
Next reply time
Next reply time is the time between the oldest unanswered customer comment and the next public comment from an agent. Use this metric to set the amount of time it takes for your team to get back to your customers.
The next reply time target starts at the oldest unanswered customer comment and stops when an agent makes a public comment. In the example below, the next reply time is shown in segment E.
The following example demonstrates the next reply time as a combination of segments C, D, and E:
Update time metrics
Update time metrics help you set how frequently you’ll keep your customers informed while their issue is being resolved.
Periodic update measures the time between each public comment from agents. Think of this as how often you want your customers to be provided updates from your team.
This metric uses the agent’s public comment as a starting point and resets after each public comment an agent makes. In the example below, periodic update is a combination of segments C, D, E:
Use the pausable update metric as an expectation of how long agents will spend on a ticket. In the example below, the pausable update is the combination of the segments B, D, and E:
The Pausable update metric applies when an agent makes the first public comment on a ticket with a New, Open, or On-hold ticket status. It pauses when the ticket is changed to the Pending status. It resumes when the status is changed to Open or On-hold with either a public comment or an internal note. Pausable update targets will not start until there is a public comment from an agent and the ticket is not in a Pending state.
Resolution time metrics
The resolution time metrics use the ticket status (or status category if custom ticket statuses activated) to determine the amount of time that was spent on the ticket.
Note that while you can choose multiple resolution time metrics, it is considered a best practice to limit your selection to one to avoid confusion.
Resolution metrics always use the status of the ticket for starting, pausing, and stopping, as opposed to comments. The following graphic shows how the resolution time metrics fit in with the lifecycle of a ticket:
Requester wait time
The requester wait time is the combined total time spent in the New, Open, and On-hold ticket statuses.
Requester wait time starts when the ticket is created and stops once the ticket is solved. It pauses when the ticket has a Pending status.
In the example below, the requester wait time is the combination of segments A, B, D, and E.
When you set this metric, consider the amount of time it should take your team to fully resolve the issue.
Agent work time
Agent work time is the combined total time spent in the New and Open ticket statuses.
This metric pauses when the ticket has an On-hold or Pending status.
In the example below the agent work time is a combination of segments A, B, and E.
When you set this metric, consider how much time an agent should spend on a ticket.
Total resolution time
Total resolution time is the total amount of time it should take to resolve a ticket, including time in a Pending status. It measures the entire lifecycle of a ticket, from when it's created until when it's solved. It doesn't pause on any ticket status changes.
Best practices for using metrics together
You don’t need to set a target for every metric in an SLA policy. The example below illustrates all the metrics and how they overlap:
- First reply time is straightforward and a good starting point if you’re not sure of which metrics you want to hold your team accountable to.
- Pick only one resolution time metric: Requester wait time, Agent work time, or Total resolution time.
- It is possible to have both next reply time and periodic update time metrics active. Your target status will display the metric closest to becoming breached.
Reopening tickets effect on an SLA
- First reply time, Next reply time: If a ticket is reopened with a public end-user comment and all conditions are met, the relevant Reply Time metrics activate new targets.
- Periodic update, Pausable update: If a ticket is reopened with an end-user comment, nothing will happen. If a ticket is reopened with a public comment from an agent, the relevant Update metrics activate new targets.
- Agent work time: This metric reactivates the same target with the same amount of time elapsed/remaining, and it treats the time in Solved status like a pause. If the ticket goes to Pending/On-hold status, it will remain paused until the ticket goes to Open status.
- Requester wait time: This metric reactivates the same target with the same amount of time elapsed/remaining, and it treats the time in Solved status like a pause. If the ticket goes to Pending status, it will remain paused until the ticket goes to Open/On-hold status.
- Total resolution time: This metric reactivates and continues to count from the ticket creation time.