Managing Multiple Service Levels and the Bliss Point of Customer Support

Written by on April 11, 2013

There is something immensely satisfying about ordering pizza. It’s not as much about the taste, though – I can think of at least a  dozen different food I’d prefer over pizza anytime. To me, the thing I love the most about pizza is reliability.

Most days, I’m hungry enough to crash if I don’t get my carbs, but also too lazy to actually drive down to a restaurant (or worse still, cook). So when the pizza guy gives me the 30 minute guarantee, I know when to expect my stomach to rumble. Just the knowledge that someone somewhere has the next thirty minutes of his life dedicated to bringing me a fresh pepperoni pizza is magical.

Service Level Agreements between you and your clients are meant for exactly this reason – (a) to give your customers the reassurance that their problems will be solved by a certain time, and (b) to give your agents the time by which they should solve this issue.

So what is a Service Level Agreement policy (and why should you care)?

A service level agreement (SLA)  is a negotiated contract between you and your customers, where you promise and guarantee them a certain level of service that they can expect from you, no matter what happens.By extension, an SLA policy lets you set standards of performance for your support team. For example, Joey, the kind gentleman who brings me steaming hot pizza has an SLA of 30 minutes to deliver my food, as long as I’m within his delivery circle. The moment I order my Margarita, we both hit our timers to synchronize my tummy rumbles with his dough-and-cheese time bomb.

In Freshdesk, your customer support Service Level Agreement refers to the maximum time by which you will respond to, and resolve a ticket. Of course, not all issues (and pizzas) are equal. In Freshdesk, you get to guarantee and drive Service Levels based on the priority of the issue.

The New Toppings: Managing Multiple SLA’s

Creating a New SLA Policy in Freshdesk

Of course, there are times when a single SLA policy just doesn’t cut it. For example, Joey the pizza guy knows that I’m a big shot in my hood (you get there, when you order in three days a week… either that or he can hear my rumbles already!). So he’s made it a point to get me my food within fifteen minutes.

Certain customers fall under the high priority radar and tickets from them have to be addressed as soon as possible. And there are always some crevices (like Finance and Dev) where tickets tend to get holed up longer than usual. Having different policies for different situations makes sure you stay true to your word every time, without getting covered in red “Ticket Overdue” warnings.

The radically cool new SLAs in Freshdesk

Freshdesk has almost always allowed businesses to enforce multiple SLA policies for different customers. But over the past couple of weeks there’s been some radical improvements and flexibility added into the way you manage service level policies. So here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know:

Creating issue-priority SLA matrix in Freshdesk

Drive SLAs based on Customer(s), Group(s), Product(s) and/or Source(s) of the ticket

Why is this such a big deal: You can now have a separate policy for your  high value customers, add a special SLA for tickets assigned to the Finance and Dev teams (and give them more time than usual), or step on the throttle and speed up resolution for tickets coming in through Twitter. Oh, or you could have any combination of these conditions too, implying that you can have a policy for tickets submitted by high value customers, through Twitter, assigned to the Finance team.

Choose “When” you want to escalate issues
Why is this such a big deal: Perhaps you want to give your team a 30 minute breathing space before escalating an issue. Or perhaps you want the right guys alerted immediately. Choosing when you want the ticket to be escalated means you have the freedom to select the right amount of breathing space for your team.

Notify everyone who should know
Why is this such a big deal: The big guns always need to know when hell breaks loose. In some support desks, a service level violation is a grievous crime, requiring the immediate attention of the whole top team. But a lot more often, when a ticket is lying with no responses it makes sense for you to get any free hand onto the case right away. And that means you need to alert all your best guys to the job.

Multi-level Escalation Hierarchies for Resolution Violations
Why is this a big deal: Ok, let me put it this way – “Who will watch the watchers?”. So a ticket was not resolved on time, and was escalated to the first level manager. Unfortunately, that’s the day the manager had to call in sick, so now there’s an overdue ticket sitting in Terra Nemo. Having an escalation hierarchy in place lets you notify the manager’s manager if the ticket is still unresolved, say 30 minutes after the first escalation. And then push it to the big boss if there are still no resolutions in sight, say an hour later.

Escalation Hierarchy for SLA Policies in Freshdesk

Having a powerful SLA policy in place can go a great way in keeping your support team focussed, and your customers happy. So go ahead, set up the right SLA policies in place and start resolving issues before the pizza goes cold. And head over to the Freshdesk Solutions page on SLAs to start creating your policies.

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