Establishing service level agreements (SLAs) and escalations

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a useful tool for achieving good customer service. In GFI HelpDesk, you can build SLAs that set time limits for either ticket replies or ticket resolution. This gives you an easy way to track which tickets need the most immediate attention.

The other part of the SLA equation is escalations. An escalation is an action or set of actions that GFI HelpDesk can perform automatically when a support ticket has failed to meet an SLA.

Understanding how SLAs come together in GFI HelpDesk

The process for establishing an SLA in GFI HelpDesk follows three basic steps:

  • Adding your support team’s schedule to GFI HelpDesk.
  • Establishing an SLA to track your team's targets for response or resolution times.
  • Creating an escalation that acts on support tickets that don't meet their SLAs.

GFI HelpDesk calculates whether a ticket has breached an SLA's time limits based on your team's working hours.

Suppose your support team keeps daily office hours from 9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M, which is 8 hours. If you use an SLA plan with a 24-hour reply time, that means that any ticket with that particular SLA must be replied to within 24 working hours. In other words, your team would have 3 working days (8*3=24) to reply to that ticket.

For any ticket that is not replied to within that time frame, you can create an escalation that makes sure your team follows up on it. Escalations can perform a variety of actions like changing the ticket's priority, assigning it to a particular staff user, or moving it to another department.

You can set up different SLAs to handle different types of support tickets. For example, you could use tags to distinguish simple 'How-to' requests from more complex 'network configuration' issues, and then set up separate SLAs to handle each.

'How-to' tickets might have a 2-hour reply time because they are relatively easy to address, while 'network configuration' issues might have a 6-hour reply time, since they can take more time to investigate.

The topic below discusses a step-by-step process of setting up a new SLA.

As an example, the new SLA is to be set up for a team that provides support from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday-Friday, with weekends off.

In that timeframe, we ensure that any ticket marked 'High' priority is replied within 2 hours and resolved within 4 hours, at the max.

Additionally, if a ticket misses either of them, we're going to make sure the ticket gets escalated by bumping its priority up to 'Critical' and sending an email to the staff member assigned to the ticket.