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Define service level agreements (Customer Service)

Define the level of service or support that your organization agrees to offer to a customer by using service level agreements (SLAs) in Microsoft Dynamics 365. Include detailed items to define metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to attain the service level. KPIs help you get timely warnings on your team’s issues while providing support.

You can associate an SLA with an entitlement so that when an entitlement is added to a case, the associated SLA is also applied. You can associate only SLAs that are created for the Case entity with entitlements. More information:   Create an entitlement to define the support terms for a customer (Customer Service)

Alternatively, you can set up a default SLA for the organization.


Important

This feature was introduced in CRM Online Spring '14 update and in CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (on-premises).

Interested in getting this feature? More information: Find your Dynamics 365 administrator or support person


On this page

Standard vs. enhanced SLAs: What’s the difference?

Entities (record types) that support SLA

Create a standard SLA

Create an enhanced SLA

Set the SLA as default

Disable the SLA

How is the SLA applied?

Apply SLA on demand

Track SLA status and details on the case record

Standard vs. enhanced SLAs: What’s the difference?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 lets you create two types of SLAs: Standard and Enhanced. Standard SLAs can only be created for the Case entity. We recommend that you use enhanced SLAs, which have some additional capabilities that standard SLAs don’t have. With an enhanced SLA, you can:

  • Create SLAs for entities other than Case.

  • Pause an SLA when the case is on hold, so that the time the case is on hold isn’t considered in SLA calculations.

  • Add success actions to an SLA. For example, you may want to send communications internally or outside your organization when the SLA has succeeded. Success actions are initiated only when the success condition is met on time, not when it is breached.

  • Track SLA statuses and times right on the case form by default. These details are tracked through the SLA KPI Instance record type.

Entities (record types) that support SLA

In previous releases, you could create SLAs only for case records. With CRM Online 2016 Update 1 and CRM 2016 SP1, you can now create enhanced SLAs for entities that are enabled for SLA. A system administrator or customizer can enable SLAs for the following entities:

  • Account

  • Contact

  • Order

  • Invoice

  • Quote

  • Opportunity

  • Lead

  • All activity entities like email, phone, and appointment except recurring appointment and its instances


    Note

    SLA can also be enabled for custom entities and custom activities.


For more information, see Enable entities for service level agreements (Customer Service).

Create a standard SLA

  1. Make sure that you have the Customer Service Manager, System Administrator, or System Customizer security role or equivalent permissions.

    When you activate an SLA, a corresponding workflow is also created. For every action you perform on the SLA, you must have permissions to perform the same action on workflows. The SLA is applied in context to the permissions that the owner of the SLA has.

    Check your security role

    • Follow the steps in View your user profile.

    • Don’t have the correct permissions? Contact your system administrator.

  2. Go to Settings > Service Management.

  3. Go to Service Level Agreements.

  4. To create a new SLA, on the command bar, click the New button.

    -OR-

    To edit an SLA, in the list of records, select the SLA, and then on the command bar, click Edit.

  5. If you're creating a new SLA, you'll see the Create SLA dialog box. Type a name for the SLA, and then in the Entity drop-down list, select Case.

    You do this because you can create a standard SLA only for the Case entity.

  6. Fill in your information:

    • Applicable From. Select the case field that specifies the date and time from which the SLA items will be calculated. For example, if you click the Created On field, the calculations for service level agreements will start from the time the case is created.


      Note

      You can have multiple SLA KPIs within one SLA. The start time for different SLA KPIs within an SLA is set at the SLA level and can't be different across SLA KPIs. The start time is determined by the Applicable From field value.


    • Business Hours. Select a customer service schedule record that defines your support organization’s business hours. This is useful in the SLA time-tracking calculations. If a business hours record (customer service schedule) isn’t selected, the work hours are considered to be 24 x 7.

    • SLA Type. Select Standard.

      You can select Standard only when the Entity field is set to Case.

    • Allow Pause and Resume. Select Do Not Allow. Because standard SLAs do not support pausing and resuming of SLAs, you can set this field to Allow only when you’re creating an enhanced SLA.

  7. Click Save.

  8. To add SLA details, in the SLA Details section, click the Add button .

    You add SLA details to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics for the service level agreement. You can define any KPI your organization needs. For example, a KPI could be that all cases for standard customers must be resolved within five days of case creation.

    Define success criteria and the failure and warning actions that need to be taken when a service level metric isn’t met for a customer case.

    SLA KPIs are performance indicators that you’d like to track, for example First Response or Resolve By. SLA items refer to SLA KPIs based on specific conditions. You can add multiple SLA items and arrange them in the order that works for you. For any given KPI, only the first SLA item that matches the conditions in the Applicable When section is applied.


    Note

    In Microsoft Dynamics 365, SLA and SLA KPIs (SLA details) use the process (workflow) functionality. Although SLA KPIs use workflows, not all of the actions available in workflows are available for defining the failure and warning actions. The available actions are currently limited to Send Email, Create Record, Update Record, Assign Record, and Change Status. More information:   TechNet: Create and edit processes


  9. Fill in the information in the New SLA Item form:

    • Name. Type a meaningful name.

    • Related Case Field. Select a field of DateTime type of the case record that this SLA item refers to. For example, if you are creating a KPI for sending the first response within a specified time, select the First Response By option from the drop-down list. If required, ask your system customizer to create new fields of type DateTime.

      When a case record is created or updated, in the case record this field is set to the date and time when the failure time will be reached for the respective SLA item. For example, select First Response By in Related Case Field, and set Failure After to 2 hours from case creation. If the case is created at 09:00, the First Response By field in the case record will be set to 11:00, assuming the business hours are 24 x 7.


      Tip

      By default, there are four options available in the drop-down list. If you want to track other KPIs, ask your system customizer to create case fields of type date-time.


    • In the Applicable When section, define the conditions under which the KPI will be applicable. The condition can be based on case or related entity fields.

      For example, the conditions could be as shown here.


      Note

      If there are multiple clauses, and you don’t use AND or OR grouping, by default the clauses will use the AND grouping.


    • In the Success Criteria section, specify the conditions to define when the KPI will be considered as met. For example, the conditions could be as shown here.


      Note

      Before you specify the SLA failure and warning actions, save the SLA item record.


    • Under SLA Item Failure, in the Failure After drop-down list, select when the SLA items will be considered as failed. For example, if you select 1 hour, the KPI will be considered as failed if the first response is not done within 1 hour of case creation. 1 hour is calculated based on the value in date/time field that you select in the Applicable From field of the SLA record.

    • In the Failure Actions section, click Add Step, and then specify the actions that will be taken when the success criteria isn’t met and the case has exceeded the specified failure time. For example, to mark the case for escalation when the KPI has failed, click Add Step > Update Record. Then select Case and click Set Properties. Now in the case record, change the value of the Is Escalated field, and then close the case form.

    • Under SLA Item Warning, in the Warn After drop-down list, select when a warning is to be raised for the KPI nearing violation.

    • In the Warning Actions section, click Add Step, and then specify the actions to be taken when the KPI reaches the warning time. For example, to warn the case owner about the KPI nearing violation, click Add Step > Send Email. Then select Create New Message and click Set Properties. Now in the email record, type the email details, and then close the email form.


      Note

      The time for failure and warning is calculated after considering the business hours selected in the SLA record. If a business hours record (customer service schedule) isn’t selected, the work hours are considered to be 24 x 7.



    Important

    Make sure that you don't have too many SLA Items in an SLA, because that can directly impact the create and update operations on the record on which the SLA is applied or re-evaluated. We recommend you not have more than 15 SLA items in an SLA record for performance reasons.


  10. Click Save and Close.


    Important

    • The failure and warning actions run asynchronously and may not get triggered exactly at the failure or warning time.

    • If the failure or warning times are set to less than 1 hour, processing of failure or warning actions may be delayed.

    • Make sure you author the SLAs in a best way suited to your company’s needs. For example, in the SLA Applicable When conditions, avoid using case fields that are updated too frequently, because that may lead to frequent SLA computation and impact performance.


Create an enhanced SLA

  1. Make sure that you have the Customer Service Manager, System Administrator, or System Customizer security role or equivalent permissions.

    When you activate an SLA, a corresponding workflow is also created. For every action you perform on the SLA, you must have permissions to perform the same action on workflows. The SLA is applied in context to the permissions that the owner of the SLA has.

    Check your security role

    • Follow the steps in View your user profile.

    • Don’t have the correct permissions? Contact your system administrator.

  2. Go to Settings > Service Management.

  3. Go to Service Level Agreements.

  4. To create a new SLA, click the New button.

    -OR-

    To edit an SLA, in the list of records, select the SLA, and then on the command bar, click Edit.

  5. If you're creating a new SLA, you'll see the Create SLA dialog box. Type a name for the SLA, and then select the entity for which you want to create the SLA.

  6. Fill in your information

    • Applicable From. Select the field that specifies the date and time from which the SLA items will be calculated. For example, if you select the Created On field, the calculations for service level agreements will start from the time the record is created.


      Note

      You can have multiple SLA KPIs within one SLA. The start time for different SLA KPIs within an SLA is set at the SLA level and can't be different across SLA KPIs. The start time is determined by the Applicable From field value.


    • Business Hours. Select a customer service schedule record that defines your support organization’s business hours. This is useful in the SLA time-tracking calculations. If a business hours record (customer service schedule) isn’t selected, the work hours are considered to be 24 x 7.

    • SLA Type. Select Enhanced.

      If you're creating an SLA for an entity other than Case,, this field is automatically set to Enhanced, and can't be changed.

    • Allow Pause and Resume. Select Allow if you want the SLA to pause during the time the record is on hold. For each entity that's enabled for SLA, you can set the statuses that will be considered “on hold” in the Service tab of System Settings dialog box. More information:   System Settings dialog box - Service tab. You can set this field to Allow only when you’re creating an enhanced SLA.

  7. Click Save.

  8. To add SLA details, in the SLA Details section, click the Add button .

  9. Fill in your information in the SLA Item form:

    • Name. Type a meaningful name.

    • SLA KPI. Select the key performance indicator the SLA item is about. For example, if you are creating a KPI for sending the first response within a specified time, select the First Response By KPI option from the drop-down list.

      For example, select First Response By KPI in the SLA KPI field, and set Failure After to 2 hours from record creation. If the record is created at 09:00, the Failure Time field of the SLA KPI Instance record is set to 11:00 assuming the business hours are 24 x 7.


      Tip

      If you're creating an SLA for a Case entity, b y default, there are two options available in the drop-down list. If you want to track other KPIs for Case or if you're creating the SLA for entities other than Case , ask your system customizer to create new fields (of type lookup) that refer to the SLA KPI Instance entity.


    • In the Applicable When section, define the conditions under which the KPI will be applicable. The condition can be based on primary entity or related entity fields.

      For example, the conditions could be as follows.

    • In the Success Criteria section, specify the conditions to define when the KPI will be considered as met. For example, the conditions could be as follows.


      Note

      Before you specify the SLA failure and warning details, save the SLA item record.


    • In the Success Action section, click Add Step, and then specify the actions that you want Dynamics 365 to take when the success criteria is met before the violation time. For example, click Add Step > Change Status. Then, in the first drop-down list, select Case, and in the next drop-down list, select Information Provided. This option is available only if you’re creating enhanced SLAs.

    • Under SLA Item Failure, in the Failure After drop-down list, select when the SLA items will be considered as failed. For example, if you select 1 hour, the KPI will be considered as failed if the first response is not done within 1 hour of case creation. 1 hour is calculated based on the value in date/time field that you select in the Applicable From field of the SLA record.

    • In the Failure Actions section, click Add Step, and then specify the actions that will be taken when the success criteria are not met and the record has exceeded the specified failure time. For example, to mark a case for escalation when the KPI has failed, click Add Step > Update Record. Then select Case and click Set Properties. Now in the case record, change the value of the Is Escalated field, and then close the case form.

    • Under SLA Item Warning, in the Warn After drop-down list, select when a warning is to be raised for the KPI nearing violation.

    • In the Warning Actions section, click Add Step, and then specify the actions to be taken when the KPI reaches the warning time. For example, to warn the case owner about the KPI nearing violation, click Add Step > Send Email. Then select Create New Message and click Set Properties. In the email record, specify the email details, and then close the email form.


      Note

      The time for failure and warning is calculated after considering the business hours selected in the SLA record. If a business hours record (customer service schedule) isn’t selected, the work hours are considered to be 24 x 7.


To help you get started with creating SLAs for other entities, here are a couple of sample SLA KPIs for the lead entity.

SLA KPI 1: Contact the customer (tracks if the salesperson has contacted the customer within the specific timeline)

Applicable when

Success condition

Failure time

Failure action

Warning time

Warning action

Rating = Hot

Status = Contacted

1 day

Send an escalation email to the sales manager

16 hours

Send a warning email to the salesperson

Rating = Warm

Status = Contacted

2 days

Send an escalation email to the sales manager

1.5 days

Send a warning email to the salesperson

Default

Status = Contacted

7 days

Send an escalation email to the sales manager

5 days

Send a warning email to the salesperson

SLA KPI 2: Action on lead (tracks if the salesperson has taken necessary action on the lead within specific timeline)

Applicable when

Success condition

Failure time

Failure action

Warning time

Warning action

Rating = Hot

Status = Qualified or Disqualified

2 days

Send an escalation email to the sales manager

1.5 hours

Send a warning email to the salesperson

Rating = Warm

Status = Qualified or Disqualified

5 days

Send an escalation email to the sales manager

4 days

Send a warning email to the salesperson

Default

Status = Qualified or Disqualified

15 days

Send an escalation email to the sales manager

12 days

Send a warning email to the salesperson


Important

  • We do not recommend creating or updating SLAs by using Dynamics 365 for Outlook. Use the Dynamics 365 web application for this purpose.

  • Make sure that you don't have too many SLA Items in an SLA, because that can directly impact the create and update operations on the record on which the SLA is applied or re-evaluated. We recommend you not have more than 15 SLA items in an SLA record for performance reasons.


Set the SLA as default

For case entity, make an SLA a default one if you want it to apply to all the cases that don’t have an SLA applied through an entitlement. This is useful when a customer wants a service level agreement without an entitlement.

For all other entities, select a default SLA. You can have one default SLA for each entity that is enabled for SLA.

To set an SLA as the default, select an active SLA from the list, and then click Set as Default on the command bar.


Note

If you deactivate a default SLA, you must activate it again before resetting it as the default.


Disable the SLA

During maintenance activities or when you’re importing records and you don’t want the SLAs to apply, you can disable SLAs for the organization. A system administrator can disable SLAs from the System Settings. More information:   System Settings dialog box - Service tab

How is the SLA applied?

When a record is created, the SLA is applied (default or through entitlement for the Case entity) and the related record field values are updated. When the record is modified and any of the record field values change, that is, when the fields that are added in the Applicable When conditions of the SLA change, the SLA is applied again. For example, if the priority of the case changes from Normal to High, and according to the SLA the first response should happen soon, the SLA is reapplied to make sure the KPIs are tracked based on the updated values.

When the SLA is applied again, all the SLA items are evaluated based on the updated record fields and the failure or warning actions are initiated if the time has been exceeded. This happens even if the failure or warning actions were already initiated before the record was updated. To avoid this, you can request that your system customizer add a custom field to the entity (to track if the failure/warning actions were already taken) and add it to the Applicable When condition so that the actions aren’t initiated multiple times.


Note

You can only have one SLA running on one record. When an entity record is updated with a different SLA, the previously applied SLA is canceled.


Apply SLA on demand

With the enhancements made to SLAs, you can now apply SLAs to records manually. You can also automatically apply SLAs to records based on your business logic (using workflows or custom plug-ins).

For example, if your customers are spread across geographies, you can have multiple SLAs with different business hours and holiday schedules for different geographies. You can set up business logic to apply SLAs on case records based on the customer's region to make sure that the SLA time calculation happens based on the correct geography.

To create workflows so SLAs are automatically applied, talk to your customer service managers, administrator, or customizer. More information:   TechNet: Workflow processes

To apply SLAs on-demand manually, choose the SLA in the SLA field. This field is not available by default on entity forms. Ask your system administrator to add the field on the entity form.

Track SLA status and details on the case record

The CSR working on a case can see the SLA details right on the case form.

The following table explains what happens when a standard or enhanced SLA applies to a case form.

Case form with standard SLA applied

Case form with enhanced SLA applied

Only the failure time is tracked and saved on the case record.

You can ask your system administrator or customizer to add a timer to the case form. The timer shows the time remaining to meet the SLA or the time elapsed since the SLA failed. More information:   Add a timer control to the Case form to track time against an SLA (Customer Service)

When an enhanced SLA is applied to a case, a related SLA KPI Instance record is created for each SLA KPI that is tracked for that case. In the Enhanced SLA Details section of the case record, you’ll see a timer and also the SLA KPI instances for the case with their statuses and failure and warning times.

When a service rep puts a case on hold, the status of the SLA KPI Instance is set to Paused. You can see the time for which a case was on hold and the last time the case was put on hold. These details are not available on the case form by default, but your system customizer can add these fields on the case form for you. The on hold time is the time for which the case was set to a status that you defined as an On-Hold status in the System settings dialog box. More information:   System Settings dialog box - Service tab

When the service rep resumes a case, the status of the SLA KPI Instance record is updated. The following details are updated in the record if the SLA isn’t violated:

  • Failure time

  • Warning time

  • Total time the case is on hold

If the service rep puts the case on hold after the warning time, then the warning time isn’t updated when the case is resumed.


Important

To track SLAs for entities other than case, ask your system administrator or customizer to add an enhanced SLA timer on the entity forms. More information: Add a timer to forms to track time against enhanced SLAs (Customer Service)