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Define service level agreements (SLAs)

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 CRM. Include detailed items to define metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to attain the service level. KPIs help you get a timely warning 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. More information: Create an entitlement to define the support terms for a customer

Alternately, 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 CRM administrator or support person


On this page:

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

Create a standard SLA

Create an enhanced SLA

Set the SLA as default

Disable the SLA

How is the SLA applied?

Track SLA status and details

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

Microsoft Dynamics CRM lets you create two types of SLAs: Standard and Enhanced. We recommend that you use enhanced SLAs, which have some additional capabilities that the standard SLAs don't have. With an enhanced SLA, you can:

  • 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 communication 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.

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. Whatever action you do 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. (How do I get there?)

  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 on the command bar, click Edit.

  5. Fill in your information:

    • Name.

    • 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.

    • 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 as 24 x 7.

    • SLA Type. Select Standard.

    • 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.

  6. Click Save.

  7. 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 as per your organization's requirements. 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 CRM, 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


  8. 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 box. 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*7.


      Tip

      By default, there are four options available in the drop-down box. 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:


      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:


      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 box, 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 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 close the case form.

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

    • In the Warning Actions section, click Add Step and 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, specify the email details, and 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 as 24 x 7.


  9. 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, there can be a delay in the processing of failure or warning actions.

    • Make sure you author the SLAs in the best way suitable to your company's needs. For example, in the SLA Applicable When conditions, avoid using case fields that are updated too frequently because it 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. Whatever action you do 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. (How do I get there?)

  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 on the command bar, click Edit.

  5. Fill in your information

    • Name

    • Applicable From. Select the case 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 case is created.

    • 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 as 24 x 7.

    • SLA Type. Select Enhanced.

    • Allow Pause and Resume. Select Allow if you want the SLA to pause during the time the case is on hold. You can set the case 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.

  6. Click Save.

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

  8. 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 box.

      For example, select First Response By KPI in the SLA KPI field, and set Failure After to 2 hours from case creation. If the case 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*7.


      Tip

      By default, there are two options available in the drop-down box. If you want to track other KPIs, for enhanced SLAs ask your system customizer to create new case 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 case or related entity fields.

      For example, the conditions could be:

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


      Note

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


    • In the Success Action section, click Add Step and specify the actions that you want CRM 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 box, select Case, and in the next drop-down box, select Information Provided. This option is available only if you're creating enhanced SLAs.

    • Under SLA Item Failure, in the Failure After drop-down box, 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 specify the actions that will be taken when the success criteria are not 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 close the case form.

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

    • In the Warning Actions section, click Add Step and 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 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 as 24 x 7.


Set the SLA as default

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.

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

You can only have one default SLA at a time.


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 cases and you don't want the SLAs to apply to the cases, 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 case is created, the SLA is applied (default or through entitlement) and the related case field values are updated. When the case is modified and any of the case 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 case 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 case was updated. To avoid this, you can request that your system customizer add a custom field to the case 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.

Apply SLA on demand

With the enhancements made to SLAs, you can now apply SLAs to case records manually. It is also possible to automatically apply SLAs to cases based on your business logic (using workflows or custom plugins).

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 region of the customer 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 the case form. Ask your system administrator to add the field on the case form.

Track SLA status and details

You or the CSR working on the 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 request the 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

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 time.

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 On-Hold statuses 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.

 
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