How to speed up response time in service level agreements - SLAs

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People hate to wait, especially when there is an incident or problem to be solved. For this reason, self-service tools and applications have become increasingly commonplace.

In cases where there is no option other than “open a service call,” the Service Desk needs to respond quickly. Agility is crucial if you want to ensure user satisfaction.

That is why we have written this article discussing SLAs and response time, and in it we present strategies to optimize this time, aimed at offering users a more streamlined experience.

Understanding the relationship between the concept of SLA and Response Time

First of all, it is important to look at the concept of the SLA. A Service Level Agreement describes how the relationship should work between the supplier (in this case IT) and the customer (other areas of the company) by defining the terms for the provision of service. Every SLA contains Service Level Goals, which represent the supplier’s commitments to the customer. One of these goals is the First Response Time, which covers the time between initiating a service call to the first response of the service desk.

Knowing these goals, the “customer” already has a forecast for the response to their requests. On the other hand, this also allows the performance of services to be measured, determining whether or not they are complying with the terms of the agreement. If not compliant, it becomes easier to identify and solve problems.

If you or your team are having trouble meeting SLA goals, the strategies below may help:

1. Invest in service desk team training

The starting point is analyzing the average time each service agent takes to respond to customers. If the problem involves only one person on the team, you can try to identify the causes and suggest good practices so that they can achieve better results. Feedback meetings and individual performance reviews can be a good moment to do this.

If the problem is widespread, it may be necessary to carry out team-wide training. This way, everyone will follow the same standards for when and how to respond to each type of request. Corporate e-Learning tools make this process easier.

2. Simplify service processes

Many service desks operate using bureaucratic and inefficient processes. These result in wasted time for both the service agents and the users with requests. If this is the case at your company, think about working on process improvement.

Requesting only relevant information, facilitating scheduling and eliminating unnecessary approval steps are examples of improvements that can be implemented to help the customer get a faster response.

3. Implement Call Management Software

This may sound obvious, but many companies still do not use help desk software to handle requests and service calls. Tools like e-mail and spreadsheets do not provide accurate and reliable controls. This makes it difficult to monitor the process and, more importantly, to meet deadlines.

With an automated tool such as SoftExpert ITSM, the IT Service Desk can simplify all service management. The solution allows you to automate aspects such as SLA control and service indicators, improving communication between parties and allowing you to solve problems and incidents faster.

Managing response time is fundamental, regardless of the size of your service team. Customers want agility. You need to provide responses as quickly as possible, or risk having unsatisfied customers.

If you are interested in learning more on this topic, you can learn about other IT Service Management content that we have posted here on the blog!

Marcelo Becher


Marcelo Becher

Specialist in Strategic Management from PUC-PR. Business and market analyst at SoftExpert, a software provider for enterprise-wide business processes automation, improvement, compliance management and corporate governance.

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