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SLAs in the Contact Center

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Table of Contents

01

What is SLA
in a call center?

A service level agreement is a commitment made by a contact center with its customers that it will offer a certain level of service. The most popular SLA for a call center is to commit to answering a certain number of inbound calls in a certain amount of time, such as 80 percent of calls in 20 seconds.

Despite the fact that this is one of the most widely accepted service levels for call centers, there is some controversy over whether an 80/20 service level is the best measure for your call center, which we’ll go through further below.

This is a significant service delivery standard, as stated by IFC since it is directly linked to other important contact center metrics such as:

  • The Abandon Rate refers to calls that were dropped while a customer was on hold waiting to speak with a live person. According to the IFC, the global metric is between 5% and 8%.
  • The Average Speed of Answer (ASA) is a metric that counts the number of calls that aren’t answered within a certain amount of time. The global metric, according to the IFC, is 28 seconds.

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02

Why Do Contact
Centers Use SLAs?

Service level agreements are used in contact centers for the same purpose that contracts are used in all other types of business transactions i,e, to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals and is on the same page on what success looks like. It ensures that all other interactions between the two companies run smoothly.

This extends beyond the customer and the call center. Since your support agents and managers will be the ones to implement the service level agreement, they should be involved in its creation. This is an excellent opportunity to encourage communication between management and staff in order to establish some common objectives.

The final advantage of a service level agreement is to simplify planning. Once you’ve established a target service level, you’ll have a tangible objective to work toward.

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03

Why is SLA
important for call centers?

SLA is an important concept for call centers. The contact center provider’s commitment to the customer is known as a service level agreement (SLA). The commitment to have a certain level of service during the duration of the engagement. SLA also specifies how open a contact center is to its customers. As a result, if a customer signs a contract with a contact center, the SLA is highlighted. The service level has a significant impact on overall service efficiency, which has a direct impact on the client’s and call center provider’s revenue. So, if the call center service provider has a history of breaching SLA terms, it means that the service level is not in line with the stated SLA.

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04

How to calculate SLA?

SLAs in the Contact Center SLAs in the Contact Center

The Service Level Formula

As a result, you’ll have a percentage service standard.

It’s really that easy.

The Service Level Threshold, for example, is 20 seconds if a company’s goal is to answer 80% of all calls within 20 seconds.

Worked Example

Each of the pieces of data used in the equation below can be found in the contact center’s Automated Call Distribution (ACD) system or, if that isn’t possible, it can be found in Call Detail Records (CDRs).

Number of calls answered within the service level threshold = 136

Number of calls offered = 170

An example of the service level formula in action:

SLAs in the Contact Center SLAs in the Contact Center

If it is difficult to do so in real-time, a new service level should be determined for each new reporting time, which for most contact centers will be every half hour.

This allows the contact center to determine if they have the right number of advisors on hand to manage varying call volumes during the day.

05

What Is the Best Way to Determine a Winning Service Level?

There are many ways to set realistic service levels in your SLA, but they all necessitate a thorough understanding of your customers, call center, and staff, as well as how they function.

Here are a few more basic service level agreement best practices for your call center. Remember that service level agreements are in place to ensure both your and your client’s interests; don’t forget to protect your company when agreeing to client demands.

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06

Service Level
Agreement Best Practices

It is important to meet the service standards specified in your SLA, so it is wise to follow these best practices.

Be Reasonable

If you don’t have the resources, technology, staff capacity, or experience to reach a service level, don’t commit to it; it’s tempting to overstretch or be optimistic about potential development, but the best thing a call center manager can do in an SLA is to leave some space for error and instead overdeliver.

Protect Yourself From Financial Loss

If you’re unreasonable and don’t fulfill your service level, you might have to refund customers, or worse, you might lose the client due to a breach of contract. Service level agreements are aimed at protecting both your and your client’s interests; but, don’t forget to protect your company’s interests when agreeing to client demands.

Do Your Research

To be able to set a reasonable service level, you must first consider your contact center’s bandwidth. It’s important to know how the team reacts during periods of high call volume and other emergencies, as well as on a regular basis. Patience, trial-and-error, and possibly the assistance of a consultant are all needed. ‌

Determine the Causes of Service Level Slowdown

Service level can be viewed as a goal or a measurement. Longer calls, incorrect forecasts, inaccurate scheduling, volume fluctuations, and other factors may all have an effect on service quality.

Results must be communicated

Service level results must not be kept a secret. It should be prominently displayed for all agents and teams to see and take note of. This will give different teams a clear picture and allow them to prepare when necessary. Data sharing makes processes more transparent and improves business outcomes.

Take Appropriate Action

Data is worthless unless it is used. Managers should take corrective measures as soon as they notice a slowdown in service quality. Routing overflow calls to at-home agents, allowing in-house agents to work a little longer during busy seasons, adjusting agent break times, and other steps will help companies get back on track with their customer service.

If you remember these best practices, you’ll be well on your way to creating a service-level agreement that you can live with.

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07

Finding the Right Call Center Service Levels

Since the outcomes of different Center Service Levels vary based on the date chosen, you must ensure that all of the criteria are well specified. This is simple to accomplish if you follow this checklist:

  • Decide if abandoned calls should be counted, treated as missed opportunities, or ignored.
  • Decide how much you’ll measure: hopefully, you’ll want to do so on a regular basis. Since this isn’t always possible logistically, make sure you’re measuring at intervals that accurately represent your day-to-day operations.
  • Select a time interval: different time intervals would have a direct effect on your performance.

Invest in the right tools: Dedicated call center software will help you increase the accuracy of your service levels dramatically. The right program will assist you in making the appropriate changes based on your measurements by gathering and processing large quantities of data.

08

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen, Call Center Service Levels can be confusing, which is why it’s important to make sure they’re assessed correctly. As is often the case with call center data, advances in software technology, such as speech analytics and customer experience analytics, will greatly assist managers in gaining a better picture of agent success as well as the call center’s overall performance.

Finally, if you’re dealing with customers who need Call Center Service Levels, the formulas should be open to all so that they can understand them. This point is generally determined during a contract between the call center and the customer, and most of them may provide a clause to allow a 10% difference in the results as a fair solution.