I recently had to configure enhanced SLA and entitlements within Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the process involves several steps and includes quite a few significant configuration options. Because of this I decided to document the approach I pursued.
Some organisations have quite complex service level agreements, I once had to develop an SLA solution for a company who offering services to the ministry of defence their contractual service levels (and associated penalties) were quite challenging. Therefore from experience, I know an important first step is clearly documenting detailed requirement for the management of service levels. Not forgetting to consider what should happen if a case is paused or if the priority changes part, or fails the stated thresholds etc.
Also consider if you need to use entitlements! You can only have one default SLA, so if you operate different SLAs for different customers then entitlements will probably be needed. You will also need entitlements if you want to restrict the amount of service offered to someone. For example, you might want to allow creation of cases for telephone support for up to a maximum of 20 hours in the first three months after buying a new product.
I plan to split this post into three sections. This first section will cover SLAs, the second section will expand on this to cover how entitlements come into play. And I will create a third about SLA reporting options.
Before creating your SLA rules, you’ll need to do some configuration. The Service Management area in CRM settings will give you access to all of the required components.
Service Configuration Settings
Using the service configuration settings option you can access the system settings that influence the enhanced SLA. In particular you will need to decide which cases status values should pause the SLA timer. In my example I have selected to pause the SLA if the case is put on hold or waiting for details. But if set to in progress or researching then the clock will continue to tick.
Additional options applying an entitlement may also need to be set to yes. If you do decide to use entitlements it will be quite logical to apply the default entitlement to cases.
Configure one or more calendars
You configure your normal working patterns using the customer service schedule option. Below you can see an example of a basic Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm calendar. You might need to define several calendars. For example, your standard SLA might run Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm but selected customers might have an enhanced SLA which works on a 24/7 basis. You’ll need to define each of your required working patterns ready to apply to appropriate SLA rules.
Notice below how I have said “do not observe” holidays. This might not be what is required! So next I’ll look at holiday patterns.
Using the holiday schedule option I have created a holiday schedule for the Christmas period. (Simply as an example) Notice that I have listed the dates for the three days my company will be closed for Christmas 2015. In the grey ribbon bar you can see the year. This can be rolled forward and dates entered for 2016 and so on. Hence why I created “Christmas” not “Christmas 2015”.
Note: One limitation here is that holiday shutdowns are always whole days. Part days are not possible using this option.
Again you might need several holiday schedules. For example: customers on standard contract terms not be eligible for support on any of the public holidays. Customers on enhanced terms may receive support on most holidays but maybe exceptions are still made for Christmas Day (etc).
Having created the company holiday pattern you’ll need to tweak the calendar you created to use this pattern. Below you can see that I have altered my customer service calendar to observe the holiday schedule and then associated it with my holiday schedule called Christmas.
Create a default SLA
It is quite likely that you’ll have a base level of service will apply to all cases not specifically covered by an entitlement. This can be achieved by creating a default SLA.
Note: You can only have one default SLA! It the “default” differs for different groups of customers then you’ll need address this by using entitlements. (More on that later.)
Use the Service Level Agreements option to create your default (and other) SLAs. First of all enter the details in the “General” section and save the SLA. (It will be draft at this point and not active.) The table below gives a definition of each of the columns.
|Name||Free text “English” name for the SLA.|
|Applicable From||The available options are modified on and created on. It is important to understand the meaning here! When the case is first created both options give the same result. But if the case details change and the SLA needs to be re-calculated this field governs if the recalculation should work from when the case was created or when it was changed.
For example: Assume your low priority cases have a 5 day SLA and your high priority cases have a 1 day SLA. If after three days a low priority case is escalated becoming high priority …. Do you want this to imply the case must be resolved within one more day (modified on) or do you want to report that it has already breached the SLA? (Created on)
|Business Hours||This links the SLA to the customer service schedule you’ll hopefully have created in your set-up steps.|
|SLA Type||I’m going to stick to enhanced SLA for this post! Standard SLA (with less options) is also available!!|
|Allow Pause and Resume||Allowing pause and resume. Will the status values you defined in the system systems trigger a pause in this SLA?
For example: Your standard SLA might typically allow a pause and resume. But contractual terms for customers with an enhanced SLA might not support this.
|Description||This is simply narrative to describe this SLA. Depending on the level of complexity it might be worth adding some details here. Maybe even including the applicable contractual terms.|
Having created the general details for your SLA, you can move onto the detail. You can add multiple detail records. For example, you might have a different SLA for high priority cases then medium etc. In my simple example, I am going to apply the same default SLA to all cases with a priority of high or normal. Nothing for Low as they won’t get an SLA!
It is also important for you to select which SLA KPI applies, two exist. First response and resolve by. Typically you will say that first response must be completed in 1 hour but resolution must be with 3 days. (etc!) It might be common to always have both options defined. But there are situations when only one is required. You might for example, offer a best endeavours contract when there is an agreed SLA for first response but no promise on resolution time.
Next you define what success will look like, in my example first response success means “ticking” the first response sent option on the case.
Having saved these details you will next add the actions are needed on success, warning or failure. This logic works very similar to having three mini-workflows that are triggered when these states are reached. In my simple example, I have opted to have no success or warning actions. But I send an email if the SLA is breached. Notice that the failure state is triggered after one working hour.
Having created the first response details I continued to create the resolve by KPI. It is very similar except for success this time is when the case status becomes resolved or cancelled.
Something to note on the failure after / warn after timings, the drop down only has some limited options. But you can key in any value needed. Also think of this in terms of working hours. If you work an 8 hour day a failure of 2 days would mean 6 working days. So 16 hours would mean 2 working days. Hopefully obvious ……. but I stupidly got it wrong on first attempt!!!
Finally you can see below how I’d created a first response and reolve by SLA.
Once happy with the SLA set-up, click activate in the ribbon bar. And once active, assuming this will be your default SLA click the “Set as Default” button in the ribbon.
If you change the SLA you may need to set it as default again. A step I often seem to forget when amending the SLA details!!
Now you have a default enhanced SLA, whenever a case is created the SLA will be applied and you can see ticking timers on the case form. An example of mine is below.
I hope this first post of SLAs has been useful. In my next instalment I will cover entitlements.