How to Automate Ticketing to Fulfill Service Level Agreements & Objectives

5-Oct 2021
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Joshua Tan DIRECTOR OF SUPPORT

By far one of the most popular automation requests we get from Accelo users (especially managed service providers and IT consultants) is about how to configure a ticketing system, complete with service level agreements and objectives. 

For most businesses in this industry, maintaining rapport with your clients is very dependent on how well you can maintain these contracted levels of commitment and service delivery in a timely manner.

Service-Level Agreement vs. Service-Level Objective

A Service-Level Agreement (SLA) is a defined commitment between a service provider and a client in regards to particular aspects of that service delivery specified within a contract. 

A Service-Level Objective (SLO), on the other hand, is the specific objective that your team must hit to meet that commitment. Common examples within our Tickets product include: 

  • Average Time to Respond
  • Time to Resolve
  • Submitted Time Stamp
  • Opened Time Stamp
  • Escalation Date
  • Time Spent as a Request
  • Total Time for Incident
  • Ticket Age
  • Total Time Spent
  • Days to Address
  • Time to Close

*Source: Atlassian 

Custom Fields and Time Stamps

As you might imagine, with your out-of-the-box Tickets product, Accelo is already tracking many of these common fields. These are viewable on our list screens, Ticket dashboard, and ticket data exports as CSVs. 

Still, common requests for our professional services and support teams often include how to go beyond the typical plug-and-play model and introduce SLAs that apply to your specific business, which may vary from one another.

Having implemented countless versions of Accelo, I’ve seen how businesses (including our own) have set up custom fields and time-stamps while aligning them with triggers and automations to get the SLA results needed to deliver outstanding service. 

How to set up your own SLAs in 7 easy steps:

Step One: Accessing a ticket type

First is the classic custom status time-stamp via a custom field. Whenever you create a new request or ticket in Accelo, we automatically track standard fields such as Submitted Date and Opened Date. 

Oftentimes you’ll want to collect unique time-stamps at different points in the ticket life-cycle. Let’s take a simple use-case of a support manager looking to track data on when the work in progress began on all tickets. 

Within Settings in the bottom-left corner of the screen go to > Tickets > Types, Progressions & Fields > Select the desired Type

Step Two: Creating a custom field

You can do so by creating a custom field within the desired ticket type and label it with their own internal designation. Select the field type Date & Time.

Step Three: Embedding the custom field into your workflow

Next, back on the Status Progression page, you can insert your newly created custom field time-stamp into a progression via an action step:

Select Update Field under the + Add Action button. In the next window, select your custom field. Define the Default Value as Today (which is a time-stamp for the exact moment the status is changed). Set the Required box and Hidden box to Yes. This means the entire process will run silently in the background, without your front-end user ever having to notice.

Step Four: Adding additional fields

Of course, you may also introduce custom fields that update outside of the ticket progression workflow, via event-based triggers

In this example, I’ve created a similar time-stamp date field, but this one will be updated once one of your internal staff first reaches out to the client regarding this ticket. 

Step Five: Creating an event-based trigger

The field can be updated via a trigger, which can be found on the third tab of the ticket type. This is an event-based trigger, which means it will run based on a specified occurrence.

Under Event Preferences, you’ve set this to run based on any activities generated by my Staff, and specified those to include Emails, Meetings or Calls logged.

Step Six: Defining the rules

Under Rules, make sure to specify the ticket statuses which you want this to run under.

Step Seven: Specify the action(s)

Finally, under Actions, you can add a new action to update your newly created time-stamp custom field, similar to before.

With all of these time-stamp custom fields, you can get creative with how you’d like to set up guard rails in your Accelo ticketing process to stay within your client SLAs. I’ve created an additional trigger to help me stay on task for my top priority tickets.

BONUS: How to Create an Ongoing Trigger

This time I am creating an ongoing (repeatable) trigger, by setting the Trigger Frequency to "allow to fire more than once." With these recurring triggers, it's a good idea to consider the time frame. 

If my team works Monday - Friday, I would limit this trigger to only fire on weekdays, preventing my team from getting extra alerts over the weekend.

Under the Rules tab, I’ve specified I only want this trigger to run if my staff has not reached out to the client yet (via my custom field: First outreach being blank) AND if the ticket’s submitted time (a native field) is already 30 minutes past.

This time, the action will be an immediate alert sent to my entire support staff to get all hands on deck to address this critical issue that has slipped through the cracks and remained under our radar!

Conclusion - Building out Your Ticketing System is Worth It

Investing the time to build a more robust ticketing system, complete with a system of custom fields and triggers, can be daunting at first. However, it will ultimately be worth the time and effort to ensure the success of your organization’s timely delivery of services and ensure your client satisfaction. 

Our own professional services team can assist you with that! Having set up hundreds of ticketing systems across a wide array of industries on our platform, we have the experience, knowledge, and best practices on how to use our premium ticketing product’s many intricate tools and features to bring the most value to your team. 

Not sure where to start? Request an Accelo Expert Service consultation today!

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