Why Is Meeting Service Level Agreements So Challenging?

Mary Lou Joseph January 20, 2017

Managing to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) can be a daunting challenge, mostly because few organizations can view and track service requests and work items from the point of origin all the way through execution.

One work item can easily cross three to five functional areas, e.g., contact center, account maintenance, order fulfillment, shipping, billing, etc. And within these functions, multiple people might handle the same work item. Each person may meet their SLA or turnaround time for their task, but collectively the work item might miss its SLA due to lag time between hand-offs, an unscheduled absence that leaves a piece in someone’s work queue, or an item is “pended” until more information is obtained—but  then forgotten.

To effectively meet SLAs, organizations need to manage resources and work volumes—both new arrivals and backlog—to end service goals while still helping to ensure high quality to limit errors and rework, which will negatively impact your customer experience.

Key capabilities include the ability to:

  • Track work items against service goals
  • Re-prioritize/re-allocate work and resources intraday to meet service goals
  • Monitor work for quality, accuracy and processing compliance.

Here are some steps you can take to help improve service delivery management in your operations.

  1. Use a desktop analytics tool such as Verint Desktop and Process Analytics to tag each work item with a unique identifier and descriptive attributes, enabling your organization to track a work item through its execution and against its individual service goal, retrieve that work item for quality review and auditing purposes, and conduct cost-to-serve analyses by product type, team, department or customer segment.
  1. Utilize a production dashboard that incorporates all work types and shows in real-time actual volumes (new and backlog) against forecasted, enabling managers to proactively adjust schedules and allocation of work to meet service goals.
  1. Automate quality reviews, incorporating customer feedback into quality scores for individuals and teams to help ensure consistent and specific feedback to employees and managers for continuous improvement.

You might also benefit from reading the blog post, What Is Predictive Work Aging Analytics?” In this blog we discuss how instead of just a current-state view of work item aging, Verint Work Item Tracking can predict if work items will be completed within service goals based on resource availability and work volumes. The solution highlights at-risk items, which helps enable managers to proactively prioritize work and better meet SLAs and customer expectations.