What Is A Service Level Agreement?: Its Value And What It Looks Like

Sep 10, 2020

What Is A Service Level Agreement?: Its Value And What It Looks Like

Remember being in school and getting graded on homework, tests and quizzes? For some, it brought a level of anxiety and for others it brought excitement. If you were the type of person who was excited to see what they missed and saw that as an opportunity to improve for next time, then you already understand the value of service level agreements. If, however, you were the type of person that hated to see what you missed, then this blog is perfect for you to review! Read on as we uncover the power of a SLA.

First Things First, What’s A SLA?

As Hubspot defines it, a service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract that establishes a set of deliverables that one party has agreed to provide another. It allows for both parties to be held accountable for their agreed upon roles and responsibilities while also tracking any improvements or opportunities. Think of a SLA as a list of KPIs (key performance indicators) that are documented and both parties are aligned with.

Service Level Agreements At SupportNinja

At SupportNinja, we believe that clearly defined performance standards like SLAs, KPIs, and OKRs foster a positive professional culture. If handled correctly, SLAs can become liberating. The way we see it, falling short of a SLA isn't a weakness, it's a sign that something should be adjusted in the business process. It also provides a framework for re-evaluating and resetting expectations in the face of changing business conditions.

SupportNinja SLA Examples

First response time (FRT) for email: 

30 minutes

Total online time (time on calls/chats + time to take an incoming inquiry): 

32+ hours per week




250+ tickets per week (combined between phone, chat and email channels)

Call completion rate: 


SLAs Come In A Variety Of Ways

Usually, here at SupportNinja, this type of discussion and agreement happens over the phone. Depending on the client, the agreement may list first response time as the KPI, while others may focus on other KPIs such as those listed in our onboarding survey. At the end of the day, SupportNinja’s team is focused on making sure your KPIs and corresponding SLAs work toward providing your customers the experience you want to promise to them. 

Not sure what SLAs you should be tracking? That’s where we can come in. This can be as simple as a “plug and play” discussion depending on what work our Ninjas perform in their role, or, our teams will help guide you in choosing the right SLAs for your team based on an in depth discussion of your company’s vision and goals, and the experience you want for your customers. 

What more can SLAs do for you? Have you ever considered how your customers may view a lightning fast response from a support agent, only to be asked to connect with someone else in support via another email address or phone number, or to wait for several days or longer to see a resolution to their initial complaint? There are some “easy hitter” KPIs such as First Response Time, but if your goal is to provide next level satisfaction to your customers, it is worth your time to discover the valuable insights you can gain from implementing SLAs such as Average Resolution Time, Resolution Rate, or Conversation Volume, etc. 

Whether you use Zendesk or not, a great resource for checking how you stack up against competitors in your industry is this Benchmark Analysis. Simply select your industry, and gauge your competition!

[Featured Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash]