The Critical Role of SLAs in Customer Service and How Service CRM Helps

No two businesses are alike. However, every company knows one truth: finding new customers is hard work. That’s why keeping your existing customers happy is so crucial. Naturally, if you are a service manager, you have to think: what makes customers stick around? The answer is ‘satisfaction’, of course. It’s no surprise that CSAT scores are a hot topic in every customer service department.

Now, while high CSAT scores are important, the way many companies approach it is, at best, highly flawed. You can’t expect customers to be happy if your customer service team is working in the dark. Unfortunate as it is, most customer service teams work in the dark. They react to problems and never understand why they happen, why they matter to the customers, what counts as satisfactory resolution, and so on. This is a massive gap, and that is why SLAs exist – to plug this gap and to marry ‘what service professionals do’ with ‘what customers want them to do’. 

How can SLAs align customer service teams with customer expectations?

SLAs are the daily micro-targets that guide your team toward meaningful work. They’re the backbone of a scientific management style. They make success a part of the design, not a matter of chanceBut surprisingly, SLAs are rarely used in B2C settings and are often used carelessly in B2B.

Over time, SLAs can lose their effectiveness and become something to be ‘managed’, often with recourse to questionable workarounds and prevarication tactics. This happens because SLAs often feel like a burden, not a reflection of the team’s work. But what if they could be the secret sauce to customer service greatness?

How to make SLAs the secret sauce of greatness in your customer service?

Here’s the thing: SLAs shouldn’t be based on industry standards. Instead, they should be tailored to your specific business – what you sell, how you sell it, and whom you sell it to. SLAs are essentially an unambiguous indicator of daily performance and progress. But the key to making SLSs help service professionals do the right work, and do it the right way, is to design them the right way. 

Start by creating granular SLAs based on what you think your customers want. Then, fine-tune them based on actual customer behaviour. This change improves customer satisfaction significantly, as critical issues are addressed promptly, and less urgent matters still receive adequate attention. For example, consider a B2B software company that sells project management tools to small and medium-sized businesses. This company already has a tiered response system in place, with SLAs for different severity levels: critical issues within two hours, high-priority issues within 12 hours, and low-priority issues within 24 hours.

As they gather data, they notice a pattern. 

  • Critical issues, like system outages, are well-handled with the two-hour response time. 
  • However, they find that 12 hours is too long for high-priority issues, such as users being unable to log in or access purchased features. These problems significantly impact productivity and customer satisfaction if not resolved within the same business day. To address this, the company adjusts the SLA for high-priority issues to four hours, ensuring that these critical user experiences are resolved promptly.
  • On the other hand, low-priority issues, which don’t significantly affect customer satisfaction, are reassessed. The company extends the SLA for these issues to 48 hours.

These changes significantly improve customer satisfaction. High-priority issues are addressed within a more appropriate timeframe, reducing downtime for users, while low-priority matters receive adequate attention without overwhelming the support team. However, very few companies are able to bring this granularity to their SLA design. Why’s it so?

A flexible service CRM is the prerequisite of SLAs that work

For effective SLA design and fine-tuning, you need a robust service CRM. Let’s understand the key qualities of a service CRM that can support the SLA-led planning style in an organization.

  1. First, your service CRM should faithfully replicate your workflows. This means every step your team takes can be mirrored in the system.
  2. Second, it should capture data for every step. That’s how you gain a clearer picture of how your processes are working and where improvements are needed.
  3. Your service CRM should reveal insights from the data. It’s not enough to just collect data. You need to understand it. A good CRM helps you see patterns and trends that can guide your SLA adjustments.
  4. Most importantly, it should let workflows evolve based on customer needs and team performance. As you learn more about what your customers value and how your team operates, you should be able to tweak your processes to better meet those needs. This adaptability in the CRM is crucial for keeping your SLAs relevant and effective.

Now, every service CRM claims to offer these facilities. But only a few get the first three right, and almost none get the fourth right. The problem is in the rigidity of traditional CRM.

Why traditional CRM can’t help and why low-code service CRM can

Traditional CRMs (hard-coded) are rigid, hard to customize, and expensive to maintain. Hard-coded CRMs are so tough to change that organizations can’t find the budget or time for their IT teams to keep them updated.

Low-code CRMs, however, can overcome this problem. How? By making it easy for any user to become a developer, even if they have never coded before.

How is this possible?

Low-code service CRMs are built on these five pillars:

  • A visual editor that lets you stitch together workflows, with code generated automatically in the background.
  • Templates that you can modify from standard use cases.
  • Dashboards that fetch data accurately from any source and perform the right operations to provide needed reports.
  • Secure operations, to eliminate the risk of shadow IT.
  • Reusable innovation, as anything built, becomes a template for others.

This flexibility makes low-code service CRMs a powerful tool for any business.

How Amoga low-code CRM can make SLAs the winning hand for your organization

When we built Amoga, we aimed to create a system that makes achieving goals part of its design rather than relying on random factors. That’s why our service CRM is not only easy to use but also easy to customize based on real needs. We believe that end-users should shape the system. This also means we believe in freeing IT teams to focus on transformative projects instead of constant troubleshooting.

If you think your service team can perform better without working in the dark or dealing with irrelevant SLAs and metrics, you’ll appreciate how we’ve solved similar problems for our clients. Our approach ensures SLAs reflect what’s truly important to customers.

To see how Amoga can transform your service operations, book a call with us today. Let us help you turn SLAs into a winning edge for your organization.