Call Center

Updated On: May 8, 2024

Guide to Call Center SLAs – 2024

Reading-Time 14 Min

Call Center SLAs

Looking to optimize your call center performance for the coming years? Start by setting up the right call center SLAs (service level agreements) for your business.  .  

SLAs are critical to ensure your call center operates efficiently and effectively. They help define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that your team needs to meet.  

However, with so many different metrics to consider, it can be hard to know where to begin. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to call center SLAs.  

In this guide, we’ll dive into the key SLAs you need to track for a successful call center and provide insights to build a top-notch call center operation that exceeds your customers’ expectations.  

What are Call Center SLAs?  

Service level agreements (SLAs) are formal agreements between a call center and a customer that define the call center’s commitments regarding service quality. 

SLAs outline specific, measurable performance criteria, such as answer rates within a set time frame, call duration, hold times, and potentially other metrics like first-call resolution and customer satisfaction. 

These agreements aim to ensure a high-quality customer experience while also maintaining operational efficiency for the call center. 

Key Metrics to Measure SLAs

1. Abandonment Rate 

Abandonment rate measures the number of calls or requests that are abandoned by the customer before they are answered or resolved. The abandonment rate helps to measure the service level agreement for response time and indicates if the contact center needs to improve its response time to meet the SLA. 

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2. Average Speed of Answer (ASA) 

ASA measures the time it takes for a customer call or request to be answered. It helps to measure the service level agreement for response time and indicates if the contact center needs to improve its response time to meet the SLA. 

3. Service Level 

Service level is the percentage of customer calls or requests answered within a defined timeframe, as agreed in the SLA. Measuring service level helps to ensure that the contact center is meeting the agreed upon SLA for response time. 

4. First Call Resolution (FCR) 

First call resolution (FCR) measures the percentage of customer issues resolved on the first call or contact. It helps to ensure that the contact center is effectively resolving the caller’s issues in a timely manner and indicates if it needs to improve the resolution time to meet the SLA. 

5. Average Handling Time (AHT) 

Average handling time (AHT) measures the average time it takes to handle a customer request or call; from the moment it is answered until the issue is resolved. AHT helps to measure resolution time and indicates if the contact center needs to improve its resolution time to meet the SLA. 

What is the Importance of Measuring Call Center SLAs?

1. Increases Operational Efficiency  

Call centers can identify bottlenecks, streamline processes, and optimize workflows by setting and measuring SLAs. Due to more efficient resource allocation that decreases idle time, operational efficiency is increased.  

For example, a company can find possibilities to enhance resource allocation by comparing workforce levels with call volume data analysis. The company can improve its earnings and acquire a competitive advantage by cutting excessive expenses and optimizing resource allocation.  

2. Utilizes Caller’s Data 

Another critical aspect of measuring call center SLAs is that it provides valuable data that can be used to identify trends and patterns in caller’s behavior and service demands. This information can be leveraged to proactively optimize operations, improve service quality, and deliver a more personalized experience.  

In addition, it can help you to stay ahead of changing market conditions and customer expectations, positioning it for long-term success.  

3. Helps with Clear Communication  

Measuring call center SLAs promotes clear communication between your organization and your customers. You can communicate to your customers what service quality and timeliness are expected by defining and implementing SLAs.  

Clear communication is essential to manage overall customer expectations and decrease any future conflict.  

4. Builds Customer Trust  

Measuring call center SLAs increases consumer trust. When your organization routinely meets or surpasses SLAs, it exhibits a dedication to your customers’ pleasure. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal customers and suggest your organization to others, resulting in increased growth and profitability.  

Types of Call Center SLAs

  1. Response Time SLA: Measures how quickly agents answer calls, typically aiming for 90% answered within a specified timeframe. 
  1. Resolution Time SLA: Sets targets for resolving customer issues within a defined period, such as 80% resolved within 24 hours. 
  1. First Call Resolution (FCR) SLA: Tracks the percentage of inquiries resolved without follow-up calls, aiming for high efficiency. 
  1. Abandonment Rate SLA: Monitors the percentage of callers who disconnect before reaching an agent, aiming for low abandonment rates. 
  1. Average Handle Time (AHT) SLA: Calculates the average duration of each customer interaction, aiming for efficiency without sacrificing quality. 
  1. Service Quality SLA: Evaluates customer satisfaction to ensure consistently high-quality service delivery. 

Factors Affecting Call Center SLAs

There are several factors affecting call center SLAs. Here are the most important factors that companies should keep in mind.  

1. Call Volume  

High call volumes significantly impact call center SLAs. The FCR rates decrease, and wait times increase with the increased number of calls.  

Your call center teams must be able to handle many calls quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality. Otherwise, ineffective call handling will result in a decline in SLA performance, which could result in unhappy customers for your company.  

2. Agent Availability   

Staffing numbers and agent availability are significant factors in influencing SLA performance. Inadequate staffing can cause delays and a drop in service levels, whereas having the correct number of agents ensures rapid response and issue resolution.  

3. Agent Skills and Competency  

The agent’s experience, competence, and proficiency in dealing with complicated issues substantially impact a call center’s SLA performance. Untrained or inexperienced agents may take longer to resolve or forward calls to different agents, resulting in lower SLA performance.  

Your call centers should invest in ongoing training to ensure that your agents are current on industry trends and technologies and that the teams satisfy your customer expectations.  

4. SLA Standards  

The SLA standards set by your company also significantly impact the call center’s SLA performance. Setting overly ambitious targets on factors outside the call center agents’ control will make SLAs more challenging and decrease performance.

Your company should set realistic and achievable SLA performance targets that set your teams up for success rather than failure.  

5. Technical Issues  

Technical issues such as slow internet speeds, system outages, or network congestion can significantly slow call handling and increase wait times, lowering SLA performance.  

Your call center teams must ensure that their technical systems are optimized to manage large call volumes and are well-maintained to avoid significant outages.

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Consequences of Not Meeting Call Center SLAs

Customer Dissatisfaction  

Response times and issue resolution are often delayed due to failing to meet service-level agreements. As a result, your customers can become more dissatisfied because they think the service is unresponsive, sluggish, or unreliable.  

The customers who are unhappy are more inclined to tell others about their bad experiences, harming your business’s reputation.   

Increased Operational Costs  

Inefficiencies that contribute to SLA noncompliance can necessitate additional resources to rectify. This might lead to higher operational costs, such as overtime compensation for employees attempting to catch up on backlogs, recruiting more people, or investing in technology and training to improve efficiency.

Best Practices for Call Center SLAs  

1. Define Clear Objectives  

Clearly define the objectives of your SLA. Recognize the precise goals and standards for response times, call resolution times, and other KPIs (key performance indicators).  

2. Measure the Right Metrics 

It’s essential to measure the right metrics when tracking call center performance. Some metrics include first-call resolution (FCR) rate, average handle time (AHT), and customer satisfaction (CSAT) rate

3. Real-Time Performance Monitoring  

Track call center performance to spot problems and make necessary corrections. Track essential data and pinpoint areas for performance improvement using real-time analytics.  

4. Agent Training and Development  

Make continuous training investments to improve the agents’ expertise. Agents with proper training have a higher chance of meeting SLAs and offering superior customer service.  

Deliver Exceptional Customer Support with Knowmax 

Knowmax enhances customer service by helping your business provide an outstanding CX. As a CX-first knowledge management (KM) software, Knowmax empowers the frontliners with instant access to accurate information, ensuring swift issue resolution.  

With Knowmax, your agents can access a centralized and searchable knowledge base, allowing them to quickly and accurately answer customer queries. The solution also provides real-time guidance to agents through a decision-tree format, helping them provide personalized and consistent customer experiences. 

With Knowmax, you can improve customer service by providing exceptional service from the first interaction.  

Pratik Salia


Pratik is a customer experience professional who has worked with startups & conglomerates across various industries & markets for 10 years. He shares latest trends in the areas of CX and Digital Transformation for Customer Service & Contact Center.

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