Social SLA Basics
By Edwin Margulies
If you are contemplating the use of a social engagement for customer care platform, it's a good idea to get a handle on SLA metrics. Just like in standard telephone-based contact centers, social command centers need metrics too! Here is a quick run-down of the most common metrics and an SLA timeline anatomy to act as a visual guide.
We can start from the very beginning of when a particular social post item enters into your engagement system. This is called the “Start Time.” This is the timestamp for when a social post item first entered into the social engagement platform and before the item is assigned to an agent.
It is important to understand that there are built-in delays between the actual publish date (when an author actually posts an item) and the time that post enters into your engagement system. This is owing to the delays introduced by aggregators or other social feed providers. These delays can be a few minutes or sometimes hours depending on network traffic.
The easiest parallel to draw here is with a telephone-based contact center. The “start time” is when the ACD answers the call, not when the person started dialing the phone. I mention this because you don’t want to penalize agents or groups of agents based on their overall performance if you are looking at publish date. The publish date is important to know, but it is not always representative of when agents actually had the opportunity to engage.
Social SLA Timeline
Once the social post item has been logged by your social engagement platform (the start time), the next part of the SLA timeline is the Queue Time. This is a Group SLA metric. Queue time is the amount of time between when a social post item first entered into the social engagement platform (start time) and when the social post item is assigned or selected by an agent (the time of assignment).
Progress Time is an agent KPI metric defined by the period of time between the time of assignment of a social post item and the time set for the most recent (last) open disposition.
For example, you could be assigned an item at noon. It may have taken you until 12:15 to give the item a disposition “doing research,” and until 12:30 to give it a disposition of “outreach in progress.” You may set up your system such that a disposition of “outreach in progress” is the last open disposition before you close the item as “outreach completed” or “resolved.”
This is an important KPI metric because it indicates how long it takes to assess a post item and to begin actual productive work on it.
Resolution Time is an agent KPI metric defined by the period of time between the last open disposition and the time of final resolution or closed time. The closed time is time-stamped by a closed disposition.
Handle Time (Agent)
Agent Handle Time is the period of time between the time of assignment of a social post item and its being set to a closed (resolved) disposition. Another way of looking at this is the agent handle time is equal to the progress time plus the resolution time. This can be expressed as an average for an agent based on multiple social post items, or as an absolute number for an individual social post item.
Handle Time (Group)
Group Handle Time is the period of time between the time of assignment of social post items and all of them being set to a closed (resolved) disposition. This is typically expressed as an average for an entire group of agents. Another way of looking at this is the group handle time is the sum of queue time plus progress time plus resolution time. Alternately, group handle time is equal to the agents' handle time plus the queue time.
I recommend the use of the "Social SLA Timeline" graphic as a visual aid so you can coach your social care team on the ins and outs of SLA metrics. After all, these are the metrics with which their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and group SLAs will be based. In future blogs, I will address the various reports that use these basic SLA metrics and how they can help you to manage your social care team.