SLA rules



Service-level agreements (SLAs) are a commonly used tool to help businesses maintain a high standard for response times, and keep their customers happy. Whether you have internal response time requirements for your team, or formal SLAs with your customers, Front will help you reach your goals.

Front’s SLA rules are like guardrails for your inbox, so you and your team can ensure every customer is responded to in time. Just set your response time goal and specify when breaches should apply, and Front will take care of surfacing urgent conversations — even before a breach happens.

We even offer reporting specifically for SLAs, so that you can track your team's breaches, and gauge the effectiveness of your SLA rules.

How it works

Front’s SLA rule builder allows you to define SLA breaches based on how much time has passed in a conversation without an outbound reply from your team, i.e. how long a customer spends waiting for a reply after they send you a message.

If the conditions of your rule’s Scope are met, and your rule’s Time limit has passed, then the rule will trigger an SLA breach, and add an SLA breach tag to the conversation. You can add additional resulting Actions for SLA breaches, such as notifying specific teammates of a breach, automatically assigning breached conversations, and more.

Add an optional SLA warning to your rule in order to bring attention to upcoming breaches before they occur. SLA warnings apply an SLA warning tag to help your team prioritize time-sensitive conversations. Like SLA breaches, you can add additional actions for SLA warnings.

To set up SLA rules for your team, follow the steps below.


You must have workspace admin permissions to create SLA rules.

Step 1

Click the gear icon on the top right of Front and into the Company settings tab. Select Rules and macros from the left menu, and click Create rule. Select the Set reply time goals template from the rule library.

Step 2

Enter a name for your rule.

Step 3

In the Reply time goal field, set the time at which your breach will occur. For example, if you want your team to respond to customers within 2 hours, enter 2 h into the reply time goal.

Use the dropdown menu to choose whether you'd like your rule to run only during business hours (within business hours), or at all hours (regardless of business hours).

You can also adjust your workspace's business hours. Be aware that changing your business hours here will adjust business hours for the workspace as a whole, and will impact your analytics. To adjust any shared inbox business hours, navigate to the shared inbox.

Step 4

In the If section, select which inboxes the rule will apply to.

Optional: Click + Condition to add additional conditions to your rule. See this article for more information on filter conditions.

Step 5

In the Then section, determine what actions will happen when your reply time goal is breached.

The Add tag action will automatically create an 🔥 SLA Breach tag if it doesn't exist. We don't recommend using a different tag for this rule. If a different tag is used, all conversations with that tag will be considered breached in analytics.

You can also add additional actions. See this article for more details.

Step 6 (optional)

Add a warning to your rule. Toggle on the Send warning when close to breach setting and choose the time at which you'd like to be warned of upcoming breaches. The time you set in the No reply sent after field must be less than the time set in the Reply time goal field.

Step 7 (optional)

In the Then section, choose a reply time warning tag, and add additional actions for warnings. By default, Front will create an SLA Warning tag if it doesn't exist. We don't recommend using a different tag for this rule.

Step 8

Click Create to save your rule.

Step 9 (optional)

Add your SLA breach/warning tags to your sidebar using views to easily reference breached conversations.

SLA timer in conversations

Conversations tagged by your SLA rules will include an SLA timer.

How it works

  • The timer is in calendar hours. The timer will display the duration between the current time and the exact time the SLA will breach.

  • After the SLA has been breached, the timer will display the duration between the current time and the time the inbound message was received.

  • The exact breach time is determined by your SLA rule, which can take business hours into account.

  • The timer has no impact on analytics if you are using business hours for SLAs.


  • Business hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

  • SLA breached when conversation is unreplied in: 2 hours

  • Message received at: 4:00 PM

  • Expected behavior:

    • The message will breach the next day at 10:00 AM

    • When viewing the conversation at 4:00 PM, the timer will show "18H remaining" until the breach

    • When viewing the conversation at 10:00 AM the next day, the timer will show "18H late to reply"


Front Analytics includes dedicated reporting on your SLA rules. For more details, check out our SLAs report article.


What happens when I change business hours in Analytics?

The business hours set in your Analytics dashboard or shared inbox settings sync to all of your workspace's SLA rules. This means that if you initially set your business hours to 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM in the SLA rule builder, then later change your business hours to 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM, this will carry over to the SLA rule, and your SLA rule will be based off the 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM business hours moving forward. 

Note that changing your business hours can impact current conversations, and cause your SLA rules to not run if the time frame no longer aligns with your new business hours.

Why did the breach tag disappear from my conversation?

The goal of SLA rules is to bring attention to conversations that are actively breached and need action. When you reply to a message that has been flagged with an SLA breach or SLA warning tag, Front will automatically remove the SLA breach tag or warning tag. This signifies that action has been taken on the conversation, and allows the SLA timer to restart upon the next inbound message in the conversation.

What trigger events can cause my SLA rule to run?

A conversation will become subject to your SLA rule any time a new inbound message is received in one of the inboxes specified in the rule's Scope, or when a conversation is moved to one of these inboxes.

Do SLA rules work on archived or snoozed conversations?

No. If the SLA timer expires, and the conversation is currently Archived or Snoozed, the SLA rule will skip this conversation and the rule will not run. However, if the conversation is reopened or the snooze expires before the SLA timer expires, then the SLA rule will still run.

Does snoozing extend an SLA rule's timer?

No, the SLA timer continues to run while the conversation is Snoozed, and the period of time does not extend the rule's time limits.

Example 1:

Your team has a 1 hour SLA rule set up. 

A message arrives at 9:00 AM. At 9:30 AM, you set a snooze for one hour. At 10:00 AM, when the SLA timer expires, the conversation will still be in a Snoozed state, and the SLA rule will not run. At 10:30 AM, your snooze expires. The SLA rule has already skipped the 9 AM message, but the next inbound message in the conversation can still trigger the SLA rule.

Example 2:

Your team has a 1 hour SLA rule set up.

A message arrives at 9:00 AM. You immediately snooze the conversation for 30 minutes. At 9:30 AM the snooze expires and reopens the conversation. At 10:00 AM, you still have not replied to the 9:00 AM message, so the SLA rule will trigger and your SLA will breach.

Do multiple inbounds reset the SLA timer? 

No, if your customer emails you multiple times before you can respond, it will not reset your SLA timer. Your SLA will trigger based on when the first message that meets your SLA conditions was received, i.e. the SLA rule calculates breaches based on the oldest unreplied message in the conversation.

Do auto-replies from rules reset the SLA timer?

No. Only replies manually sent by teammates will reset the SLA timer.

Can SLA rules pause outside business hours?

Yes. If you select Within business hours under Time limits, the SLA timer will only run during business hours.

Example 1: If your team has a 4-hour SLA time limit, and business hours are 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, then a message arriving at 4:00 PM will breach its SLA the next day at 10:00 AM. Front will count 4 business hours and not include your off-hours.

Example 2: If your team has a 4-hour SLA time limit, and business hours are 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, then a message arriving at 6:00 PM will breach its SLA the next day at 12:00 PM. Front will count 4 business hours starting at 8:00 AM and does not include your off-hours.

Can I set individual or company SLA rules?

No. SLA rules are only available as shared rules, and cannot be set up as individual rules or Company rules.

Can I use dynamic variables in SLA rules?

No. SLA rules do not work with dynamic variables.


SLA rules are available on the Growth plan or above. Some legacy plans may also have this feature.