Customers must be satisfied with the products or services of your company. It would help if you had an organization to make this happen. Start by creating a list of tasks that must be completed to provide excellent service. Then, create a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Some companies have trouble creating an SLA or aren’t sure how to use it. We wrote this article to address the topic.

SLA Types

There are two types of SLAs: service-focused and customer-focused.

Customer-focused

This SLA is focused on organizing the client’s expectations and obligations regarding the contract. This type of SLA is more detailed and may require more work to execute because each client will have a different SLA. This option is not recommended if you offer services. However, if you decide to go ahead with it, be aware of contractual changes. Each amendment must be included in the contract signed by both sides.

What is an SLA?

black pencil on white printerpaper

SLA is an acronym for Service Level Agreement. It’s often used to describe the service, goals, contractual issues, and support. Companies must review the SLA regularly to make sure it is up-to-date.

Why is an SLA important?

SLAs guarantee that both the provider and client will comply with agreed services. This document lists the obligations of each party during the business relationship. If there is a conflict or disagreement, the SLA’s rules will clarify what must be followed. To compensate the party who does not receive the SLAs, fines must be applied if there is any agreement violation.

What are some examples of SLA?

An SLA can be signed between your company and a third-party company or between you as an employer. Let’s look at two examples to illustrate this point. This contract should be signed internally by you and your employees. You can then determine the work hours of the worker. Both of you will be able to agree on the duties. If your company outsources a service, the same rules apply. It is important to carefully read the contract before signing it.

How can I make sure that the agreement is understood better?

Man looking through documents at workplace

When developing an SLA, your company must identify the potential risks. You can decrease their severity, particularly concerning service delivery and deadline. Both parties must be aware of their obligations for this to occur. To ensure that each contract element is understood, it is a good idea to talk about the key points. It is important to send a business plan to a client by someone in your sales team. This strengthens the contractual relationship between the parties.

Parts of a Service Level Agreement

A service-level agreement can include many parts, depending on who is involved and what arrangement is made.

These are the most important components of a service-level arrangement:

  • Summary of Agreement: This overview summarizes the services that will be provided. It will include details about the client or customer and describe how service will be measured.
  • Purpose: What’s the purpose of the SLA between the parties? Customer-based SLAs will focus on customer goals and how the service provider can help them meet them. All parties should clearly define their goals in an internal service-level agreement.
  • Metrics: How success will be measured is this part of the service level agreement. Metrics can include KPIs and other measures used to measure service quality and level.
  • Points of contact: It’s not just important to have metrics. It’s also important to know who monitors and decides if goals are being met. This section of the SLA lists all the parties involved in the contract.
  • Parameters: What information does each party require to fulfill the purpose of this agreement? It is important to state that a service provider cannot take action until they have received customer data.

An SLA is a guideline for what to do if something goes wrong. Service providers may offer refunds, service credits, or other penalties for not providing services.

What are the best SLA practices for your company?

There are some best practices to properly implement an SLA after you have created it. These are the most important.

For problem-solving, set a standard response time

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Respond quickly to any client who calls you with a problem. The longer the problem continues, the more damage and delays to your business. When defining your SLA, think about potential problems and how long it will take to resolve them. Everyone will be able to have a realistic expectation of the response time.

Use neutral language between the participants

Everyone must understand the terms you use. Although you may understand the words of your IT manager, certain words might be confusing for clients or colleagues within your company. Neutral language is crucial in this situation to facilitate communication.

SLA creation made easier

Instead of writing lengthy and complicated SLAs, create shorter versions that you can easily analyze and help the customer understand. This makes it easier to optimize the tasks your team must complete.

Define which tickets are more important

A man working in a call center

Imagine that a headset stops working during an important call, and the CRM access is lost. Two tickets will be sent to your IT manager at once. Which one should you prioritize? This question will require you to identify the priority tickets in advance. The weight of each ticket can vary depending on its circumstances.

Access to CRM would have a higher priority in the above example because it impacts everyone’s work. However, the broken headset only affects one person. However, if the call is to speak to a customer about churn, this priority may be higher.

Set the dates and times for SLA tasks

Customers may become frustrated when they don’t get a response to their inquiries. What if they contacted you on Saturday night instead of Monday through Friday during business hours?
It is important to state in the SLA that your company will only operate Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Customers will know that their requests and tasks will be completed only during the designated days and times.

However, suppose the service is provided remotely and offers 24/7 support. In that case, it is important to include the types of services offered during business hours and after hours in the contract. Customers and employees alike will know what to expect.

Conclusion

Service-level agreements are essential to protect a company’s reputation and maintain good relationships with its end users. You can make sure that all parties are happy by establishing clear expectations about the standard and the consequences for not meeting them.

As your business grows and changes, it’s a good idea for your SLA to be reviewed. The SLA should reflect your evolving needs and capabilities. Contracts Counsel is available to help you create or revise a service level agreement. Contracts Counsel can connect you to a lawyer who is fully vetted and can help you review or create your service-level agreements. Get in touch today.