Service level agreement By DevTechToday January 10, 2023

What is an SLA? Best Practices for Service-Level Agreements?


Are you a managed service provider? Then you would certainly know the significance of Service Level Agreements. When configured properly, it can do many wonders for your business in terms of maintaining and managing customer relationships and dealing with better processes with ease. An SLA  iis all you need to manage your customer service efficiently.

Let’s take you through every minute detail of an SLA and how it can benefit your business and some of the best practices associated with it.

What is an SLA?

Well, as you may have heard many times, an SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a written agreement that is signed between the service provider and the customer. It is the result of the mutually agreed timelines as discussed before finalizing the terms. While forming an SLA, it is broken down into many categories and formed with a minimum response time and resolution time.

The turnaround time is defined based on the criticality of the customer request. It infers to the fact that if the issue is leading to the business existence, the TATmis minimum and otherwise, it would be based on the availability and standard terms which are mutually agreed upon by both parties.

  • P1 refers to the highest and critical priority that may require a minimum of one hour of response time and eight hours of resolution time.
  • P2 refers to the high priority with around 4 hours response time and 1 to 2 business days resolution time.

It is based on the mutually agreed terms and priorities that are agreed upon by the service provider and the customer.

Why is an SLA important for Businesses?

After understanding the SLAs in detail, did you ever feel that SLAs are just the list of rules that you must be adhering to? Well, no! It helps you to protect your business, keep your customers satisfied and happy and manage them with ease.

Let’s take a look at some facts that may depict the significance of SLAs for your business:

Become More Accountable

With an SLA in place, it becomes easy for you to manage your customer expectations and be accountable for your role which is depicted in the agreement. It not only helps you to be accountable for what you are but also puts you in a safer place where you can be out of unwanted issues with the customer.

Set Limitations for your Role

It always happens for all of us, where we have to take additional accountability if something goes wrong. And clearly defining the SLAs for the roles, helps you to clear your part with ease. Every role will have its SLA that is pre-defined so that you do not have to cross limits to save your side.

Save More Time

Customers always need your relentless support, of course! But with a tight schedule, you need to have the SLAs that define exactly how much time you need to spend on every ticket or customer query. It helps you with better time management and ease of handling customer expectations.

Create a Peaceful Work Environment

Are you struggling to clear off the disputes with the clients? It happens most of the time when you do not have enough time or resources allocated. With SLAs, you can clearly define the terms and time, resource allocation, and issue resolution times so that clients do not expect beyond that from you. However, sticking to SLA timeframes would be always inevitable.

What are the best practices for the SLA?

The success of a business relies on how you serve your customers. To serve them with the best terms, you need to have the SLA documented. It helps you enhance and groom the customer relationship and gradually boosts customer retention.

Here are some of the best practices for following the perfect SLA:

#1 Define the Service

First of all, there should be clarity with every customer terms that you need to document because every client and their approach would be different. Your SLAs should depict the way you need to serve the customers with ease so that you will not be lagged.

#2 Clear Expectations are the Key!

Everybody needs to be treated on an urgent basis. Hence you need to set up clear expectations out there so that client does not expect much from you apart from what is mentioned in the SLA. The clashes happen when it is coming to the response time as well as the resolution time. It needs to be clearly defined in the SLA to avoid confusion.

#3 Add only Realistic Data

While setting up the SLA, please keep attention to adding only the realistic and practical points. It is because, if you have it in SLA and if it is not worth following, it is not going to help you. So, please be more attentive to adding those numbers and deadlines that are attainable.

#4 Clearly Define the Responsibilities and Ownership of Both the Parties

Well, the most important one. Because when an agreement is signed between the two, there should be clear information on what the responsibilities and accountabilities each of them will take. It will help you with miscommunications and gaps in the future. In some cases, a money guarantee is also included – based on the mutual agreement from both parties. It may be extra clauses as the violating party needs to pay back 5% of the fine amount or so!

So, How do we go about it?

SLA is quite common for businesses now and following them is important as they deal with customer service. Every customer is important and resolving the issues faster and within the turnaround time is the most expected by all. You can even rely on help desk software with properly configured workflows so that you adhere to the SLA in every operation you execute.

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