Service Level Agreements are an excellent way to improve the communication, expectations and responsibilities between two or more parties. While this is a powerful tool, if it’s improperly established it will do nothing to streamline the communication and relationship between the customer and business. To help streamline this process and provide an SLA that legal and thorough, there are four essential steps you must follow.
Step One – Collect Background Information
Before an SLA can be implemented, both parties must collect information to provide equal grounds when it comes to negotiations. If you’re not establishing an SLA for a specific interaction, but rather an overall list of expectations and responsibilities for a general service, you’ll still need to gather vital information to construct a thorough Service Level Agreement. For example, a business should examine their service history to help determine the realistic level of service they can provide each customer. Additionally, business must study the expectations of customers to create a baseline of performance metrics that are reasonably met.
Step Two – Solidify a Means of SLA Agreement
This is one of the most important elements of a Service Level Agreement as it determines exactly how a customer and business agree to its terms. In most cases, the agreement is sent along with order information, and if the payment is confirmed, then the customer agrees to the SLA terms. However, the exact method may differ based upon the level of service you provide. Regardless of how this agreeing method is implemented, it must be clear and concise to prevent confusion and misunderstandings.
Step Three – Establish Relationship Expectations
The purpose of a Service Level Agreement is to provide a set of standards when it comes to the actual relationship between a customer and the business. While this is one of the most vital sections of an SLA, it’s often one of the most overlooked. Topics covered within this section discuss the expectations for both the customer and the business. For example, it outlines the level of responsibilities for both parties, which may include: scheduling meetings, implementing the service and developmental tasks. Of course, the levels of this relationship vary based upon the service and/or product you’re offering.
Step Four – Complete Pre-Implementation Processes
Many times, an SLA features topics regarding reporting methods and how information is handled. Therefore, before an SLA can go live, the necessary tasks associated with this agreement must be shelled out. For example, your business may need to establish how reporting is done, create tracking applications and creating specific procedures regarding how each clause of the agreement is implemented.