Ideas for Creating a Service Level Agreement

Computer systems and digital delivery of services is a scary situation for many businesses. Because of the vast amount of variables that go into the digital infrastructure of how you deliver and handle services and/or products, there are many elements that are out of your control. Service Level Agreements work to establish expectations regarding communication, services and responsibilities for both the business and the customer. While the final SLA you implement is dependent on your specific business, there are several universal tips all businesses should follow when establishing an SLA.

Well-Developed Communication Methodologies

The terms outlined in your Service Level Agreement determine the level of communication that’s expected between you and your customers. These topics are set in place to effectively outline how communication operates for better responses. While communication methods vary based upon your business, it’s within this section that you lay out all details regarding the steps for specific types of communication, such as technical support, complaints or general communications.

Defined Levels of Service

In the most general sense, Service Level Agreements define the levels of service a customer can expect when dealing with your business. It’s important to keep in mind that these levels of service are not solely for the products or services you’re offering, but the entire level of service a customer can expect, which includes how the customer will be supported should an issue arise. The most important element to remember about this section is to set forth proactive provisions to streamline the understanding of the relationship between your company and your customers.

Availability of Services

Also referred to as your service uptime, this section clearly defines the expectations a customer may have when it comes to determining the availability of your service. This is an especially vital section for those who offer digital services, such as Internet Service Providers or application providers. Within this section, you must describe what you defined as regular and emergency outages, the frequency of scheduled maintenance and the notification process when it comes to scheduled outages due to maintenance. The most important element to remember when dealing with this section is to establish a provision, or metric, that you can realistically meet. While 99.9% uptime sounds wonderful, if you’re unable to provide this amount of availability, then you’ll soon be staring at a host of angry emails and support tickets.

Enforcement of Service Levels

How will your business enforce the levels of service you’ve detailed in your SLA? Identifying these levels of service and how they will be implemented and monitored is essential to prevent misunderstandings or unrealistic expectations from the customer. Elements to cover within this section include how data is recorded and reported, how conflicts are handled and how communications regarding service outages are laid out.