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The 7 Most Critical Steps In Building An SLA


  • The 7 Most Critical Steps In Building An SLA

SLAs are powerful business tools.

They help set management expectations.

They help clarify responsibilities for each company.

And they help improve service provider communications.

When done right, SLAs can help build a solid foundation that promotes a long-term win-win relationship between you and your service provider.

But crafting an effective SLA is no walk in the park. It takes thought and effort to create one.

Unfortunately, some managers gloss over key steps in establishing an SLA. Others ignore some key steps.

That’s courting disaster—especially if you’re outsourcing inbound call center services.

To make sure you don’t skip any key steps when creating your next SLA, we’ve listed the seven most critical ones below.

Implementing them will help you develop an effective SLA that can serve as the bedrock for a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your service provider.

1.     Gather key information

You’ll want to document needs, priorities, and capabilities in your SLA. You need to gather key information to do it—especially information on customer satisfaction. Doing so helps you better understand customer concerns. More important, it helps you establish a baseline for assessing service improvement.

2.     Establish a basic level of agreement

It’s never too early to open communications with your service provider. You may have one way of doing something. The provider may have another. Both may be valid. Sitting down face-to-face with your provider ensures you both have a basic level of agreement about executing the SLA.

3.     Set up ground rules for working together

This step is among the most overlooked in the SLA process. Talk with your provider about topics like responsibilities, scheduling constraints, and potential roadblocks before creating an SLA. Also talk about documentation preferences and communications styles.

4.     Develop the written document

Create a written document that features a structure for the SLA that works for both parties. How long it takes you to actually create the SLA depends on several factors including your experience developing one, your familiarity with the key services involved, and the demands of the day-to-day responsibilities.

5.     Generating buy-in

Including everyone’s thoughts in the SLA can help gain buy-in.  So let all concerned parties review the first draft. That gives them an opportunity to ask questions, suggest revisions, agree on metrics, and set reasonable goals. Use this feedback to make changes to your first draft.

6.     Publish a list of pre-implementation tasks

Don’t over look this step. It’s more critical than you think. It includes establishing tracking mechanisms, reporting processes, and training procedures (if any).  This step also includes communicating expectations to your staff and your service provider.  Keep expectations challenging but attainable.

7.     Manage agreement

You’ll need to manage and maintain the SLA on a continuous basis. Otherwise the previous 6 steps are wasted. Managing the agreement includes conducting service reviews, modifying the agreement as necessary, and reporting on how things are going.

All 7 of these steps are critical to crafting a solid SLA—one that promotes a long-term win-win relationship with your service provider and helps boost customer satisfaction.

Developing a solid SLA will payoff. It can help you improve customer service, boost customer satisfaction, and deliver truly eye-popping ROI results for your company.

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