7 Steps In Building A Service Level Agreement

building SLA

What is SLA? It’s a powerful business tool or a contract in literal terms, that helps set everyone’s expectations right from the start.

SLA help define responsibilities for all stakeholders and improve service delivery. When done right, service level agreements can help build a solid foundation that promotes a long-term win-win relationship between you and your vendor.

But building a service level agreement is no walk in the park. It takes thought and effort to create one.

Unfortunately, some managers gloss over key steps in formulating a good contract, others ignore some key steps.

That’s courting a disaster – especially if you’re outsourcing IT service desk services.

To make sure you don’t skip any key steps when creating your next agreement, we’ve listed the 7 critical tips 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 after hours support services 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 mutual understanding about executing the service level agreement.

3. Set Up Ground Rules For Working Together

This step is among the most overlooked when drafting a contract. Talk with your provider about topics like responsibilities, scheduling constraints, and potential roadblocks before creating one. Also, talk about documentation preferences and communications styles.

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    4. Develop The Written Document

    Create a written document that features a structure that works for both parties. How long it takes you to actually create one 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 When Building SLA

    Including everyone’s thoughts while drafting the agreement 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 overlook 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 While Building SLA

    You’ll need to manage and maintain this dossier 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 building a solid SLA – one that promotes a long-term win-win relationship with your service provider and helps boost customer satisfaction. Initial efforts in putting together a solid service level agreement will pay off in the long run. It can help you improve customer experience, boost customer satisfaction, and deliver truly eye-popping ROI results for your company.

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