Creating a well-written SLA is a challenge—especially if you’re outsourcing tech support. Even if you include all the key elements your job may not be done. You still have to include provisions for things like dealing with the sharing of cost savings, escalation procedures for disputes, and change control mechanisms.
Capture all these elements in a single document and you’ll have yourself a well-written service level agreement.
In spite of building a well-written agreement, you may still risk not get the best service levels to meet your user’s or customer’s expectations. Factors not covered in a service level agreement can cripple the effectiveness of the services, even when working with an experienced provider.
Here are 7 Ways To Not Cripple An SLA
1. Confusion between an SLA agreement and an SLA process can have serious ramifications. In other words, you need to do more than filling in the blanks of a template. You need to establish a solid relationship between your organization and the service provider. If it is missing, then even the best contract will be ineffective.
2. Not managing an SLA properly can derail the engagement & lead to nowhere. This must include things like tracking and reporting KPIs regularly, holding review meetings, and reassessing service standards when needed.
3. Lack of internal support: You must establish proper internal support mechanisms & bring all stakeholders on the same page. This is often referred to as Operating Level Agreement (OLA). Any friction or disagreement between internal teams will leave your provider confused & sometimes incapacitated to deliver services efficiently.
4. Not being able to properly monitor service levels and compliances by a service provider can render the SLA obsolete. This failure can be the result of not having the right tools or expertise to interpret the reports.
5. Poor customer focus on the part of your service provider can also hurt an SLA’s effectiveness. It’s easy for IT people to lose focus on the customer’s experience. Instead of helping someone with a service problem, help desk engineers see themselves working on systems. Not focusing on the customer can impact customer satisfaction negatively.
6. Losing sight of key objectives can cripple your SLA. It’s easy to lose focus on the agreement’s business objectives. It may be FCR for some businesses and “resolution time” for others. In the new paradigm, leadership is bringing customer experience to the forefront. Whatever be the core objective, it must be achieved by the service provider & your internal team both working in tandem.
7. Viewing an SLA as a way to get the service provider to do things your way can leave users with a bad experience. More important, it can make the provider feel coerced. It can also create resentment and resistance. In other words, don’t use the contract as a weapon. You must trust your service provider & allow them full freedom to manage the support in the best possible way. This also leads to better answerability when objectives are not met.
Creating a Service Level Agreement Is Hard
You not only have to include all the right provisions in the SLA, but you also have to use the right language and include the right business objectives.
You may also have to document processes that arose organically over time. This can take time and effort and become a real challenge.
But even carefully crafted, well-written agreements can be crippled by factors outside the written agreement.
Keep the factors discussed above in mind when implementing an SLA.
It will ensure that you enhance your relationship with your service provider and that your customers receive the support they expect. Not to mention, this will boost both customer satisfaction and can do a lot for your company’s bottom line.
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