7 Ways To Cripple A Service Level Agreement
Creating a well-written SLA is a challenge—especially if you’re outsourcing tech support.
Even if you include all the key elements in an SLA, your job isn’t done.
You still have to include provisions for things like dealing with the sharing of cost savings, escalation procedures for disputes, and change control procedures.
Capture all these elements in a single document and you’ll have yourself a well-written SLA.
But even if you craft a well-written SLA, you still may not get a high level of service.
Ways To Cripple An SLA
Factors not covered in an SLA agreement can cripple the effectiveness of your SLA—even when working with an experienced service provider.
Seven of those factors are described below.
1. Confusion between the SLA agreement and the SLA process can cripple an SLA. In other words, you need to do more than filling in the blanks of a template to have an effective SLA. You need to create a solid relationship between your organization and the service provider. If this relationship is lacking, even the best SLA will be ineffective.
2. Not managing an SLA properly can derail even the best SLA. An SLA that’s not managed goes nowhere. Its impact negligible. Managing an SLA includes things like tracking and reporting KPIs regularly, holding review meetings, and reassessing service standards when needed.
3. No matter how well written an SLA, it can’t overcome a lack of support internally. If the proper support mechanisms, often referred to as operating level agreements (OLA), are there, even a good SLA will be rendered ineffective.
4. Not being able to properly monitor service levels and compliances by a service provider can render an SLA obsolete. This failure can be the result of not having the right people or not having the right expertise.
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. Instead of helping someone with a service problem, they see themselves working on systems. Not focusing on the customer can impact customer satisfaction negatively.
6. Losing sight of SLA’s objective(s) can derail the SLA. It’s easy to lose focus on the agreement’s business objective(s). If the business objective is to provide superior customer service then you need to make sure the service levels and the service provider are both focused on your business objective(s).
7. Viewing an SLA as a way to get the service provider to deliver better service or customers to stop complaining can be counter productive. Using an SLA to get others to do things your way can leaves a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.
More important, it can make them feel coerced. It can also create resentment and resistance. In other words, don’t use the SLA as a weapon.
Creating SLA is Hard
Creating an effective SLA is hard. You not only have to include all the right provisions in the SLA, you have to have use the right language and include the right business objective(s).
You may also have to document processes that arose organically over time. This can take time and effort and make creating an SLA a real challenge.
But even a carefully crafted, well-written SLA can be crippled by factors outside the written agreement.
Keep the factors discussed above in mind when implementing an SLA helps.
It will ensure that your SLA enhances your relationship with your service provider and that your customers receive the support they expect.
And that can boost both customer satisfaction—and this can do a lot for the bottom line.
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