No company can afford to have dissatisfied customers. That is why SLA terms are vital for IT departments. With these parameters, agents can guarantee quality service and meet user expectations.
A well-constructed SLA represents a guarantee for companies and customers. If you follow them, you will be providing an efficient service, which is positive for your organization. On the other hand, if any of your users present a complaint, you will have the option to solve it quickly thanks to these rules.
In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips that will help you build realistic and achievable SLAs. This way, you can have a healthier relationship with your customers and optimize your company’s resources. Let’s get started!
What are the benefits of SLA terms?
Defining SLA terms and monitoring their effectiveness offers great advantages for both customers, and companies. Among the most important benefits, we can highlight the following:
Ensures agility and autonomy for operational teams
When SLA terms are defined correctly, IT teams have greater autonomy in their processes. Likewise, these rules allow them to efficiently manage the requests they receive daily, but without neglecting user experience.
If an IT team is aligned with their service level agreements, it will have a high performance. As a result, they will work without pressure or unrealistic deadlines.
Improves customer communication
If a business relationship is built with aligned expectations and a healthy exchange, it’s more likely to last a long time.
By monitoring SLA terms and reviewing them periodically, you can avoid unnecessary conflicts. Such as impractical deadlines or misuse of your services.
Therefore, defining these parameters carefully and in detail will make, both the agents and your clients, feel more comfortable throughout the process.
Streamlines process optimization
Although customers only care about delivery times and the final product, your agents are likely to be interested in other elements. For example, ticket volume, average resolution time, or first response time. All of these variables can impact your processes and directly influence profits.
If your SLA terms are well defined, it will be easier to consult the IT department’s metrics. In addition, you will be able to know in real-time if your contracts are being met, identify bottlenecks, and monitor your agents’ performance.
Tips to improve SLA terms
1. Listen to your clients
Not involving consumers enough is one of the most common mistakes companies make when creating their SLA terms. For this process to be successful, you must listen to all stakeholders. Thus, we recommend getting feedback from both your customers and the internal staff who use the IT services.
By analyzing this information, you can learn about your users’ pain points, and identify any gaps in your current service offering. It’s also worth knowing which elements are working well, as this information will help you improve your IT team’s processes.
2. Build your SLA terms using the “SMART” methodology
You’ve probably already heard of the “SMART” metrics approach. Here’s how you can use this strategy to improve your SLAs:
Specific: Talk to your customers and explain in detail the definition of your services. For example, you can show them how to use them on a day-to-day basis or the personal who will attend to their requests. Similarly, you can show them your service channels or invite them to use your self-service portals.
Measurable: It’s important to establish metrics that will help you measure your service levels. We recommend using the following examples:
- Availability and uptime.
- Transaction or page load times.
- Maintenance schedules.
- Fault management.
Achievable: Is it possible to achieve the SLA terms reliably and regularly? If you are not sure you have the right terms, the IT team must work with your customers to agree on reasonable terms.
Relevant: You must have objectives in your SLA that reflect your company’s mission. Hence, you should make sure that your SLAs are relevant not only to the IT team, but also to the rest of the employees.
Time: When creating your objectives, include a time scale in which they should be measured. It can be weekly, monthly or quarterly. Also, determine the frequency in which the review meetings should be held.
3. Align SLA terms with your operational level agreements
Most customers think that because a resolution time of “2 hours” is stipulated on an SLA, that is what will actually happen. However, sometimes agents need outsourced help to resolve a failure. In addition, you must consider that the external team may have different response times.
Hence, for your SLAs to be effective they must be supported by the appropriate operational level agreements (OLAs) and underpinning contracts (UCs). This is achieved by coordinating your users’ requests with your suppliers. In this way, their response times will allow you to deliver the arranged service.
4. Focus on user experience
Although SLA terms are necessary to keep an IT team operational, they usually focus only on technical details. In contrast, XLAs (or experience level agreements) allow you to measure your customers’ opinions on the use of a service.
The best way to analyze XLA is to monitor your overall Net Promoter Score (NPS). This metric measures the probability that your customers recommend you or renew a contract.
Generally, NPS is calculated based on responses to a single question on a scale of 0 to 10. For example, you might conduct the following survey: “How likely would you recommend our services to a friend or colleague?”
Anyone with a score of 9 or 10 is a promoter. However, people who respond with 6 or fewer can be considered detractors. This strategy is an effective way to learn about consumers’ experience using your services.
By analyzing this information, you can also strengthen your SLAs and build a better relationship with your customers.
5. Automate your processes
Automation is a powerful tool you can use to improve your SLA terms. For example, you can use a service desk software to escalate tickets automatically, or receive notifications when a violation occurs.
With this system, you can also predefine automation rules that match your tickets priorities. As a result, you’ll get more visibility into your processes, and it will help you meet your users’ expectations.
Would you like to implement this tool? Then, I have excellent news for you!
With Freshservice, you can manage your SLA terms quickly and efficiently. This powerful ITSM tool allows you to create policies for your SLAs that fit your business needs.
In addition, with this software, you can:
- Track agent performance against SLA terms.
- Support teams that have different work time zones.
- Define tasks and deadlines based on various criteria.
- Create self-service portals.
- And much more!
At GB Advisors, we can help you integrate this and other technological solutions to automate your processes and manage your company’s SLA terms. We offer personalized attention to the installation and configuration of any software.
You will also receive advice from our group of experts, who will guide you step by step to make these solutions work properly and help you achieve your goals.
Contact us and receive a free consultation.