What is an SLA and how can it help a business

We’ve covered all the ins and outs of SLAs to help you create one that could benefit you and your customers.

A service-level agreement (SLA) is essentially a contract between you and your customer that defines exactly what services you’ll deliver and what happens if you don’t deliver on what you’ve agreed.

Want to find out more? Read on…

Why are SLAs useful?

By clearly outlining what your business will provide – such as the delivery of a specific number of items per month or a set number of worked hours – customers can understand what to, and what not to, expect.

SLAs can be used within your business too, to help improve processes and communication. For example, if a team member has to complete a task before another employee can do their part, you can set SLAs to make sure they keep on track.

Using SLAs for customer service

It’s important to respond to customer queries as quickly as possible – or let them know how long you’ll take to reply. This will help you to build trust as your customers will know when they’ll receive a reply and, in certain circumstances, a solution.

How to set up a SLA

The key to setting up your own SLA is to make it simple, clear and instructive. They can look different depending on their purpose but ideally, it should include things like:

  • A brief summery of the agreement

  • The team (or teams) it involves

  • Your goal(s) - what you plan to offer

  • Initiatives - how you plan to meet your goals

  • Timeline - how fast you plan to meet the goals

  • Accountability - what happens if you don’t meet your goals

You can lay this information out in a table, spreadsheet or document – whatever works best for you.

Setting goals

Most of all, we recommend working with your team to define what your goals are - and to make sure they can be met. For example, if you’ve set a goal to respond to your customers within two hours of their message, you’d best check that this is realistic with the person who looks after messaging. This means you’ll actually be able to deliver on what you’ve promised.

How to measure your SLA performance

When it comes to measuring your SLA performance and seeing how well (or not) you’re doing, it all comes down to seeing whether you’ve achieved your goals and stuck to your promised timings. Setting a reminder to check your SLA performance every month would work, and if you’re doing well or better than expected, you could even communicate this to potential customers who are looking for a similar kind of service.

SLAs are just one way that you can set the foundation for long-term relationships with your customers. By building trust and ensuring you provide a consistent service, you should see the benefits in the long run.

You may have already spoken to one of our V-Hub Digital Advisers, but if not and you're looking for more support you can get in touch here. Our Knowledge Centre is also packed with information and tips to help you on your digital journey.

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