Vaishali Gopi
by on October 30, 2018
What is SLA in customer support? The acronym SLA when expanded means ‘Service Level Agreement’. An SLA is basically a contract that is signed between the service provider and the end user that lays down the level of service that the end user can expect from the service provider. SLAs define specifically what the customer will receive; hence their purpose is to the design a framework of the output. SLAs differ from organization to organization. However, they form a crucial part in any kind of customer support solution. Parameters of a service level agreement You must be wondering what the features that define a SLA customer support are. There are various parameters that an SLA should meet: Description of the service that will be provides: the SLA should clearly define the services that the customer will receive from the service provider. This way the customer will know what to expect and what not to expect from the service provider. Reliability: the service provider should ensure that the quality of services is high and there are not much outages and this should be mentioned on the service level agreement to win the end user’s trust. Responsiveness: there should be an initial response time (IRT) mentioned on the SLA that defines by when the service provider will have to send the first response to the customer in case of a complaint being lodged. This way the customer is assured that their issue is being addressed. Procedure to report a problem: the SLA customer support document should also lay out the procedure of lodging a complaint, the escalation matrix that needs to be followed in case the issue is not addressed, who to contact and any other steps required resolving the problem. Monitoring the level of service: the SLA customer support document should lay out the performance target, how performance and quality assurance procedures will be monitored and the data will be collected and also, how much access will be provided to the end user to access these data. What are the consequences of violating the SLA: the SLA document should clearly define the compensation and reimbursement that the customer will receive in case of violation of any clause. The SLA document also defines the circumstances under which a contract can be terminated by the end user. Escape clauses: the SLA document while it looks into the customers’ needs, it also takes care of the service provider. It clearly defines the circumstances under which the level of service that is committed does not apply. For example, in case of any calamity, the service provider will not be able to provide any support or in case of network outage in the entire city, the level of service provided will be compromised. These are some of the crucial parameters that an SLA document should have. The metrics of each SLA depends on the service provider, but the areas that are covered remain uniform throughout all SLA—responsiveness, level of accuracy, volume of work, quality of work and speed. The document also establish a mutual understanding the services that will be provided, the areas that will be prioritized and the warranties that will be provided by the service provider. The SLA document should lay out a the level of service that is measurable. This way the quality of service can be benchmarked and in case of stipulation of agreement, can be reported or rewarded. SLAs are very popular among customer service providers. Especially IT service providers are common to use a service level agreement. Especially if any service is delegated from an internal team to a third party service provider, in that case a SLA is a must. Having a SLA workflow As most service providers thrive on the quality of service provided by them, they all seem to have an unofficial SLA. However, it is very important to have an official SLA document as otherwise it will not be possible to integrate that into the organization’s workflow and it will not be possible to meet client expectation and track individual performances. Here are ways of integrating the SLA customer support seamlessly into the organization’s workflow: Organize all clients according to the relevant service levels agreed with them and automatically route them through the relevant support workflow. Set up triggers and reminders to let the team know that an SLA is due and set up an automatic escalation metrics to keep the priority tickets at the top of the queue. Set an alarm for violation of SLA. There should be a series of triggers set to let the team and the managers know that there has been a violation. There should be a system of monthly reporting that records and measures the level of service and quality provided and tracks violation of the SLA. These are some of the ways an SLA workflow can be set up. SLAs are very important for any service provider. The first benefit of having an SLA is that you end up providing high quality support. Also these SLA documents serve as sources of valuable of data that can be studied and acted upon to improve quality.
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