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Top 7 SLA Best Practices to Improve Customer Service

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SLA

Building a good relationship between clients and the support team is essential for the success of any business. The best way to create good rapport with clients is to have a written contract with clear requirements and set standards that both parties adhere to. In customer service, a service-level agreement (SLA) is key to ensure the best customer experience, improve productivity, and grow a company.

This blog walks you through the following topics:

  • What an SLA is.
  • The key components of a customer support SLA.
  • Importance of SLAs.
  • SLA best practices.

What is an SLA?

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a documented agreement between a company and its clients. An SLA defines the services that the company will provide its customers as well as the service standards to expect from it.

In customer service, an SLA is an agreement between the support team and the clients about the response and resolution times to expect. The SLA clearly defines the set target time within which a company is expected to respond to or resolve different customer issues.

The Key Components of a Customer Support SLA

The components of an SLA vary based on the needs and expectations of customers. However, there are some features that are common for any SLA. These include:

The Key Components of a Customer Support SLA
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Goals and Expectations of Both Parties

An SLA clearly states the expected goals and targets of each party. It explains the level of service that the customers should expect from the support team of the company.

Service Performance

An SLA defines the specific quality of services or level of performance expected by the client.

Summary of the Agreements

An SLA includes all the specific terms and conditions of the service offered. It defines the time span to resolve or respond to issues.

Services Offered

An SLA includes details about the services or products that the company offers to clients. For instance, you can include all the primary services provided by the company as well as other services like analytics and reporting services that the company offers as bonuses.

SLA Breach Conditions and Measures

This component clearly states the conditions under which the contract is breached and states the repercussions that will follow an SLA breach. If tickets are not updated within the set target time, support leads can follow up with the assigned agents to prioritize the issues.

Importance of Service Level Agreements

An SLA in help desk software clearly states and defines different aspects of a company’s customer service. These aspects, such as goals and the terms and conditions, defined for both parties, can benefit the company and the clients in many ways:

  • Improves communication between parties.
  • Enhances productivity of support team.
  • Creates and builds strong relationships with clients.
  • Fosters loyalty and retention.

These are explained in detail here: Importance of an SLA.

Best practices of using a service-level agreement

Companies should implement specific key practices in their SLAs to improve client-company relations. In addition, they can enhance the experiences of their clients. The following are the best practices of using SLAs that companies should consider:

1. Create and maintain separate SLAs for each brand

Companies should draft different SLAs for each brand they own. Since they have different kinds of issues, different brands can require different resolution or response times. This depends on issue complexity, type, and volume. For this reason, it is ideal to have separate SLAs for each brand.

Create and maintain separate SLAs for each service
Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

2. Track the performance of the right SLA metrics

Firstly, select the right automated help desk software for your customer service needs. With it, you can choose useful SLA metrics that best represent the quality of your support. You can also highlight areas of concern. Use metrics from past customer issues and aim to implement SLAs that best fit the time requirements of both your customers and team. Consider SLA metrics such as the:

  • First response time.
  • Next Response.
  • Resolution
  • SLA achieved and SLA breached.

With such metrics, using an SLA reports dashboard, support leads can have access to useful information. As a result, they can monitor how each support agent performs, get insight into reports, and adjust future SLAs to ensure they are always achievable.

3. Set realistic targets

When you draft an SLA, make sure all the standards of service and the expectations that you set up are realistic. Confirm whether you have included the right ticket requirements and the help desk tools needed in your SLA content. The resolution and response times agents will have to perform the required tasks should be achievable. Customers prefer service providers that deliver as promised. So, companies should ensure fast and accurate delivery of high-quality services as defined by the SLAs. Achieving clearly set expectations will satisfy clients.

4. Involve your customer support team in creating the SLAs

Agents are the first point of contact between the clients and the company. They are more aware of what the clients need and expect from the company. Support agents also know which goals can be achieved and which are unrealistic. They will be of great help to management as they draft the expectations for the end users and company.

Involve your customer support team in creating the SLAs.
Photo by Ronald Carreño from Pixabay

5. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of both parties

For any SLA to be useful, the roles and responsibilities of support agents and teams should be clear and well defined. This makes it easy to identify the right agents to perform specific tasks and know if they met the expectations of the clients. In addition, clients should know their responsibilities to make the agreements they made work best.

6. Review and set SLAs that align with customer goals on a regular basis

Always strive to review and update the SLA documents based on the current needs or expectations of your clients. This should be done on a regular basis in order to keep up with any changes in the needs of clients. Remove or add new SLAs to help customers achieve their goals. You should use SLA metrics to determine the real goals of clients.

7. Make simple and clear SLAs

When drafting an SLA, make sure the language used is simple and explains all the terms and conditions in the agreement in a clear manner. Clients should be able to read through and understand the SLA easily. It should clear up any concerns and answer any questions they might have about the company and its services.

It is advisable to avoid jargon, since it complicates the SLA and not all clients can understand it.

Conclusion

A good service-level agreement (SLA) should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART). The needs of clients should be well addressed. A good SLA ensures the service providers and their clients maintain a good relationship, the productivity of agents increases, and customer satisfaction improves.

With BoldDesk, let your customers enjoy the best SLA metrics and integration. Try the BoldDesk free trial package for your customer support. Contact the BoldDesk support team if you have any questions.

Esther Omuhatia Khachina
Esther Omuhatia Khachina
Esther Khachina is a technical writer at Syncfusion. Passionate about technical documentation. Has SEO and copy-editing skills with knowledge of technical writing software tools.

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