Enduring partnerships between Managed Service Providers (MSP) and their clients are often shaped by thoughtfully drafted Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
An SLA is a contractual agreement that outlines the scope of services while marking functional responsibilities against expectations and benchmarks for process resolution times and escalation procedures. A significant inclusion is a legal protection should any disagreements arise.
Drafting an SLA without cutting corners and factoring in the following checklist will help build a strong association with your clients.
Managed IT Service Providers must understand that Service Level Agreements are not ideal placeholders for an agreement. Don’t use an SLA to convince your prospects but offer maximum clarity on the intent and actions. Being 100% honest by using a well-defined and structured language minimizes discrepancies or ambiguity. Leaving the guesswork to the customers without setting clear expectations is a poor way to execute your SLAs.
Set Realistic Goals
An SLA can be the perfect opportunity to showcase the value you deliver through your products and services. Over-promising and under-delivering is a big ‘no-no’ in the world of business agreements. An SLA is a legally binding contract that needs outlining the ‘will’ and ‘will nots’ of your offering. Constantly evaluate and modify your SLAs to leave no room for interpretation. Steer clear of ambiguity in resolution or response times and the level of support you’ll be providing to your customers. Setting reasonable but attainable benchmarks is a topline benefit when you draft SLAs.
Looping in a legal expert with some proven experience in IT and managed services will always give you an edge while drafting SLAs. Don’t speed up the process by cutting corners or seeking shortcuts. Alternatively, focus on ensuring that your SLA aligns with your business offerings and services.
Include Hold Harmless Clauses
MSPs work within several independent environments, which exposes them to many different elements and external forces trying to harm their IT infrastructure services. The best way to mitigate business contingencies is to include a “Hold Harmless” clause in your SLA.
Properly Onboard Your Employees
Set the expectations for your employees on response times, levels of support, protocols, and more to avoid any risks of breaching your SLAs. Every member must be aware of the aspects of the SLA that apply to them and those that don’t (based on roles, verticals, rights, etc.). Make this a crucial part of your onboarding process to ensure that every newcomer adheres to the SLA guidelines.
Leverage the Right Tech Stack
A comprehensive software tech stack allows you to track SLA quality metrics while adhering to the defined clauses and making it fail-proof. In addition, Vertex offers the best-in-class networking and operational solutions to help you make better and more informed decisions proactively.
Eventually, Managed IT Service Providers have to approach their Service Level Agreements from a well-thought-out and carefully crafted POV to establish a good relationship with their clients. A practical and workable SLA not only assures your client about quality but also helps you manage expectations with better clarity and ease. We hope this write-up helps you achieve long-term success with your clients.
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