Are your SLAs Working for YOU?

Scott Calonico

Let’s assume, for the purposes of this article, that you have formal service level agreements defined and in place with your clients.

After all, if you are a professional MSP business this really should be the case!

But how do you view your SLAs?

Are they:

1.  Something you agree with your customers, only for them never to be mentioned again?

2.  Something you see as nothing more than a stick that customers can beat you with if something goes wrong?

OR

3.  Agreements that benefit both you and your clients, and help your business to thrive?

If you chose anything other than the third answer, there is more you could be doing to make service level agreements work for you.

An SLA is, by its very nature, an agreement. It sets out exactly what your clients can expect from your services, and the IT system you support.

Let’s say, for example, that you have agreed 99% system uptime with a client. If, over the past year, you have achieved 99.9% uptime, then you should, most certainly, be highlighting this fact. While the raw percentages may not make instant sense to them, they should be encouraged to realize that this, in fact, means that they have experienced around three fewer days of system downtime than would have been “acceptable” under your agreement.

It can work the other way too. If, with a certain client, you are struggling to maintain an agreed uptime percentage, it may well be due to their stubborn refusal to upgrade to equipment that is fit for purpose. In this situation, you can use your SLA performance to illustrate why they really can’t afford to ignore the need for investment in their infrastructure. If they wish to ignore your advice, then you may have to renegotiate a more realistic SLA that takes into account their unreliable, aging kit.

So, if you haven’t been taking advantages of the benefits SLAs can bring to your client relationships, here are five things you can do:

1.  Report regularly on SLA performance.

2.  Encourage discussion, to ensure that clients are reminded when you’re doing a good job.

3.  Put in place the means to monitor system uptime, so you can provide indisputable figures.

4.  Stick to a regime of regular IT strategy meetings, where you can mention SLA performance and continue to prove your proactive approach.

5.  Review SLAs regularly, so your clients always have a realistic idea of what they can expect from your company, and their IT system.

By seeing service level agreements as a useful tool, rather than a hassle or administrative headache, you can improve your customer relationships and maybe even generate more business. It’s time to make SLAs work for you.

Want to Learn More About SLAS?

Listen to this FREE webinar with Len DiCostanzo, Autotask Corporation SVP of Community & Business Development, who will introduce you to Service Level Management programs and strategies that can help your business grow and prosper. 

Listen here!