Negotiating proper Service Level Agreement (SLA) s is key in services agreements: once agreed, SLAs shall form the objective basis for measuring and improving service quality throughout the term of any agreement. There may be others but I wanted to give you 10 tips to improve quality of your SLAs and service quality in your contracts hopefully!
1. Keep it simple: identify no more than 4 or 5 metrics to follow and review service quality: the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). You can’t follow two many KPIs properly: inefficient and time consuming.
2. Don’t underestimate time in discussing SLAs and choice of KPIs. It may be the most critical part of your service agreement. Spend time with your service supplier and listen. What matters for your company? your own customers? and the industry? Test the service and then, only, make decisions.
3. Pay particular to KPIs definitions: what shall be measured and where? I recall endless discussions on definitions of latency for order matching platform for instance!
4. Involve service users in your organisation in the choice of at least one KPI. Perceived quality is at least as important as quality that is actually delivered.
5. Agreed KPIs must be measurable and reportable.
6. Specify how service performance shall be – objectively – measured: which tool shall be used in particular?
7. Specify how often service performance shall be measured (monthly, quarterly…) and reported.
8. Organize service reviews on a regular basis. Don’t miss them. Discuss and agree service improvement plans as necessary.
9. Don’t hesitate to request SLAs amendments if experience shows they are not fit for purpose.
10. Always Consider other remedies to SLA failures than penalties. May be useful but all this is not, for the customer, to make money out of this… Always keep in mind that SLAs should not be drafted, agreed and implemented to sentence your service provider; it is all about working together and boosting your service quality in the end!