Communicating-SLA-to-Users

In helping organizations to create Service Level Agreements (SLA), I often encounter cases where some of my Customers only view the SLA as a contract requirement for their suppliers. In fact, they establish different service level agreements (properly called UC –Underpinning Contracts-and OLA –Operational Level Agreements) as a relationship model, but they don’t communicate them and keep them restricted to a review meeting done “em petit-comité” whom govern the contract.

In my years of experience, I have not found a better way of managing expectations than communication of SLA to the Users. This way the SLA becomes an operational reality. They are no longer seen only as a requirement for a contract, as they have become the day to day relationship in the Service delivery to the users.

For this purpose there are a wide variety of options: publishing them at the internal corporate website (intranet) or the service support website (customer online service); making custom mouse pads for the end users with the Service Desk (SPOCSingle Point of Contact) channels and service agreements; making flyers and haging them over the users desks; putting announcements on a bulletin board; or the simplest one, adding them to the signature in all the mail notifications sent by the Service Desk. With something like:

In the following, we inform you the Service Level Agreements (SLA) in regards to maximum deadlines (in labor days):
– Low Incidents: 1 hour Response Time; 3 days Resolution Time from the submitting date
– Low Service Requests: 2 hours Response Time; 6 days Resolution Time from the submitting date
– Medium Incidents: 1 hour Response Time; 2 days Resolution Time from the submitting date
– Medium Service Requests: 2 hours Response Time; 4 days Resolution Time from the submitting date
– High Incidents: 30 minutes Response Time; 12 hours Resolution Time from the submitting date
– High Service Requests: 2 hours Response Time; 24 hours Resolution Time from the submitting date
– Critical Incidents: 30 minutes Response Time; 4 hours Resolution Time from the submitting date
– Critical Service Requests: 1 hour Response Time; 8 hours Resolution Time from the submitting date
All these deadlines apply discounting the “pending” status time depending on the customer.

At the beginning, it is not easy to get Customer acceptance of announcing the SLA (Customers are afraid of the decisions they have made in the agreement and what will say Users about them). But when the Users start to be informed about the deadline and about when things are going to get done, uncertainty disappears and then expectations are much more clear to all the stakeholders involved.

Also, when Users get involved in the service level agreements, the SLA continuous improvement reviews become more aligned to their real needs as they (the reviews) also contain their feedback about the previous ones.

In conclusion, I highly recommend working end-to-end over the service delivery chain for getting better SLA value results.

Do you communicate SLA to the Users?

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Author: angelberniz (All Rights Reserved by the author).
Source: Original text (based upon first hand knowledge).
Image: © Pressmaster – photodune.net
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