What is a service-level agreement?
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a formal contract that outlines the level of service that one party expects from another. Within your partnerships, an SLA clearly defines what your partners can expect from you, as well as what you expect from them. SLAs are commonly used in industries like IT, telecommunications, and customer support to ensure that service providers meet agreed-upon benchmarks in terms of quality, response times, availability, and other KPIs.
Service-level agreements help establish clear expectations, define service parameters, and provide a basis for measuring and managing service delivery. For example, if you sell video conferencing solutions through value-added resellers, your SLA might detail the kind of support and resources you’ll provide to your partners. This could include training materials, sales support, or after-sales service. On the flip side, the SLA would also state what you expect from your partners, such as meeting certain sales targets, customer satisfaction scores, or adhering to your brand guidelines.
A service-level agreement typically defines:
- The service provided, along with each party’s scope of responsibilities
- Quantifiable measures to assess service level, such as response times or uptime percentages
- What will happen if the service levels are not achieved
- The duration of the agreement, review points, and circumstances under which the SLA can be modified or terminated
A well-crafted SLA creates a shared understanding between you and your partners. It sets the groundwork for a successful partnership by aligning expectations, ensuring your customers get the quality experience they deserve.