When dealing with customers, it is important to adhere to that customer’s service level agreement (SLA). An SLA is a contract that defines expectations between an organization and the service vendor to provide an agreed-on level of support. As an employee of the service company, your job is to honor the SLA that you have with the customer.
An SLA is typically a legal agreement that contains the responsibilities and liabilities of all parties involved. Some of the contents of an SLA usually include the following:
- Response time guarantees (often based on type of call and level of service agreement)
- Equipment and software that is supported
- Where service is provided
- Preventive maintenance
- Part availability (equivalent parts)
- Cost and penalties
- Time of service availability (for example, 24x7 or Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST)
Occasionally, there might be exceptions to the SLA. Some exceptions might include a customer’s option to upgrade the level of service or to escalate a problem to management for review. Escalation to management should be reserved for special situations. For example, a long-standing customer or a customer from a large company might have a problem that falls outside the parameters stated in their SLA. In these cases, your management might choose to support the customer for customer-relation reasons.