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  A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a contract between a service provider and a customer that defines the expectations, responsibilities, and quality of service that the provider will deliver to the customer. Writing an effective SLA is essential to ensuring that both parties understand their obligations, and it can help avoid disputes and misunderstandings.
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In this article, we’ll discuss six steps you can take to prepare a Service Level Agreement that leads to positive outcomes for you and your customers.

Define the Parties Involved and the Services to Be Provided

The first step in writing an SLA is to clearly define the parties involved in the agreement and the services that will be provided. You will need to identify the customer concerned, clarify your business’s role, and layout relevant information about any third-party providers that may be involved. It’s also important to spell out the scope of the services you will provide, and note limitations or exclusions that apply.

Identify the Service Level Objectives (SLOs)

Service level objectives (SLOs) specify the performance metrics that will be used to measure the quality and effectiveness of the services provided. These metrics may include availability, response time, resolution time, and other relevant performance indicators. SLOs should be defined in measurable terms and should be realistic and achievable.

Establish the Responsibilities and Obligations of Each Party

After the services and SLOs have been defined, it is important to establish the responsibilities and obligations of each party. They could range from the roles and duties of the service provider (you) and the customer, as well as any third-party providers. Be sure to set out what aspects of the contract’s execution each party should be in charge of, and what actions they could take if the agreed-upon service levels are not met.
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Stipulate the Reporting and Escalation Procedures

If you are keen on having your SLAs met, you will need to establish steady and effective lines of communication with every party involved. Stipulate reporting and escalation procedures to ensure that any issues or concerns are addressed in a timely manner. Define the process for reporting service disruptions or outages, and the escalation procedures that customers can explore if service levels are not met.

Establish the Process for Reviewing and Revising the SLA

Periodically review and revise SLAs to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of both parties (your business and its customers). Establishing a process for reviewing and revising an SLA will prove vital, as swift amendments that improve a lot of your customers will make them more satisfied with your service delivery. Ideally, such a plan will cover the frequency of reviews and the process for making changes.

Obtain Sign-Off and Approval

Once the SLA has been written, your next move should be to obtain sign-off and approval from all parties involved—your business (the service provider), your customer, and any third-party providers. Sign-off and approval indicate that all parties agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the SLA and are committed to meeting the agreed-upon service levels.
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Final Words

If you’re a service provider, you’ll want your SLAs to be as comprehensive and well-defined as possible. It’s essential to ensure that both you and your customers are on the same page about your obligations and expectations. Follow the steps we’ve discussed in this article to create SLAs that work for everyone involved in the service provision process. Featured Image Source: Virtual PBX
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This article was first published on 29th March 2023


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “How to Draw Up a Service Level Agreement”

  • The SLA should outline the services to be supplied, their anticipated service levels, and the metrics used to monitor those services.
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