Service Level Agreements: The Service Industry Guide
When taking on new jobs, it’s important to set expectations for your customers.
They can then understand what kind of timeframe is estimated for the work. Service level agreements – or SLAs – can help establish these initial expectations, not just for your customers, but also for your internal team.
Service management software can help you easily create and manage service level agreements. We’ll cover what service level agreements are, the benefits of them and how you can easily set up and manage them.
What Are Service Level Agreements?
A service level agreement sets out the expectations of a given service. This can be a deadline agreed between a customer and the company. Typically, this can be the completion deadline for a job, whether that is a boiler installation or call out.
It’s a fundamental tool for your key contract customer accounts. Giving you greater insight into your business transactions and job efficiency. Consistently meeting these deadlines can increase customer satisfaction, as well as staff motivation. But what other benefits can SLAs have for your business?
Types Of Service Level Agreements
Depending on your industry, you can implement a few different service level agreements into your business.
The main case for SLAs is for external use. Communicate with your clients when establishing new projects or contracts and agree on the service expectations.
Providing a standard service level agreement for all your clients ensure every job meets a consistent level of high standard every time. You can set out the expectations for the client, as well as the quality of the work all in one document. It can then demonstrate the process of what will happen if these standards are met within the agreed upon timeframe.
But SLAs don’t just need to be used for your clients. They can also be applied for your engineers.
Add a call out response time for specific jobs so your engineers can stick to their deadlines. Maintain a standard across your business to ensure an expectation is set for your workforce.
Benefits Of Service Level Agreements
Now you may be thinking ‘but why should I be using service level agreements?’ There are many reasons why service level agreements can help your business. Here are just a few benefits:
Never miss a deadline
When a deadline for a job – whether that is an installation or a call out – is set, your team can then be motivated to get the job done within that timeframe.
You can also customise these depending on what kind of deadline it is. Whether you want the countdown to start when the job starts or after the initial call. Apply different SLAs to job templates or to customers so they are automatically applied when a job is created.
Organise your engineers
Setting internal service level agreements ensures your engineers are aware of what is expected.
Improve client relationships
Customers want to know what they can expect from your service before agreeing to a work contract. Providing a service level agreement can outline what work will be completed. You can also specify the timeframes for the start and end of the project.
This way, customers know exactly what to expect from the start and will be confident in knowing the work is in good hands. Sticking to this standard of work and communication will build trust and encourage the client to come back to your business for future work.
Creating Service Level Agreements
So, now you know what service level agreements are and how they can benefit your business management, how can you implement them?
The most efficient way of creating service level agreements would be using management software designed for your industry. Embracing technology into your everyday management provides an easy-to-use system for you to set up, manage and monitor service level agreements. Meaning everyone is aware of the measures in place and on the same page.
The Clik Service SLA module offers flexibility and options specifically designed for the service industry.
Set up SLAs for contracts, individual sites, equipment or specific jobs. You’ll be able to set response times down to the minute from the first start time or end time on a job sheet. This allows every stage of a job is performed in an efficient manner, from initial call out to completion.
Sync these details across your engineer’s job management apps. Your team can collaborate on work seamlessly both off and onsite.
Monitoring Your Service Level Agreements
You’ve communicated with the customer and agreed on a deadline. The job sheet has the service level agreement applied so your team is aware of the expected timeframe for completion. Now it’s time to monitor any ongoing SLAs.
SLAs visually link with each of your customers’ accounts in the CRM. A countdown reminder will notify you when you’re raising a job for a customer with an SLA.
Data tracking features help you make sure you meet your agreements. Which can be viewed on your remote dashboard display in the office. Utilise thresholds to bring attention to jobs past their SLA trigger. Helping you know when you need to take action. Partner those SLA values with job management – including unassigned jobs and jobs this week – and you’ve got your own tailored way to monitor those important jobs and SLAs.
But what about when outside of the office? How do we continue to monitor our SLAs if we don’t have access to the main office system?
For your engineers onsite, they can also utilise apps or web-based software to keep track of the progress of their ongoing SLAs.
How customers can monitor their service level agreements
It’s not just engineers that will need access to view the progress of active SLAs. How can your customers check on the progress of the work without waiting for a call back?
Giving your clients access to their own web portal can provide an answer for this. Similarly to the web solution for your engineers, customers will be able to access the information relevant to them. And you can control what they see from your main database.
Further enhance your customer’s experience with your business by providing reports to show KPIs. You can create custom reports and share them with your customers using Clik Remote, so they can see how their SLAs have been performing.
The jobs list can be customised to display important SLA information, such as time remaining and SLA type, so customers can easily identify any jobs that have passed their agreed time frame.
Want to take a closer look at SLAs in service management software designed for your business? Try out Clik Service for free and see how the features can get your business on-track.
This post was first published in November 2016 and has been edited with updated information.