Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are formally negotiated arrangements between two parties, specifically related to the measurable quality of an offering or product. SLAs became standard components in the telecom contracts of the late 1980’s. Today, they continue to define the characteristics of a consumer experience and the penalties for failing to measure up to that experience. Sometimes, ‘measuring up’ requires compliance of the customer as well.
For example, a printing company promises to deliver 500 brochures by ‘close of business’, but only if the customer provides the original by 9:00AM. (By the way – what does ‘close of business’ mean? Is that part of the agreement specific enough?) By establishing ‘reciprocal’ actions with customers, client relationships are enhanced and customer service improved.
Don’t forget about monitoring SLA compliance! It is one thing to set up an agreement, it is another to confirm the agreement is being honored. In some cases, a broken SLA results in a fine, an approved delay, or a severed partnership. In corporate America, entire departments can be established to audit and review SLAs. What SLAs do you have with entities serving your business? What SLAs do you WISH you had?
SLAs establish expectations or promises of ‘performance’ between a business and its customers. Thankfully, God does not require our performance, just our faith (Ephesians 2:8). Two of my favorite SLAs with God:
- “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 29:13)
- I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
It is by grace alone that God makes infinite promises to each of us, and only through our faith is each promise revealed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 21 years.