Customer Service – The SLA is the MINIMUM Expected

Customer Service – The SLA is the MINIMUM Expected

When you are under a Service Level Agreement (SLA), this spells out the normative and expected response times for service, failure response, and resolution protocols. SLAs are usually in place to outline what the minimum level of responsiveness to a customer issue will be, and what the penalties for missing these minimum levels of service targets will be (monetary, free services, discounts, whatever).

THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE THE BENCHMARK FOR SATISFACTORY SERVICE.

I had the ol’ “we had the server up and running under the time allowed in the SLA” canard thrown up in my face this morning. Technically, the Managed Hosting Firm DID have A server running ONE of the customer’s web sites restored, after a bad hardware failure.

However, the main customer sales application was down all weekend, and was unavailable for a trade show that the customer had over the weekend.

In fairness, the customer did not make the Managed Hosting Firm aware that things weren’t 100%. They called me, who wrote the sales software, to see if I could figure out what was wrong. I found the issue, and we resolved it a few minutes ago. Four hours into Monday, from a Friday failure. Unacceptable.

The ultimate reason that the software did not come back up is that the Managed Hosting Firm (a) did not take reasonable care to notify the customer of what failed and what corrective actions were taken, (b) the system was NOT restored to working state as it existed prior to failure, and (c) the system was not tested in full before signing off.

This wasn’t a $15 a month hosting deal. This is a managed services contract where the customer is paying a Steak Fee for apparently Baloney Service.

If you are running a services company, don’t stop at the minimum. Worse, don’t NOT do the minimum and act huffy when it is pointed out that you didn’t DO the minimum; and don’t blame the customer for not checking your work.

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