Could Service Level Agreements Help Your Tech Support?
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, June 27 6:00
Response times can create an ongoing issue for a help desk, whether they re replying to internal requests for assistance or they re interacting with a nationwide network of customers. While simpler tickets can be resolved with one phone call, more complex issues often require escalation or repeat calls, which extends the time to completion.
While reports can give teams insight into how long resolutions are taking, an IT team needs to let its end users know what timeframes they can expect when they call for help. This can be done through the use of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which serve as a contract for what you ll provide. By putting these standards in writing, your team has an incentive to make a daily effort to honor your commitment. But there are a few things to consider before setting an SLA for your IT team.
Making a Commitment
Before deciding to put SLAs in place for your tech teams, understand the pressure it will put on your team to live up to that. If you need an SLA to lock in a client contract or your end users have demanded one, you ll have no choice. However, if your team is merely considering offering an SLA without being asked, it s important to only include things you know you can deliver without fail. This includes your team s response time to various levels of ticket importance. You may promise to resolve any urgent issue within four hours, but what happens if your team finds the problem is more complicated and requires extra time? Will you then be seen as incompetent?
An SLA doesn t just protect your end users against sluggish response times and poor service. It also allows you to outline how help should be requested, whether it s an equipment move or a lost password. Tech teams regularly deal with end users trying to go around the system it has in place, often flagging down passing technicians or calling them directly to get special treatment. It s important to consider whether an SLA can help with this.
The Importance of Standards
While an SLA can create pressure, it also pushes a team to hold themselves to standards. Without it, calls can easily fall through the cracks or remain ignored for weeks at a time. When they know they re being monitored and may be called into question for failing to resolve a ticket within a certain period of time, technicians may be more conscientious. Whether or not this requires an SLA shared with the end users depends on the team. In some cases, simply pulling a report and rewarding top-performing technicians each month could provide the incentive necessary to push your workers forward.
SLAs are a great way to put your commitment to your end users in writing. As long as you re sure you can meet the standards you re setting on a daily basis, create a document and try out your new work standards within your team before sharing them with the end users.