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Consider the following scenario: DSL was nice but your operation is growing. You need faster speeds. You call Phone Company X and ask for help getting faster service. The sales rep comes out offering competitive prices, billing examples and some performance metrics that may or may not be very relevant to you. You want three things: faster speed, better reliability and the ability to get money back if the first two things don’t happen.

The only way to ensure you can get all three is to ask one question: does my new service come with an SLA or Service Level Agreement. So what does it mean? How does the SLA benefit you?

  1. You get a specific response time in writing for all service interruptions
  2. You get a written of how interruptions will be fixed and how quickly
  3. You get an exact calculation of how much money you’ll receive for each interruption
  4. The SLA is the one item making the Carrier liable to you for performance

Review the SLA carefully. Make sure you understand how to use it in the event of slow or interrupted service. There should be a description of response time. In most cases, the carrier has four hours to respond to a “customer-reported” outage. While some carriers are sophisticated enough to open trouble tickets proactively, many other are not so enabled. So, you’re strongly advised to call your carrier any time there’s an interruption. Finally, make sure you are issued a ticket number and note the time of the ticket. This is your first and most important step toward receiving credits. Always use this information to file a credit claim once the trouble is resolved.

The most important reason to utilize an SLA is to ensure better service response. The financial credits are not significant. What is important is ensuring accountability from your carrier’s service team. You want to be sure you have a vendor who responds quickly. Service interruptions impair your business. Sometimes outages are unavoidable (for weather or power-related reasons). The SLA is an important tool your IT or management staff should know how to use. Make sure you purchase a service that includes an SLA.