Positioning yourself to be successful with customers is important and, too often, businesses don’t prioritize when and how they communicate to maintain positive relationships.
One way to formalize how customers work with your business is to establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Mutually agreed upon by both parties, this outlines how your company will communicate with customers in a variety of situations.
For example, a standard SLA would be that your company agrees to respond to “urgent” issues within two hours and “non-urgent” issues within 24 hours. These time parameters will always let both sides know where an issue stands in relation to your business and when communication needs to happen.
But, the main benefits of an SLA are more than just piece of mind. Here are a few ways that SLAs save businesses time and money…
You can increase customer retention through SLAs – No customer, large or small, wants to feel like their issues don’t matter to your business. And even though you might not feel as though you’re taking a long time to respond, in the eyes of the customer this may be the case. With defined and agreed upon SLAs, customers know exactly what to expect in how your business communicates. This knowledge reassures your customers that they are still a priority to you and can greatly decrease churn because of late responses or forgotten tickets.
SLAs help to prioritize the work of your team – Sometimes your agents wake up to 50 new tickets because an issue popped up overnight. How does your team organize all these inquiries in the best way possible? Thanks to customer support software with SLA capabilities, you can evaluate all the new tickets and know exactly which ones need an immediate response. Leverage this information to plan your workflow for the day and ensure all customers are receiving timely communication for their issue.
SLAs create boundaries for customer communication – The more customers a business acquires, the more likely they are to get certain customers with high demands. Although this type of customer can sometimes be your best advocate, sometimes they aren’t patient in waiting for a response to even a minor concern. SLAs provide customer support teams with a leg to stand on when this customer is constantly reaching out and asking for an update. They create defined windows of time (determined by severity) that a customer agrees to in which your team can respond. Citing an SLA can help realign a customer’s perspective on the communication path for their concern.
Excellent SLAs can be an asset for acquiring new business – A well designed SLA strategy eliminates the guesswork of customer communication and can be leveraged as a competitive advantage. When sales are asked questions about the responsiveness of your company when an issue occurs, cite your SLA capabilities through your customer support software system. Share references that have excellent SLAs in place that the prospects can contact to be reassured their communication needs will be met by your business.
In short, SLAs save businesses time and money by increasing your appeal to customers and improving internal efficiency. They enable your employees to work smarter and the communication boundaries created by SLAs boost morale for all customer-facing teams. Businesses also leverage SLAs to increase customer retention and boost sales by emphasizing that customer concerns won’t be forgotten and communication will always be prompt.
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