What is a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

Service level agreement (SLA) is a promise between two companies or a company and its customer. It sets out what kind of service will be provided, how long it will take, and what happens if the company doesn't keep its promise.

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A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is like a promise or a contract between two companies or between a company and a customer. It sets out what kind of service the company promises to provide, how long it will take, and what will happen if they don't keep its promise.

For example, if you have internet service, the company might promise that the internet will be working 99% of the time, and if it's not, you might get a credit on your bill. SLAs help ensures everyone knows what to expect and helps keep the company accountable for providing good service.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Types of Service Level Agreements (SLA)

There are three main types of SLAs: customer, internal, and multilevel.

  • Customer SLAs: These SLAs are agreements between a service provider and its customers. They outline the services that will be provided, the quality of the service, response times, and any other important factors to the customer. It ensures that the customer receives the level of service they expect and that the service provider meets their obligations.
  • Internal SLAs: These SLAs are agreements between different departments or teams within a service provider's organization. They outline the services provided to internal customers, such as various departments within the same company. It ensures that internal customers receive the level of service they expect and that the service provider meets their obligations.
  • Multilevel SLAs: These agreements define the level of service that will be provided at different levels within a service provider's organization. For example, a multilevel SLA may represent different service levels for other customers based on their priority level. It is designed to ensure that customers receive the appropriate level of service based on their needs and preferences.

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Service Level Agreement (SLA) benefits

Here are some benefits of having an SLA:

  • Better Service: An SLA helps ensure the company providing the service is giving you the best service possible. They want to keep their promise in the agreement and keep you happy.
  • No Surprises: It lets you know exactly what you can expect from the company, so there won't be any surprises. If something goes wrong, you'll know exactly what to do next.
  • Fair Treatment: If a company has an SLA, it must treat everyone the same way. So, if your friend has the same service, they'll get the same service you do.
  • Holding Companies Accountable: An SLA holds the company accountable for keeping its promises. If they don't keep their promise, you know what steps to take next.

Things to consider when setting up an SLA with a provider

When setting up an SLA with a service provider, it is important to consider different factors carefully and to negotiate a document that meets the needs and expectations of both parties. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Service Description: Clearly define the services that will be provided by the service provider and the customer's expectations. This includes the scope of services, quality standards, and specific requirements.
  2. Performance Metrics: Establish clear metrics to measure the service provider's performance. This also includes response times, uptime, and other factors important to the customer.
  3. Service Level Objectives: Define the service level objectives that the service provider must meet, such as a guaranteed response time, maximum downtime, and any other relevant factors.
  4. Response and Resolution Times: Specify the response and resolution times for different incidents and issues. This also helps to ensure that the service provider can meet the customer's expectations for timely response and resolution of issues.
  5. Monitoring and Reporting: Establish a method for monitoring and reporting the service provider's performance. This helps to ensure that the customer can track the provider's performance and identify areas for improvement.
  6. Service Credits: Consider including a service credit policy in the SLA to provide financial incentives for the service provider to meet their obligations. This also helps ensure that the service provider takes their responsibilities seriously and works to meet the customer's expectations.
  7. Review and Renewal: Establish a regular review and renewal process for the SLA to ensure that it remains relevant and up-to-date. This also helps ensure that the SLA meets the customer's evolving needs and expectations.


In conclusion, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a contract between two parties that outlines the services promised and the consequences if they are not met. There are three types of SLAs: customer, internal, and multilevel. The benefits of having an SLA include better service, clear expectations, fair treatment, and accountability.

When setting up an SLA, important factors include service description, performance metrics, response times, monitoring, and review/renewal processes.

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