What Is a Good Service Level Agreement

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a document that outlines the agreed-upon service standards between a client and a service provider. A good SLA sets expectations and ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding key performance indicators (KPIs), such as response time, uptime guarantees, and other metrics.

A well-constructed SLA should include several key elements that will help ensure the success of the service relationship. These elements include:

Clear Expectations

Perhaps the most important factor in a good SLA is clarity. The document should contain clear and concise descriptions of the services the provider will deliver, as well as expectations for performance and response times. It should also outline what the client can expect in terms of communication and support.

Realistic Metrics

SLAs should define realistic metrics that can be measured and tracked. Performance measures should be linked to specific outcomes that are important to the client. For example, if the service provider is responsible for providing technical support for an application, then the SLA should include metrics such as response time for support tickets, resolution time, and ticket backlog.

Reasonable Penalties

A good SLA should have penalties that are reasonable and proportionate to the service failure. For instance, if a service provider does not meet uptime guarantees, the SLA should state how the provider will compensate the client. Compensation may be in the form of service credits or other agreed-upon remedies.

Regular Reviews

It’s critical that SLAs be reviewed periodically to ensure that they remain relevant and that the service provider is meeting or exceeding the agreed-upon performance measures. Regular reviews help avoid situations where one party is “surprised” by poor performance and can help identify areas for improvement.


The SLA should include specific communication channels that can be used by both parties to communicate issues, concerns, or changes. This should include designated points of contact and escalation procedures. This ensures issues are solved in a timely and efficient manner.

In conclusion, a good SLA is a critical component of any service relationship. It sets clear expectations for the services to be provided, defines realistic metrics for performance and response times, and provides a framework for communication. With these elements in place, both parties can be confident in the success of their service relationship.

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