Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of the success of your Service Level Agreement is the manager who oversees its development, implementation and performance. While there are many different reasons why you should designate an SLA manager, many businesses are confused regarding who should take this job. Because of the importance and value an SLA has over the communications and expectations between a customer and a business, many organizations choose to hire a full-time SLA manager.
Roles and Responsibilities of an SLA Manager
While the exact responsibilities an SLA manager may have varies based upon the type of work the business performs, there are several primary roles this professional must carry out. Before assigning this position, it’s important that the professional is able to fulfill the following roles and responsibilities. You may be surprised at how dynamic this position truly is.
- Selling Responsibility – An SLA manager has the responsibility of selling the benefits of the Service Level Agreement and its terms to current and potential customers. If the manager is unable to clearly define the benefits and requirements of each section, you may be presented with a customer who agreed to the SLA under false pretenses.
- Negotiating Responsibility – SLA managers are designed to work directly with both parties to create an agreement that satisfies both of their requirements. Therefore, an SLA manager also works as a professional negotiator capable of opening up the floor for debate and offering constructive suggestions to move along this sometimes complex process.
- Conflict Manager – There are times when actual, or hypothetical, service delivery issues arise. When this is the case, an SLA manager is responsible for managing this conflict in a fast and effective manner. The best person suited for this job is one who’s able to quickly gather information, identify issues and proactively work with both parties to resolve these issues.
The following are other responsibilities and expectations that fall into this professional position:
- Serving as the point of contact between two or more parties regarding the SLA and any concerns that are created due to the actual agreement or delivery of service from the business to customer (or vice versa).
- Service as the primary contact when an issue must be escalated. Therefore, the SLA manager must be able to look at each situation objectively, not merely for the benefit of his employer.
- Calculating and implementing changes to the Service Level Agreement. There are many times when an SLA must be modified based upon circumstances or alterations within an industry or client.
- Facilitating conflict resolution steps. When an issue arises between a business and a customer, it’s the responsibility of the SLA manager to facilitate the necessary processes to begin conflict resolution procedures.
- Assess the effectiveness and validity of Service Level Agreement. Not only is this professional responsible for overseeing the implementation of an SLA, but he must continually assess the effectiveness of a current SLA and determine whether or not any changes should be implemented to continually provide excellent communications between the business and the customer.