Support service levels: What’s the big deal?
12 Oct 2023
If you have not been following along, this is the 4th article in a series of articles dealing with service levels in tech contracts.
With the first article, we introduced Derick, in-house legal counsel for Vector AI, a rapidly growing tech company. Derick’s journey starts by exploring the ins and outs of System Uptime service levels (read more here).
Next, Derick learns more about the importance of having watertight Error Correction service levels in place (read more here). Lastly, Derick is educated on the importance of System Response service levels (read more here).
Now, for the last part of Derick’s journey, he will be reminded of the importance of having good support available to the system users.
Amy enters the chat
Just when Derick thought he was getting a grip on SLAs, a gust of wind followed by a whirlwind of words blew into his office. It was Amy, the operations manager, with her ever-present clipboard and a habit of speaking ten thoughts in the span of a single breath.
“Derick! Oh, thank goodness I found you. The cloud service contract? We can’t just have technical jargon. We need real support – the kind that doesn’t leave us hanging. Not some “Sorry, we’ll get back to you within a week nonsense!”
“The system could be as fast as lightning,” Amy said, adjusting her glasses, “but if there’s a hiccup and no one to help, it’s as good as useless. We need real-time help desk support, especially during our peak hours. We can’t afford delays!”
Amy continued, barely pausing for breath, “Oh, and support shouldn’t just be over email! Think about it, Derick. Phone, chat, maybe even on-site. Multiple channels mean we can get assistance the way it’s most convenient.”
Tiers of severity
Derick scribbled rapidly as Amy went on, “We must categorise issues based on severity. Not all problems are created equal. A minor glitch? Sure, a few hours’ delay is okay. But a system-wide outage? We need that addressed yesterday!”
Response vs. resolution
“There’s a difference,” Amy emphasised, “between responding to our query and actually resolving it. We need guarantees not just on how quickly they’ll acknowledge our issue but on how swiftly they’ll fix it.”
“And what if the first level of support can’t solve our issue?” Amy was on a roll. “We need an escalation process. A way to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t working; we need to talk to someone higher up.’”
“We don’t just want any support,” Amy stated. “We want trained professionals who are updated about our systems, our software, our customisations. Generic answers won’t cut it.”
Before she could rush off to her next meeting, Amy added one last point, “Also, there should be a feedback mechanism. If the support isn’t up to mark, we should have a way to report and ensure it gets better.”
Derick blinked, processing the torrent of information Amy had unleashed. He realised the gravity of her words. “Support isn’t an afterthought,” he mused. “It’s an integral part of our operations and user experience.”
With a determined nod and a renewed sense of purpose, he logged into ContractNinja and created watertight support service levels for Vector AI to ensure they receive premium support for the price they are paying for the Cloud Services.
As the sun began to set, the one thing Derick knew was that with characters like Jaco and Amy around, there was never a dull moment in his contract drafting adventures. Up next? Only time would tell.
- Uptime SLAs explained
- System response service levels
- Navigating the legal aspects of online contracts and privacy in the South African digital sphere
- The tech series – Smart contracts and blockchain
- How AI-powered legal assistance is changing the game