What is the number one reason relationships fail? Frustrated expectations.

What is the number one reason relationships fail? Frustrated expectations.

By : Dalia E Paratore Harrison

What is the number one reason relationships fail? Frustrated expectations.  And this applies to business relationships as well.  When companies launch into a business relationship it is crucial to make sure that among all the contracts and agreements that you sign you also include a solid Service-Level Agreement (SLA).  Service-Level agreements are the first step in creating a relationship between a service provider and a customer; and making sure that expectations are agreed upon, written down and signed off on.

An SLA is an agreement between two parties where one is the client and the other the service provider.  It may involve separate organizations or teams within the same organization. The purpose of the SLA is to clearly outline the services that one party will supply the other and includes many components from definition of services to the termination of the agreement.

In order to ensure that the terms of the SLA are consistently met, these agreements are often designed with specific lines of demarcation and the parties involved are required to meet regularly to assess delivery and performance.

Depending upon the need there are different kinds of SLAs:

  1. Customer-based SLA-agreement between provider and on customer or customer group
  2. Service-based SLA-agreement between provider and entire organization or all customers
  3. Multilevel SLA          -corporate (entire organization), customer (specific recipient) and services (specific services)

Without an SLA it is not clear what will happen if one of the parties does not hold up to their end of the bargain.  With an SLA, all the services that are included in the agreement are described and can also contain details on the metrics that will be used to monitor performance; as well as problem-solving procedures. Metrics should be within the service provider’s control. If the service provider cannot control whether the metric performs within specification, then it is unfair to hold them accountable for the metric. Conversely, this helps protect the client if the services outlined in the SLA are not being met by the provider.  Terms for time to discuss and possibly adjust requirements, especially if the service provider cannot reasonably provide them, is not out of order. The SLA provides a framework for accountability that serves to clarify the expectations of the working relationship.

Properly agreeing and outlining what is expected from each party allows for transparency and trust on both sides. This will ensure that your relationship not succumb to the death knell of frustrated expectations.

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