What is an SLA (service level agreement)?
A service level agreement (SLA) is a contractual agreement between a business and its customers that defines the level of service the business must provide.
Designed to set clear expectations, an SLA lays out the specific metrics, standards, and responsibilities that both parties agree to uphold to foster a mutually beneficial relationship.
Common terms in SLAs with an API provider
An SLA defines the benchmarks and performance metrics that the in-app communications platform should meet. This includes API uptime and downtime, message delivery time, support availability, system responsiveness, maintenance, and more.
The SLA outlines the procedures and compensation in the case of any unplanned downtime or service disruptions. Leading API platforms set and meet specific targets for these metrics to guarantee their platform performs as promised. For example, Sendbird’s SLA commits to 99.9% API availability over a monthly period.
Support and response times
The SLA should outline the expected response times to customer support inquiries and technical issues. This includes defining the priority levels and escalation procedures for different issues and specifying the timeframe within which the provider will address issues.
For example, Sendbird’s support SLA provides that Priority 1 support requests (e.g. if key functionality is impaired) have a response time of 1 hour for Gold and Platinum support plans. We use our SLA as a set of service goals, a way to measure our processes and handle customer needs in a timely, effective fashion.
Data security and privacy measures
The SLA will often address relevant data security and privacy considerations. It can lay out how the provider protects user data in the context of data protection regulations such as SOC Type 2 or HIPAA, and specify the security measures within the platform that safeguard user information from abuse. The SLA also outlines the frequency and requirements of performance reports, ensuring transparency and accountability to customers.
Service level agreements are used to set clear expectations, define performance standards, and establish a framework for resolving any issues or disputes between a business and its customers. They’re the backbone of customer support relationships between a provider and a business, helping to ensure high-quality service and support at every step.
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