As a commercial cleaning service, the contract entered into with customers is the foundation of the business relationship, and in common with physical foundations you don’t want a great deal of change or movement in the contract, once it is in place.
A contract will typically lay out the agreed financials, describe the contract termination procedure and define a broad service definition in terms of time and scope. It will also include a detailed contract brief explaining all definitions and terms within the contract.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) bear a superficial similarity to contracts, in that they describe the service provision offered, but they are much more important and useful than that. Writing a draft Service Level Agreement in the first place requires us to build a reasonably detailed understanding of our customers’ businesses to determine how to best meet their needs.
The process of agreeing a service level allows our customers to communicate their expectations and needs in more detail. At the end of the process, the SLA will set out the roles and responsibilities on both sides, agreed expectations and details of all the services provided, and this information can then be communicated to all staff. The SLA builds customer confidence in two ways, by ensuring that expectations and service delivery are well matched, and by setting out the agreed performance monitoring points.
Businesses change all the time and that’s why a Service Level Agreement can be so useful. An SLA can be reviewed and amended as often as is needed, whether it’s a change in responsibilities, or a change in the extent of services, the SLA offers customers flexibility and choice.
Even the best Service Level Agreement should be reviewed periodically, as a chance to adjust and fine tune the service delivery, and this is an effective route into establishing regular and productive communications with our customers.
You can’t necessarily judge a cleaning company on the nature of the contract they offer, as most will be quite similar in character and content. The Service Level Agreement, however, is a good indicator of just how professional, thorough and reliable a cleaning firm is.