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+++ date = "2016-10-25T00:00:00Z" title = "Support & SLA" featureslug = "support" type = "feature" hero = "/images/support.svg" metadescription = "A guide for SaaS companies to meet and exceed the SLA and support requirements of their enterprise customers." pagetitle = "Enterprise Ready SaaS App Guide to Support & SLA" ogimage = "images/twtr/support-og.png" +++

SLA (Service Level Agreement)

Uptime

This is a common request from enterprise customers. Generally they’ll want a contractual guarantee that your service will be in service 99.9% of the time… they might even push for "five 9s… 99.999%. This is less of a product feature, but the likely solution to achieving high availability often lies in being able to run your application in multiple availability regions. It is important to report this with some amount of historical transparency. A service like StatusPage or Status.io can be used to maintain the historical record of availability.

Response times

Within this SLA you’ll also likely find your commitment to provide support hours, emergency support and response times. Response times vary by the severity of the issue that is being raised. Severity is often categorized into Sev1, Sev2, Sev3 with clear definitions for the issues that will fall into each category. Application downtime with no work around is a clear Sev1 issue, potential security vulnerabilities are generally elevated to Sev1 as well. Response times for Sev1 is likely under 3 hours. Response is defined as the time it takes for a qualified team member to acknowledge the issue and begin to diagnose the problem.

Support

There are many different methods for providing support for your customers. By offering different levels of support to your customers you can fairly easily differentiate your various pricing plans. For many open source companies, offering support services is the only business model that they leverage.
Community-based- Generally for lower tier customers who will be able to ask questions of other community members in a forum.
Email - Email support is generally seen as a low-cost way to offer direct support to your customers as you can create a queue of incoming emails and prioritize them based on the support contract.
Phone - Offered as a bit more of an "on-demand" or "instant-response" support option for customers who prefer to talk to someone immediately when they have a question.
Dedicated customer success manager - A single point of contact for all account related questions. This person serves as an advocate for the customer's requests & issues within the SaaS company.

Training

Docs, videos, tutorials, in-person training.

Roadmap

Your enterprise customers will expect some visibility into your roadmap. They want to be able to shape the features that you’ll be adding to ensure that you continue to meet their changing needs.

Additional contractual requests

Your customers will eventually ask for things like business insurance, source code escrow and indemnification. These aren’t really product features but they’re important to understand as they’ll come up in enterprise contract negotiations. They’ll also need to understand that your product is built with application security in mind, often the deliverable is an application security document.

Examples