Feb 4, 2013
Dan Ushman
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Everyone here at SingleHop enjoys talking about transparency—which is good because we get asked a lot about our innovative and apparently industry-leading approach to transparency and accountability. Much of the attention began early last year when David Strom, writing in the highly regarded tech pub ReadWrite authored an article about our policies that carried the title: “The Best SLA Ever.”

Strom’s opening captured the need for our SLA: “You no doubt are somewhat cynical about service level agreements (SLAs), those little-reviewed documents that promise the level of service from your hosting provider. Little-read that is, until something goes awry. Enter SingleHop, a Chicago-based provider that is trying to make a name for itself by actually delivering a solid “Bill of Rights” for customers and promising to pay when they don’t meet their SLA.”

SingleHop Standard Bill of Rights SLA

SingleHop Standard Bill of Rights SLA

He even reproduced part of our SLA chart that shows exactly what our SLA is for a number of metrics . . . plus what the customer is given if an SLA is not made. You can see for yourself how simple and clear we make our Regular SLA and our Enhanced SLA, but for a quick glimpse, here’s a look at just part of our Regular SLA:

Our Enhanced SLA provides even faster response times of course (30 minutes for Hardware Replacement, 10 minutes for First Response to Support Ticket, and 30 minutes for Ticket Update Frequency) but more than our speed is our dependability, and the fact that we state exactly what the customer will be credited for our not meeting an SLA.

Early last year, some of our customers experienced an outage because of equipment failure. Using our SLA we credited nearly six-figures to customer accounts. And we did this without customers asking or knowing. We simply sent an e-mail to the impacted clients explaining our policy and exactly how much their next invoices would be credited for the downtime. No forms to fill out. No documentation needed. By the way, here’s a look at what we guarantee our users, compared to what the actual times are.

SingleHop Behind the Numbers:

Service

SLA

  Actual Average  

First Response to a Support Ticket

1 Hour

17 Minutes

Updated Ticket Frequency

2 Hour

43 Minutes

Server Deployment

1 Hour

48 Minutes

Virtual Machine Deployment

30 Minutes

17 Minutes

Network and Power Uptime

100%

100%

So, people ask us how we managed to create such a radically user-respectful program. The truth is that we simply put a public-facing interface to our own internal SLAs (though our internal ones are even more stringent.) This is how we built our company. Maybe it was our total nerd factor, but from the very beginning of SingleHop we concentrated on creating processes and automations to enhance efficiency, and all along we used internal SLAs to measure their effectiveness.

This means that our Bill of Rights “The Best SLA Ever” wasn’t something we pasted onto the company. It was foundational to how we created our company. It was built from the inside out. The SLAs also emerged from out total belief in the power of transparency. In fact, if you’d like to see exactly what is happening within our systems at any moment of the day, just check out our System Status page for uptime, support stats, and a wealth of other information.

Since I began this by quoting one author, I’ll end it with another. Justin Lee, writing in Web Host Industry Review, concluded his article like this: “SingleHop’s more customer-friendly SLA begs the question, is this a model that other hosting providers would benefit from adopting?”

 

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