Service Level Agreement & Support

A list of questions to ask your Direct Debit provider about the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and customer support.

Suggested questions to ask your Direct Debit provider include:

Question Explanation
1. Will we be given a dedicated account manager? Self-explanatory.
2. What hours will the account manager be reachable? You should ensure that you can reach someone in an emergency and/or if the service goes down.
3. Do you provide UK-based support? Preferable so that they keep the same hours as you.
4. What hours is your support desk available? Self-explanatory.
5. What is the SLA for response time if your service goes down or there is an issue with any of our Direct Debits? The provider should commit to informing you of issues within a certain window. You should aim for the same day at least. A resolution plan should also follow.
6. Describe your response protocols to both minor and major incidents and explain how we will be informed of the incident, resolution steps and preventative actions for future incidents. You should look for detailed response protocols in both cases and clear resolution and information mechanisms.
7. What is the target resolution time for minor incidents? Major incidents? Minor incidents should be resolved within a few hours; major incidents may take longer.
8. When will maintenance of the website take place? How much notice will we receive when scheduled maintenance takes place? You should receive at least a week's notice of planned maintenance to allow you to plan around this. Maintenance should always be scheduled.
9. What is the maximum amount of scheduled maintenance that will take place in a month, in hours? This should not be more than a few hours per month.
10. What is the SLA for uptime of your service? You want at least 'three nines' of availability. A good explanation can be found here.
11. How do you define/calculate 'uptime' and are there any exceptions e.g. scheduled maintenance? Scheduled maintenance can be excluded from 'uptime' definition for clarity's sake.
12. Through what channels can we expect support? (e.g. phone, email, web chat etc.) Self-explanatory.
13. What is the process if we wish to move away from your service? What support will be given? Some providers lock you in for a certain number of years and/or will not provide you with support if you wish to move away. You should look for a provider that helps with this process (known as a 'bulk change').

Our sample RFP includes all of the questions above and more. You can download it here and use it as a template for creating your own.

Note: The questions suggested on this page are intended as a starting place for writing your own RFP. They're provided for general information only: they're not intended to be prescriptive or to provide legal advice. We suggest working closely with your management to develop an RFP that is tailored towards the specific requirements of your business.

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