A service agreement is a negotiated agreement under which the service provider agrees to perform specific tasks for a set price, at certain times, and to pre-set criteria. Companies use service agreements for anything from equipment maintenance, software problem resolution services, repair or warranty services, web services, special events, or almost any other circumstance where you require the services of another individual or company.
While many manufacturers of software and hardware present their own service agreement that covers their services, in most instances, those set terms can be adjusted to better suit your company’s, and your customer’s, needs. Depending on provisions and promises you’ve made to your customers, items such as response times, level of personnel rendering the services, what constitutes an emergency, what to do in the event of a failure, alternate levels defining failure, among others, are all items that might need to be adjusted to fit your company needs and customer expectations. These items, which in some cases are wholly dependent upon the agreements you commit to, can have a large impact on your company’s reputation and online reviews.
Depending on the industry, the importance of service agreements can range from merely adequate to life-sustaining. If your software has an issue, or one of many machines doesn’t work, as long as you have alternate solutions or machines, the details within your existing service package may see you through. If that software or machine touches or concerns patient care, or has other healthcare ramifications, a properly drafted services agreement could be critical. Medical software and equipment produces its own problems and concerns as any down time has the potential to cause patient care concerns, some quite critical, and can affect that patient’s future services or procedures. Beyond that, medical equipment is quite costly and care providers depend on a steady stream of continuous usage to offset those costs, which is directly adversely affected by any down time, not only through lack of revenue being produced, but also the onslaught of additional administrative expenses incurred by rescheduling patients and related future services or procedures, additional correspondence with insurers, staff reassignments, and many other direct and indirect costs.
Certain relationships, goods, and services benefit greatly from establishing a Master Services Agreement, against which future services are provided. The terms and conditions of the Master would cover all future services released, with reliable time windows for response time(s). Individual repair time frames, date, place and other specifics, typically unknown prior to failure, can be within stated contractual parameters by type and severity of failure. The benefits may include set pricing for a period of time, having a steady vendor/customer base, and the reassurance of competent help at the ready in the event of system failure.
Susan Larsen has over 30 years of contracting experience and can carefully negotiate and draft to your specific needs, including what the services covers, the quality of the services to be rendered, time of performance, any safety or security precautions must be taken, acceptance, billing, emergency procedures, how any changes to the services will be performed and documented, ownership of the service provider’s work product, when applicable, and how the agreement may be terminated.