The Need to Shift from SLAs to XLAs

AI & Automation
Digital Transformation
The Need to Shift from SLAs to XLAs

The Need to Shift from SLAs to XLAs

AI & Automation
Digital Transformation
The Need to Shift from SLAs to XLAs

Digitization and employee-centricity in today's rapidly changing business environment is not just a fad but an industry-defining force. Businesses are now using technology to meet the demands of their employees more than ever before, and as such, exceptional employee experience becomes a key determinant of success.

The success or failure of a product or service in this digital age depends mainly on users' feelings about it. They might not recall an item's technical specifications, but they will vividly remember the feelings associated with its use, especially during critical moments. This highlights how IT solutions must surpass traditional SLAs and integrate user experience expectations.

Consequently, IT outsourcing companies have had to review their approach by moving from SLAs into XLAs (experience-level agreements). Such changes acknowledge that satisfying user interactions seamlessly should be given priority rather than just achieving technical benchmarks. The blog, therefore, touches on why this shift is highly needed and elaborates on how these XLAs will shape the IT outsourcing sector for better customer satisfaction like never before.

Understanding SLAs

SLAs are contracts or agreements between service providers and their users that explain the level of service that the provider is expected to provide. Both parties have their metrics, responsibilities, and expectations.

The idea of SLAs is about creating transparent and quantifiable objectives regarding quality of service, availability, performance, and other relevant aspects. They generally depend on both customer needs and preferences as well as the capabilities and resources the service provider needs. An SLA offers a means for managing and monitoring service relationships, thus facilitating accountability and mutual understanding concerning roles and obligations.

Let's delve into the key characteristics of SLAs:

Metric Focused

SLAs are metrics. These metrics cover different service delivery elements like response times and resolution time-frames. By way of these metrics, SLAs quantify performance, thus enabling a well-defined benchmark for evaluating the quality of service.

Reactive Approach

In most cases, SLAs take a reactive approach by responding to incidents or service interruptions as they arise. This reactive aspect ensures that agreed service levels are addressed through contingency planning. Hence, SLAs can be described as living documents because they can quickly adapt to needs and challenges within the service environment.

Technical Performance

Another integral part of SLAs is technical performance. This refers to the dependability of the underlying technical infrastructure that supports the service, such as being reliable, available, and efficient enough. By outlining criteria for technical performance, SLAs serve as foundations for ensuring that services remain solid and dependable.

Quantitative Measurement

Quantification forms the very foundation of how SLAs work by enabling objective assessment and comparison of service performance. With quantitative measurement, stakeholders can specifically evaluate compliance with stipulated levels of services. This quantifiable lens makes Transparent and accountable measurements possible so that appraisals are grounded on empirical data.

Introducing XLAs

Experience-level agreements (XLAs) are a recent concept in Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) and are increasingly being adopted, especially in customer-centric industries.

Unlike traditional SLAs, which only focus on ensuring that services meet specific predefined criteria, XLAs shift their attention from these service-level satisfaction measurements to concentrate on the end-user or customer experience. Their design measures and enhances the quality of the user experience rather than just service performance metrics. Usability, accessibility, effectiveness, and emotional satisfaction are commonly seen as xlA’s metrics.

XLAs aim to ensure that all goals of the service provider align with actual users’ or customers’ desires. XLAs define and measure user experience quality, thus encouraging these providers to prioritize activities that improve their customers’ loyalty and satisfaction. It may also lead to delivering more focused services on clients' needs by transforming it from a technology-based approach alone into one that makes this even more magical.

Let's delve into the key characteristics of XLAs:

Experience Focused

XLAs are different from traditional SLAs since they emphasize the end-user experience above all. They include ways of designing services that focus on functional delivery and user engagement's emotional and psychological aspects. The objective is to ensure that every point of interaction in the service has a positive feeling around it, resulting in customer satisfaction.

Proactive Approach

XLAs take an active role that involves being proactive rather than reactive. Instead of waiting for problems to crop up, service providers anticipate and proactively address user needs. These proactive approaches are aimed at minimizing disruptions, enhancing user satisfaction levels, and promoting long-term loyalty relationships.

Human-Centric Performance

The central concept behind XLA is recognizing the importance of people elements in delivering services. By exploring usability, empathy, and personalization, XLAs go beyond technical performance indicators by assessing how much value users derive from these services within their lives. Consequently, XLAs aim to facilitate enjoyable experiences for individuals by performing to satisfy their human needs.

Qualitative Measurement

In contrast to SLAs, which majorly depend on quantitative metrics, XLAs use qualitative measurements to evaluate performance. These involve collecting opinions by questioning people about feelings and analyzing messages sent to determine whether or not consumers are happy with what they receive from businesses’ conduct. On the other hand, qualitative data can help any enterprise understand how customers feel about what they offer or do not offer.

Advantages of Adopting XLAs Over SLAs

The transformation from SLAs to XLAs has gathered pace because of the growing attention to user happiness. XLAs have many advantages over traditional SLAs, and they approach service delivery and customer experience more comprehensively. These benefits, plus SLA restrictions, make institutions need to adopt XLAs.

Customer-Driven Orientation

Unlike SLAs, XLAs go further than just technical metrics that measure satisfaction. SLAs focus more on meeting predefined service levels, while XLAs are designed to capture the entire experience, including usability, accessibility, and emotional response.

Flexibility and Adaptability

While SLAs tend to be rigid in their scope and often do not address customers' changing needs, XLAs are flexible and adaptable. They enable service providers to create specific offerings that meet particular customers’ expectations; hence, they can adjust both the metrics and targets as required for optimum satisfaction.

Alignment with Business Objectives

Through broader business objectives, XLAs closely align with them since they understand how consumer experience has been integrated into organizational success. This concept of outcomes rather than outputs means that an XLA allows a more strategic mode of service delivery, thus providing tangible business value.

Continuous Improvement

By encouraging continuous improvement across the customer journey, XLAs foster a culture of constant learning among service providers. Nonetheless, unlike SLAs, which may nurture complacency through a “tick-box” approach to work done by any party involved in a given process—be it individual or collective—XLASs stimulate invention and proactive problem-solving, driving performance excellence.

Enhanced Collaboration

XLAs ensure enhanced collaboration among different sections and stakeholders in an organization. When the emphasis is on shared responsibility for customer experience, XLAs help dissipate silos, breaking down cross-functional teaming resulting in a more integrated and effective service delivery.

Transparent Communication

XLAs enable transparent communication between service suppliers and their customers, promoting trustworthiness and accountability. Unlike SLAs, which often mask the root cause or fail to respond adequately to customer concerns, the use of XLAs encourages open dialogue characterized by constructive feedback.


In a world where technology changes rapidly, and consumer demands change constantly, XLAs offer a more future-proofed way of delivering service. For instance, organizations can thus be agile enough to stay ahead of changing patterns while also being predictive.

While SLAs have served as a foundational framework for defining service levels and expectations, their limitations are becoming increasingly apparent in today's experience-driven economy. By embracing XLAs, organizations can unlock the full potential of their service delivery, driving superior customer experiences and sustainable business growth.

The Need for Shifting from SLAs to XLAs

The conventional way of relying on Service Level Agreements alone has become inadequate in meeting the varying and changing user needs. Several reasons for this shift from SLAs to XLAs include:

Dynamic Landscape of Service Delivery

Technological advancements, changes in customer preferences and market trends have continued to shape the service delivery landscape. Based on these parameters, technical metrics and response times indicate that traditional SLAs fail to capture ever-evolving service experiences. In contrast, XLAs provide a more comprehensive framework that considers the entirety of the user journey, including usability, accessibility, and emotional engagement. By embracing XLAs, organizations can easily adapt their services' dynamic nature, thereby remaining relevant in a very volatile environment.

Unending Anticipations of Users

Users demand more services today than ever before. They look for uninterrupted experiences in their software applications, online platforms, and customer support services that will not just meet but exceed their expectations. The use of SLAs can reduce the provision of user-friendly experiences. On the other hand, XLAs ensure that companies are not only meeting technical requirements but also offering an experience that delights users and makes them loyal.

Importance of Prioritizing User Experience

Organizations across all industries have identified user experience as a crucial differentiator. In more competitive markets where goods and services have become commodities, user experience can make or break a brand. An organization that puts user experience first has an opportunity to leave its competitors behind by ensuring customer satisfaction, retention, and advocacy. XLAs provide organizations with a structured approach to prioritizing and optimizing user experiences at every touchpoint to achieve actual business results and sustainable growth.

Business Benefits of Focusing on XLAs

Businesses have so much to gain by changing from SLAs to XLAs. When businesses focus more on user experience, customer satisfaction and loyalty can increase, leading to a rise in retention rates and lifetime value. This can also mean that organizations that improve user experiences earn a positive brand identity, differentiating them within the market with intense competition. Also, concentrating on XLAs will bring operational efficiencies and cost savings by simplifying procedures and removing friction along the user journey. In the long run, going for XLAs is consistent with more comprehensive organizational strategies that should facilitate sustainability, business growth, and prosperity in today’s digital era.

Generative Artificial Intelligence as a Solution for SLAs and XLAs

GenAI is a term used to describe a type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that provides organizations with an opportunity to redefine their approach to service delivery, ensuring that both traditional Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Experience Level Agreements (XLAs) are taken into account. A great case in point concerning this is, which is the leading example of how AI can streamline processes, enhance user experiences, and drive business outcomes. This article examines how GenAI, which includes, bridges the SLA/XLA gap faster.

Addressing SLAs and XLAs

GenAI technologies such as provide flexible tools for satisfying SLA and XLA objectives. Unlike in the past, where some metrics would be met within such agreements, others would not have addressed users' experience holistically. The advanced algorithms employed by GenAI enable organizations to surpass rigid SLAs by providing real-time knowledge of user preferences and adaptive solutions. Through this capability, businesses can attain technical benchmarks and offer customized and interactive experiences that comply with XLAs.

Enhancing User Experience

XLAs are founded on prioritizing user experience through all contact points. GenAI solutions such as are essential in delivering tailored experiences by leveraging natural language processing, machine learning, and predictive analytics to anticipate use cases. Based on the principles of XLAs, GenAI knows how to adjust its service delivery system according to the ideas of individuals and their situations.

Facilitating Transition from SLAs to XLAs

An essential shift in attitudes, procedures, and technology is required when moving from SLAs to XLAs. On the other hand, GenAI solutions facilitate this transformation by equipping businesses with the tools and insights necessary for shifting their service delivery models. In addition to that, data-driven insights and automated decision-making help GenAI quickly identify KEIs (key experience indicators) and align internal processes/workflows with XLAs. Furthermore, GenAI organizations can continuously refine and optimize the user experience journey by seamlessly implementing monitoring and feedback mechanisms.

Driving Business Outcomes

Adopting GenAI solutions such as drives business outcomes. Organizations that prioritize user experience and embrace XLA principles can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, leading to increased retention rates, higher lifetime value, and improved brand perception. Additionally, GenAI aids organizations in achieving operational efficiencies and cost savings by automating repetitive tasks, reducing response time, and optimizing resource allocation.

Implementing XLAs in Practice

To prioritize the experiences of both customers and employees, it has become mandatory for businesses to move away from the conventional Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to Experience Level Agreements (XLAs). Such a change calls for strategic moves that involve a series of steps to facilitate smooth implementation. Below is an all-inclusive guide on how best to manage this process:

Step 1: Evaluate the Current Service Delivery Framework

The first step is to perform a complete assessment of your current service delivery framework. This will require you to review existing SLAs, determine their inability to capture holistic user experience and identify areas for improvement. Then, meet with stakeholders in different departments and listen to them about points of concern, expectations, and anticipated results.

Step 2: Determine Key Experience Indicators

Transitioning towards XLAs demands a new way of thinking, moving beyond performance metrics alone and embracing more comprehensive experience indicators. Come with your stakeholders and agree upon the desired Key Experience Indicators (KPIs) aligned with business objectives and customer needs. These should cover usability, responsiveness, and emotional involvement, among other aspects, thus providing a holistic picture of users’ experiences.

Step 3: Aligning Internal Processes And Workflows

To effectively carry out XLAs, internal processes and workflows must align with the newly defined experience indicators. Review the existing workflows and focus on areas where some adjustments are needed to enhance user experience. Foster cross-functional collaboration so each department knows its role in delivering outstanding experiences and has all the necessary resources/tools.

Step 4: Applying Monitoring And Feedback Mechanisms

Monitoring and feedback collection stand as essential ingredients for successfully implementing XLAs. Deploy robust monitoring systems to monitor performance vis-à-vis identified experience metrics in real time. Employ advanced analytics and AI-driven insights to proactively identify patterns, trends, and areas that can be improved. In addition, channels should be set up to allow customers and employees feedback and to learn more about their experiences from both sides.

By diligently following these steps, organizations can confidently navigate the transition from SLAs to XLAs, fostering a culture that prioritizes and continuously improves the user experience. Embracing XLAs enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty and empowers employees to deliver their best, driving sustainable growth and success in the digital age.

Overcoming Challenges in Adopting XLAs

Experience Level Agreements (XLAs) are a new way of delivering services focusing on customer experience, not traditional metrics. There may be challenges when adopting them, but the advantages are apparent. The following section provides an overview of some common barriers and effective remedies:

Resistance to Change from Traditional SLA-centric Mindset

Adopting XLAs requires changing old mindsets that view everything from the Service Level Agreements (SLA) perspective. Such transformation can face opposition from stakeholders who feel comfortable with the familiar targets and measures. To mitigate this, organizations should make a point of enlightening people through various channels. Training workshops will enable all other parties to appreciate why there was a shift towards XLAs instead of SLAs. On another note, practical applications like case studies or pilot programs can be used to prove how they improve user experience and organizational results. Thus, by assisting people to understand how XLAs benefit them in their position and gaining their consent, organizations can lessen staff members' resistance toward their implementation.

Technical and Operational Challenges

Organizations that have to implement XLAs will have to deal with technical and operational complexities, which is daunting. An organization's chief challenges are incorporating new monitoring tools, aligning processes, and ensuring that execution remains uninterrupted. As a result, it would be suitable for organizations to adopt a phased approach toward implementing XLAs. By running pilot projects or focusing on specific departments at a time, they can break down the process into more manageable phases and test their strategies before rolling them out widely. Besides this, setting aside budgets for buying and upgrading core equipment plus software is necessary for effectively monitoring and measuring experience indicators.

Cultural Shift within the Organization

To embrace XLAs, there is a need for cultural change in the whole organization so that the user experience can be given priority at all levels and functions. This cultural shift will require the support of leadership. The senior leaders become critical players in influencing a culture that emphasizes user experience as an element of strategy. Organizations can also create the desired cultural shift by empowering employees to deliver excellent experiences by recognizing and rewarding behaviors that align with XLAs. Organizations can build sustainable success in the era of XLAs by fostering cultures that value user experiences.

Strategies for Addressing and Mitigating These Challenges

A multi-dimensional approach is needed to solve the problems that arise when XLAs are adopted. There should be cooperation across the board for XLAs to be implemented consistently and harmoniously within different company units and project teams. This can help organizations overcome complex challenges better due to different perspectives and knowledge bases. Furthermore, it is crucial to adopt a culture of continuous improvement. Continuous feedback gathering from stakeholders, tracking performance against experience metrics, and responsive strategy remodeling are essential for improvement initiatives. Hence, by acknowledging problems and continuously changing their strategy, firms can clear obstacles towards achieving their full potential in user experience enhancement through XLAs, resulting in business performance improvement.

Closing Note

Organizations must adjust their service delivery models as the digital landscape changes to suit users’ expectations and needs. It is critical for organizations that want to stand out in competition to move from SLAs to XLAs. When they put users first and adopt the principles of XLAs, organizations can attain customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, thus enhancing retention rates, increasing lifetime value, and growing business sustainably. The shift from SLAs to XLAs is more than just semantics; it is a reorientation towards connecting deeply with the end-users to achieve outstanding experiences that ensure long-term success.

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