A Service-Level Agreement (SLA) is meant to ensure customer issues receive the attention they deserve based on severity. It also protects the support company from having customers breathing down their neck for frivolous issues. All of the parameters are agreed upon in writing ahead of time and both sides know the expectations. That is, until a salesman starts to meddle and mess things up, as happened at the place Dominick worked for.

Dominick was a simple remote support tech who fixed things for clients well ahead of the SLA. On the rare occasion there was a priority 1 issue - something stopping anyone in the company from doing work - they had 24 hours to fix it before large monetary penalties would start to rack up. One Friday a priority 4 issue (5 business day SLA) came in from the CFO of a new client. The ticket was assigned to Dominick, who had higher priority work to do for other clients, so he decided it could wait until the following week.

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Dominick came in Monday morning to find Benjamin, a senior salesman who happened to be a personal friend of the CFO, sitting on his desk with his huge arms crossed. Benjamin glanced at his watch to see it was 7:59 AM. "About time you showed up, Dom. I found out you didn't do the ticket that came in Friday and I want an explanation!"

Still in a pre-coffee Monday morning haze, Dominick had to think for a second to figure out what he was talking about. "Oh... that thing about ordering a new printer? That was only priority 4 and it literally said 'no rush' in it. I have 4 more days to get it done."

Benjamin sprang up off Dom's desk and used his beefy arms to forcefully shove an index finger into his chest. "You don't get it do you, bro?? When I made this deal with them, I assured them anything would be treated with the highest priority!" Ben shouted while spraying an unsanitary amount of saliva droplets. "I don't care what your silly numbering system says, it needs to get done today!

"Ok... well let me sit down and look at it," Dominick said timidly while rubbing the spot on his chest that received a mean poking. Benjamin stormed off to presumably consume another protein shake. He pulled up the ticket about ordering a new printer for the CFO's office. It seemed he'd read about this top of the line printer in some tech magazine and really wanted it. The problem was the printer wasn't even on the market yet - it would be released at the end of the month. Since there was literally nothing Dominick could do to get the printer, he closed the ticket and asked that a new one be submitted when the printer was available.

Later that afternoon, Dominick heard stomping behind him and before he could turn around, Benjamin spun him around in his chair and got in his face. "Hey there, bro. Where is my guy's printer?? He told me you closed his submission without ordering it!"

Dominick stood up to defend himself and weakly poked Ben in the chest. "Listen, bro! He wants a printer that isn't out yet. The best I can do is pre-order it and have it shipped to him in a couple weeks. I closed the ticket so we don't get dinged on the SLA to get this done in 5 days."

Benjamin furrowed his brow and got back within saliva-spraying distance, "You'll have to do better than that, Dom! While you were screwing around not resolving this I made an addendum to their SLA. Any ticket submitted by a CxO level executive will be treated as priority 1 by us. So you better pull whatever techie nerd strings you have to get that printer ordered in the next 24 hours!"

After Benjamin stormed off yet again, the reality of what he had done set in. Since the SLA for the printer was now 24 hours, they would start getting charged penalties by tomorrow. Dominick quickly began crafting an email to senior management to explain the situation and how the request wasn't able to be met. He wasn't sure what sort of "techie nerd" resources Benjamin thought he had, but it wasn't going to happen.

Predictably, the situation didn't end well. The financial penalties started adding up the following day, and the next day, and so on. It became so expensive that it was more cost-effective to pay the client to modify the addendum to the SLA that Benjamin made (they couldn't be compelled to do so otherwise) than to continue to rack up fines.

The end of the month came and the world's most expensive printer finally shipped, which was a relief to everyone. But that also meant the end-of-month financial statements showed the huge deficit caused by it. To compensate, the company decided to lay off 20% of the support staff including Dominick. Benjamin, of course, got to keep his job where he always put customer needs first.

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