It’s hard to imagine a successful business without IT support. Not only does customer satisfaction depend on it, but so do your employee experience and retention rates.
Now, you can have an in-house IT support team or outsource this service by hiring some of the best IT support companies. Whatever you choose, you should know that there are different levels (or so-called tiers) of IT support.
To explain what these levels are and why you need them, we’ll start with the basics.
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What is IT support?
IT support or technical support provides assistance to users who have technology-related issues. Basically, every company has people who help customers and employees resolve issues with the company’s products or software they’re using.
Now, these people face a variety of different issues – some of them can easily be resolved with a simple manual, while some of them require certain skills that only IT specialists have.
For instance, showing an elderly person how to turn on a new mobile phone is easy. But an experienced employee facing an issue with their computer may need to reach out to someone with way more knowledge of computers and IT equipment.
Because of that, companies typically have multiple levels or tiers of IT support. Depending on the company’s size and needs, you can have more or fewer people working on these levels.
What are the levels of IT support?
IT support service is typically organized around the following support levels:
Level 0 of IT support means the company ensured an easy way for the users to fix the problem by themselves. There is usually no direct contact between the company’s personnel and the user at this point. The goal is to provide a solution that is within arm’s reach so that your staff doesn’t waste their time on issues that are easily solved.
For instance, imagine that your customer bought a premium version of your iOS app and is unsure about the billing. The first thing they will do is go to the FAQ section for an answer. If this section on your website is well-structured and truly does answer your customers’ most frequent questions, they’ll solve a problem on their own.
Other examples of level 0 of IT support include support information on your website or app, detailed manuals, support forums, and even social media.
At this point, your customer is facing a problem that requires direct contact and communication between them and your staff. Since this is the first contact they have with your company, it’s important to hire people that are patient, professional, and friendly.
Their job will be to not only help the customer resolve the issue, but also recognize when the problem is more complex and needs to be addressed by higher support levels.
A good example of this would be a customer that is facing problems with their new Wi-Fi router. The Wi-Fi seems to be working, but they have no access to the internet. Your support staff would guide them through the process and they would successfully connect to the internet.
Ticket creation, password resets, application and hardware performance, and operating system errors are some other typical examples of problems that level 1 IT support is facing.
If a level 1 technician is unable to solve a problem due to its complexity, they will pass it on to level 2 IT support. People that work on this level don’t need coding skills, but they have to know the product’s ins and outs.
Let’s go back to our previous example. Suppose that the person working on level 1 wasn’t able to solve the connection problem because it is caused by something more complex. They will refer the customer to level 2 support that will try to resolve the issue.
At last, if a level 2 technician wasn’t able to fix the problem, level 3 support will go even further. When there’s a problem with the code, your IT experts will need to fix the code and update the app so that no one else runs into something similar.
People who work on level 3 of IT support are often developers and have extensive knowledge of coding.
This level of support is outsourced because the problem your customers are facing is related to your vendor. Your IT support staff can’t solve it because the problem actually has nothing to do with your product.
Imagine owning an IT company that is developing a certain web application. You release it and after a while, your customers start reporting problems with the app. Your level 3 support kicks in and you conclude that your code doesn’t have any bugs, and the problem is actually related to the cloud your code is deployed to. You then contact the service provider to report the issue and they resolve it.
Level 4 of IT support is also necessary in cases of firmware updates, patches, or hardware problems.
Does my company need to have multiple levels?
Of course not.
But why would your software developer waste their time making phone calls on something as basic as turning on a new device? It is way easier and better to have different people performing these tasks, as the skills required for those working on level 1 and level 3 are completely different.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to have all levels these levels of support in your company. For instance, some smaller companies with less complex products can get away with only two levels. It’s entirely up to you to decide how you want to set up your IT support system.
Author: Philipe Hills
Philipe is a marketing specialist that specializes in driving business through digital, visual, and content marketing techniques, currently based in Los Angeles.