What are the Different Tiers of IT Support

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If you’re having difficulty with a software program, website, computer, or a device, you often have the option of contacting the manufacturer’s IT support tiers or the IT helpdesk support tiers. 

Technical support is more than a person who answers the phone, it’s a process that is designed to resolve customer issues rapidly.

A company’s technical support model (or IT support team) is an important customer service touchpoint. If you need one feel free to connect with IT support.

Businesses who have fast, accurate, friendly, and helpful IT support have higher customer satisfaction rates than those who are slow to respond, provide inaccurate information, or appear apathetic to technical problems.

Most technical support teams are organized into tiers. What do “tiers” in IT support mean? Simply put, tiers represent different support skill levels.

The purpose of this article is to explain the support tiers of IT and how they work together to maximize customer satisfaction and offer the best customer support.

What are the Tiers of IT Support?

IT technical support tiers are typically identified by numbers: Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2, and so on. Different companies organize their tiers of IT support differently, according to staff size and expertise. The naming of these tiers can also vary by company. 

Most companies have 3 tiers of IT support, but have less, or more, depending on their IT support model. As a baseline, the most common support level is tier 2. 

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What is the difference between different IT support tiers

The areas of responsibility for each tier may vary from company to company, but in general they look like this:

  • Tier 1: This is the organization’s “first line of defense,”. Tier 1 support staff are usually solving basic issues like password resets or user problems. 
  • Tier 2: When a customer issue is beyond the skill of the Tier 1 staff to resolve, the issue escalates to Tier 2. Tier 2 staff have the knowledge base and skills to handle more complex customer issues and will often use remote control tools.
  • Tier 3: Tier 3 is usually the highest level of technical skill in the organization, and often includes the product engineers or developers. Tier 3 personnel are involved when the only way to resolve a customer issue is a design change, enhancement, or bug fix that requires a software or hardware update to the product.
  • Tier 4: This tier is not actually part of a company’s support team; it is external support for products or components provided by the company but supported by someone else (a supplier or third-party service provider).

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By way of summary, the different tiers of IT support are:

TierSkill LevelResponsibilities
1LowInitial customer contact; resolving routine issues
2MediumResolving issues beyond the capabilities of Tier 1
3HighProduct design changes, patches, and updates when no other resolution is available
4VariesExternal support for third-party systems, components, or services

Benefits of IT Help Desk Support Tiers

By organizing IT support by tiers companies can realize some important benefits:

  • Most common and routine issues are resolved on the first call
  • Higher-skilled personnel can focus on more complex issues
  • Resources are allocated more efficiently
  • The IT tiers of support have well-defined areas of responsibility

Choosing a Tier Organization For Your Support Team

If you are organizing IT support level tiers for your technical support team, here are some things to consider:

  • What is the skill level of your staff? Can you handle complex issues in-house now, or do you need to train up existing staff or bring higher-skilled technicians on board?
  • What is your call volume? How many Tier 1 representatives do you need to handle the load? How many service desks and line support would you need?
  • Multiple in-house tiers? More tiers of IT user support means more complexity in your process. 
  • Should you outsource Tier 1? Third-party help desk providers may be a cost-effective alternative to in-house staff, especially if 24/7 coverage is required.

IT support level tiers are essential in a business’s operations today. The scope of the support tiers in IT can vary greatly depending on the company and benefit the internal organization and its customers. As a best practice it’s recommended to outsource your IT support to provide the best level of support.

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