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What Is Tier 1 IT Support?
Many managed service providers (MSP) often receive questions related to the way they approach IT support. Since technical support is a core attribute of an MSP, it’s no surprise this tends to be a central point of interest. The truth is that every MSP operates in their own preferred way, offering services they are confident in providing. As a result, the technical support model one MSP offers may differ from their competitor. For example, some IT providers have a multi-tiered help desk solution.
What Is Tier 1 IT Support?
Before going any further, let’s take some time to clarify what help desk services are and the role they play. An MSP’s IT helpline is a service where IT specialists provide support to users. Usually focusing on a singular issue, the purpose of IT support is to quickly resolve technical problems with devices or services. Given how important IT is to most business operations and the frequency at which problems can arise, help desk services are an invaluable tool.
Depending on the vendor you’re working with, an IT support team may be divided into “tiers” or “support levels.” These tiers are typically identified by numbers: Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2, and so on. How these tiers are organized can differ based on the size of the team. However, the main factor that distinguishes one tier from another is the technician’s expertise level.
It’s also important to point out that the number of tiers can differ between providers. However, most vendors offer up to Tier 3. The naming of these tiers can also change depending on the company you’ve partnered with.
Level 1 Support vs. Level 2 Support
Regardless of the tier, all IT support is meant to help your organization continue to run smoothly. However, each tier can determine the kind of help you receive. Tier 0 is not actually considered to be part of a support team’s service—rather, it refers to whatever you have done to try and fix your problem. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Tier 3, which is the highest level of service.
For this section, we’re going to focus mainly on the differences between Tier 1 and Tier 2 support. Tier 1 is basic service level support. The role of a Tier 1 IT specialist is to get information from you and identify the issue you’re experiencing. If the problem is simple—like if you need to reset your password—the technician helps right then and there.
The initial gathering of information from the Tier 1 help desk is important because it helps save time. If the problem you’re experiencing is too complex, the Tier 1 technician won’t waste time trying to resolve the issue. Instead, the Tier 1 technician escalates the case to Tier 2. The support staff members who are a part of this tier have more extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with complex IT issues. A Tier 2 technician is also more likely to use remote control tools to temporarily gain full control over your system.
Some MSPs modify this template according to the number of resources they have and their support philosophy. For example, a service provider may choose to merge their Tier 1 and Tier 2 functions. Or they may combine their Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams, with the only difference being the time it takes for a case to be closed.
The Benefits of a Tiered Approach
When IT support is separated into different levels, it can provide a few benefits such as:
- Quick Fixes: When you have a problem, it is immediately given to the most appropriate service level. As a result, most common and routine issues are resolved on the first call.
- Specialization: Higher-skilled personnel aren’t bogged down by simple tasks. They can focus on more complex issues that may require more time and concentration.
- Efficiency: Problems are handed out respectively with their technical difficulty. This allows for resources to be allocated more efficiently.
- Defined Responsibility: The IT tiers of support have well-defined areas of responsibility. This means there’s no confusion on who should handle what case.
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