IT Support Tiers Explained
IT support refers to various services that non-creative organizations offer to end users of particular technology products or services, usually for repair and maintenance purposes. In the broadest sense, IT support offers support to a product or a service, instead of providing specialized training, modification, or provision of that product, or any other support services relating to that product. It is also useful to note that support does not, per se, relate to software development. IT support, in fact, refers to support for hardware devices or software, including support for security systems, email servers and network services. Many companies provide IT support to their customers through the employment of hired professionals.
There are two basic tiers in IT support, namely IT professionals and IT support staff.
The professionals work at the higher level of the tiers in the organization, carrying out the primary responsibilities defined by the company. At the intermediate levels, there are IT support staff and remote access technicians who are responsible for performing the lower level support functions. Remote access technicians are typically employed in smaller companies and universities.
IT support can be broken down into two basic types, onsite and offsite support. Onsite support is carried out in the physical offices of the company or at the location where the IT technician actually resides. This kind of support is performed during business hours and the technician is based in the location that is closest to the location of the customer. An example of this would be an IT technician who work at the location of a customer’s premises, but his office is located at a different city, state or even country than the customer. This technician might only be able to access his computer when the customer calls at that location.
Offsite IT support is carried out by technicians who are not located at the customer’s location but, rather, they work from remote locations. These technicians are employed by larger companies or organizations that have many branches and locations all over the world. The term ‘level 3 support’ refers to these remote locations. Typically, this kind of technician would also be considered a network administrator.
Some organizations carry out both kinds of support. This will be the case when a company has a sales force that is required to sell computer systems to customers, as well as IT support technicians who are called upon to resolve technical difficulties that customers are experiencing with their computer systems. IT support technicians often assist in training the new employees who are recruited for these positions. In some cases, a company will hire an IT support technician to perform a particular set of tasks. For instance, if the company needs to update its Intranet system, it could call upon an IT support technician to update the client’s Intranet so that they can access the information they need.
Other support technicians may include support technicians who are called upon to provide ‘customer support’.
In this case, they are called upon to assist a customer who is having trouble with a specific piece of equipment, but does not necessarily need their help to troubleshoot a problem. In this case, they may include support technicians who help customers with troubleshooting questions, or help set up networks for them. Support technicians may also specialize in particular areas, such as Microsoft support. In this case, they may include IT professionals who focus on Windows server support, Cisco support, or any other specialized knowledge that a business may need.
- When dealing with support levels, businesses must understand that there are three basic tiers of support levels.
- These tiers include level one support, which are the least expensive; level two support,
- Which are moderately priced; and level three support, which are the most expensive.
Often, businesses find that they have staff on all three support levels, as well as on a number of support tiers, at the same time, which can create a negative feedback cycle for the business. This is why companies should carefully consider the benefits of each of their support levels and evaluate whether they need to bring in extra staff, increase their support staff, and increase their support costs.
For most businesses, the optimal support level for them will be level one. This level of service provides basic tech support and does not require additional training for the employees handling the customer’s computers. The most advantageous aspect of this support level is that it is typically supported by email and phone, which means that the business does not need to waste money hiring individuals to physically go to the location of the computer, and waiting for IT personnel to show up and potentially delaying the resolution of an issue. This also means that when an issue does occur, IT personnel are able to solve the problem within a reasonable amount of time, without having to hire more employees, incur travel costs, or drive to the location of the computer, all of which adds up to significant additional operating expenses.