IT support is an umbrella term that refers to any type of assistance with technical issues. To segment and streamline this rather broad definition, IT support is typically categorised into three levels, conveniently named:
- Level 1 IT support
- Level 2 IT support
- Level 3 IT support
In this blog post, we’ll examine the different levels of IT support and explain how they work in conjunction with one another to provide seamless, end-to-end expert technical assistance, as well as provide guidance that will help you to determine what level of IT support your company needs.
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Level 1 IT support
Level 1 IT support is essentially the first line of defence when it comes to technical issues. When a problem arises, your first port of call is the IT Helpdesk, where you’ll be allocated level 1 support. The role of an engineer delivering level 1 IT support includes:
- Resolving basic issues
- Gathering information
- Analysing the issue
- Capturing screenshots
- Escalating the support request
Common and less complex issues are often resolved via level 1 IT support, such as:
- Password problems
- Unresponsive systems
- Upgrade prompts
- Retrieving data
- Incompatibility issues
When your company has access to a tiered IT support system, level 1 support enables staff members to access help quickly, whenever it’s needed. This is particularly beneficial for employees who may have limited tech knowledge or those who are not confident in their own troubleshooting abilities.
If the issue cannot be resolved via level 1 IT support, however, then the technician or engineer will escalate the support ticket to level 2, where a more comprehensive solution can be investigated and implemented.
Level 2 IT support
Level 2 IT support provides more in-depth technical assistance and is usually provided by technicians who are more experienced and/or have specific specialisms. Using the information gathered and the analysis undertaken at level 1, level 2 support engineers can typically identify suitable resolutions quickly, thus minimising the time it takes to resolve the issue.
In some instances, it may be necessary for a level 2 support engineer to undertake further analyse to confirm the cause of the issue. If so, the level 2 engineer will liaise with the user who initiated the query to gather the necessary information and implement an appropriate fix.
While the majority of IT support queries are fully resolved at either tier 1 or tier 2, there are times when an issue needs to be escalated further. In such cases, it is appropriate for the support ticket to be moved to level 3 IT support.
Level 3 IT support
As you might expect, Level 3 IT support is responsible for resolving the most complex technical issues and providing guidance to level 1 and level 2 technicians. In most instances, level 3 engineers are highly experienced and experts in their field.
To resolve very complex issues, level 3 technicians may duplicate the issue in order to identify the root cause. If the problem hasn’t been encountered before, a level 3 technician will devise a suitable fix, which can then be made available to level 1 and/or level 2 technicians. Additionally, a fix devised by a level 3 engineer may be rolled out via product or system upgrades, to prevent other users from encountering the same issue in the future.
Are there other levels of IT support?
IT support is typically split into three tiers or levels, but other levels do exist:
Level 0 IT support
Level 0 IT support refers to user-initiated resolutions. If a user encounters an issue, such as being unable to remember their password, on-screen guidance can enable them to fix the issue themselves, without requesting tech support. Alternatively, users may be able to implement their own solutions via product or system guidance, FAQs, or troubleshooting documents.
Level 4 IT support
At the other end of the spectrum, ‘level 4 IT support’ is sometimes used to refer to assistance from manufacturers or vendors. If a hardware issue arises and the fault is inherent to the device, for example, a business may contact the manufacturer in order to repair or replace it, for example.
While level 0 and level 4 are important elements within the world of IT support, it is tiers 1, 2, and 3 that are commonly referred to when we talk about IT support levels.
When are issues escalated to the next level?
Technical issues can be escalated from one level of IT support to another based on various factors. However, it is normally two elements that are taken into account when determining whether or not an issue should be escalated:
- Time taken
In some instances, IT support companies may escalate issues if they cannot be resolved within a certain timeframe. Level 1 support may be provided for issues that can be resolved within a 15-minute timeframe, for example, while level 2 support may be intended for issues that can be resolved within 2 hours.
This approach ensures that users have access to swift fixes and timely support, and it also means that issues are escalated to more experienced technicians if a resolution cannot be implemented in a timely manner.
The complexity of the issue is, perhaps, the most important factor in determining whether a technical problem is escalated to level 2 or level 3 support. If the issue cannot be resolved by level 1 technicians, for example, it must be escalated to level 2 and so on until a fix is either identified or created.
Although some IT support companies implement a strict time limit on tier support levels, the complexity of the issue inevitably affects how long it takes to resolve an issue. As a result, it’s reasonable to expect level 1 issues to be resolved much more quickly than level 2 or level 3 problems.
How is IT support delivered?
It is important that any level of IT support is delivered in a manner that accelerates the resolution and benefits the user. Due to this, some IT support firms offer a variety of contact methods so that users can make contact in a way that is most convenient for them. However, common methods of IT support delivery include:
IT Support tickets
With this methodology, a user outlines the issue in writing and submits a support ticket via a dedicated platform. A technician will then read the ticket and respond accordingly, either providing guidance to resolve the issue or requesting additional information.
Live chat is another text-based option for IT support requests, but it enables users to access real-time guidance from technicians. This is becoming a particularly popular method of delivering IT support as users appreciate the instant response and swift fixes that can be subsequently implemented.
Phone calls or video chat
An IT Helpline is another convenient way for users to request technical assistance and it enables engineers to provide real-time advice and guidance. While some users prefer a regular voice call, a video chat can be advantageous as it enables either party to share screenshots that can be used to assist in resolving the situation.
Remote computer access
Although IT support tickets, phone calls, and live chat are a form of remote IT support, they involve a technician giving instructions to the user so that the fix can be implemented. In contrast, remote computer access allows the technician to take control of the user’s device from a remote location so that they can resolve the issue.
This is most suitable for issues that are relatively complex and may be beyond the capability of the average user. For example, remote computer access may be used by engineers when delivering level 2 IT support.
Depending on the nature of the technical issue, an on-site visit may be required for a full resolution to be implemented. If hardware needs to be replaced, for example, an engineer may need to visit the company’s site to complete this work.
While on-site visits used to be relatively common, the transition towards cloud computing and decentralised services means that remote solutions are often viable and effective.
What level of IT support is right for your company?
As you can see, each level of IT support plays a critical role in maintaining a company’s technical infrastructure. While most issues can be resolved at either level 1 or level 2, having access to another layer of expert support at level 3 ensures that even the most complex issues can be rectified quickly to prevent them from impacting upon your operations.
To learn more about IT support levels and how they can benefit your business, contact Totality Services now on 020 3744 3105 or message us here.