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Tier I (or Level 1, abbreviated as T1 or L1) is the initial support level responsible for basic customer issues. It is synonymous with first-line support, level 1 support, front-end support, support line 1, and various other headings denoting basic level technical support functions.[citation needed] The first job of a Tier I specialist is to gather the customer’s information and to determine the customer’s issue by analyzing the symptoms and figuring out the underlying problem.[6] When analyzing the symptoms, it is important for the technician to identify what the customer is trying to accomplish so that time is not wasted on “attempting to solve a symptom instead of a problem.” [6]

This level should gather as much information as possible from the end user. The information could be computer system name, screen name or report name, error or warning message displayed on the screen, any logs files, screen shots, any data used by the end user or any sequence of steps used by the end user, etc. This information needs to be recorded into the issue tracking or issue logging system. This information is useful to analyze the symptoms to define the problem or issue.[citation needed]

Once identification of the underlying problem is established, the specialist can begin sorting through the possible solutions available. Technical support specialists in this group typically handle straightforward and simple problems while “possibly using some kind of knowledge management tool.”[7] This includes troubleshooting methods such as verifying physical layer issues, resolving username and password problems, uninstalling/reinstalling basic software applications, verification of proper hardware and software set up, and assistance with navigating around application menus. Personnel at this level have a basic to general understanding of the product or service and may not always contain the competency required for solving complex issues.[8] Nevertheless, the goal for this group is to handle 70–80% of the user problems before finding it necessary to escalate the issue to a higher level.[8]

In other industries (such as banking, credit cards, mobile telephony, etc.), first-level support is carried by a call center that operates extensive hours (or 24/7). This call center acts as an “initial sink” for user requests and, if required, creates an incident to notify other business teams/units to satisfy the user request (for example, blocking stolen credit cards or mobile phones from use).[citation needed] In some industries,[which?] first-line support requires knowledge of the products, terms and conditions offered by the business rather than technical information itself (Retail / Wholesale). Most ISPs only offer tier 1 support.[

Technical support (often shortened to tech support) refers to services that entities provide to users of technology products or services. In general, technical support provide help regarding specific problems with a product or service, rather than providing training, provision or customization of product, or other support services. Most companies offer technical support for the services or products they sell, either included in the cost or for an additional fee. Technical support may be delivered over by phonee-maillive support software on a website, or other tool where users can log an incident. Larger organizations frequently have internal technical support available to their staff for computer-related problems. The Internet can also be a good source for freely available tech support, where experienced users help users find solutions to their problems.[not verified in body] In addition, some fee-based service companies charge for premium technical support services.[1]\\

 

Technical support may be delivered by different technologies depending on the situation. For example, direct questions can be addressed using telephone calls, SMS, Online chat, Support Forums, E-mail or Fax; basic software problems can be addressed over the telephone or, increasingly, by using remote access repair services; while more complicated problems with hardware may need to be dealt with in person.

 

Call in[edit]

This type of technical support has been very common in the services industry.[citation needed] It is also known as “Time and Materials” (T&M) IT support.[citation needed] The customer pays for the materials (hard drive, memory, computer, digital devices, etc.) and also pays the technician based on the pre-negotiated rate when a problem occurs.[citation needed]

Block hours[edit]

Block hours allow the client to purchase a number of hours upfront at an agreed price. While it is commonly used to offer a reduced hourly rate, it can also simply be a standard non-reduced rate, or represent a minimum fee charged to a client before providing service.[original research?] The premise behind this type of support is that the customer has purchased a fixed number of hours to use either per month or year. This allows them the flexibility to use the hours as they please without doing the paperwork and the hassle of paying multiple bills.[citation needed]

Managed services[edit]

Managed services means a company will receive a list of well-defined services on an ongoing basis, with well-defined “response and resolution times” for a fixed rate or a flat fee. This can include things like 24/7 monitoring of servers, 24/7 help desk support for daily computer issues, and on-site visits by a technician when issues cannot be resolved remotely.[citation needed] Some companies also offer additional services like project management, backup and disaster recovery, and vendor management in the monthly price. The companies that offer this type of tech support are known as managed services providers.

Crowdsourced technical support[edit]

Many companies and organizations provide discussion boards for users of their products to interact; such forums allow companies to reduce their support costs[2] without losing the benefit of customer feedback.

Self-help[edit]

Almost all tech brands and service providers give free access to a rich library of technical support solutions to users. These are huge databases of step-by-step solutions, however if you visit the support sites for big brands the solutions are more often for their products alone. Another method of getting technical support that’s gained popularity is to follow troubleshooting steps shown in a support video.

Outsourcing technical support[edit]

With the increasing use of technology in modern times, there is a growing requirement to provide technical support. Many organizations locate their technical support departments or call centers in countries or regions with lower costs. Dell was amongst the first companies to outsource their technical support and customer service departments to India in 2001.[3] There has also been a growth in companies specializing in providing technical support to other organizations. These are often referred to as MSPs (Managed Service Providers).[4]

For businesses needing to provide technical support, outsourcing allows them to maintain a high availability of service. Such need may result from peaks in call volumes during the day, periods of high activity due to introduction of new products or maintenance service packs, or the requirement to provide customers with a high level of service at a low cost to the business. For businesses needing technical support assets, outsourcing enables their core employees to focus more on their work in order to maintain productivity.[5] It also enables them to utilize specialized personnel whose technical knowledge base and experience may exceed the scope of the business, thus providing a higher level of technical support to their employees.

Multi-tiered technical support[edit]

Technical support is often subdivided into tiers, or levels, in order to better serve a business or customer base. The number of levels a business uses to organize their technical support group is dependent on a business’ needs regarding their ability to sufficiently serve their customers or users. The reason for providing a multi-tiered support system instead of one general support group is to provide the best possible service in the most efficient possible manner. Success of the organizational structure is dependent on the technicians’ understanding of their level of responsibility and commitments, their customer response time commitments, and when to appropriately escalate an issue and to which level.[6] A common support structure revolves around a three-tiered technical support system.

 

Tier I (or Level 1, abbreviated as T1 or L1) is the initial support level responsible for basic customer issues. It is synonymous with first-line support, level 1 support, front-end support, support line 1, and various other headings denoting basic level technical support functions.[citation needed] The first job of a Tier I specialist is to gather the customer’s information and to determine the customer’s issue by analyzing the symptoms and figuring out the underlying problem.[6] When analyzing the symptoms, it is important for the technician to identify what the customer is trying to accomplish so that time is not wasted on “attempting to solve a symptom instead of a problem.” [6]

This level should gather as much information as possible from the end user. The information could be computer system name, screen name or report name, error or warning message displayed on the screen, any logs files, screen shots, any data used by the end user or any sequence of steps used by the end user, etc. This information needs to be recorded into the issue tracking or issue logging system. This information is useful to analyze the symptoms to define the problem or issue.[citation needed]

Once identification of the underlying problem is established, the specialist can begin sorting through the possible solutions available. Technical support specialists in this group typically handle straightforward and simple problems while “possibly using some kind of knowledge management tool.”[7] This includes troubleshooting methods such as verifying physical layer issues, resolving username and password problems, uninstalling/reinstalling basic software applications, verification of proper hardware and software set up, and assistance with navigating around application menus. Personnel at this level have a basic to general understanding of the product or service and may not always contain the competency required for solving complex issues.[8] Nevertheless, the goal for this group is to handle 70–80% of the user problems before finding it necessary to escalate the issue to a higher level.[8]

In other industries (such as banking, credit cards, mobile telephony, etc.), first-level support is carried by a call center that operates extensive hours (or 24/7). This call center acts as an “initial sink” for user requests and, if required, creates an incident to notify other business teams/units to satisfy the user request (for example, blocking stolen credit cards or mobile phones from use).[citation needed] In some industries,[which?] first-line support requires knowledge of the products, terms and conditions offered by the business rather than technical information itself (Retail / Wholesale). Most ISPs only offer tier 1 support.[

 

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