Getting The Right Help Right Now

A big frustration for customers with an IT problem is being put on hold for the umpteenth time or being told, “We’re working on it,” without a timeframe for resolution. In our highly digitized world, everything grinds to a screeching halt if you can’t boot up your computer!

To avoid this scenario, it’s essential to understand what level of support potential outsource companies offer. Here is a quick overview of the different levels, or tiers, that outsource companies provide:

Tier 0

  • Primary focus is on customer service.
  • Document support tickets and quickly route to the correct tier of support for resolution.
  • Resolve simple issues that follow step-by-step documentation.


Tier 1

  • Agents have more technical knowledge, but maintain a strong focus on customer service.
  • Resolve issues that follow a well-documented, knowledge-based resolution path.
  • If the problem cannot be resolved in 10 minutes, the support ticket is escalated.


Tier 2

  • Strong technical background.
  • Ability to diagnose, look at symptoms, correlate symptoms and find root cause.
  • Capable of handling complex, non-routine problems.

Avoid the mistake of hiring a company that only provides Tier 0 and Tier 1 support. This creates a gap in your support coverage. Support issues that are above the skills of Tier 1 need to be escalated to your IT Project Managers or Systems Analysts at Tier 2.

Not only do interruptions slow down the delivery date of the project, they can cost your company money.  At Tier O and 1, an IT staff is overqualified and over-rated to provide that level of support.

A more cost-effective solution is using an outsource partner, who offers a Discreet Tier 2, or Hybrid model. This hybrid model streamlines your support process.

Support tickets start with Tier 0 answering the call. With simple issues, like a password reset, Tier 0 will quickly resolve the ticket. Customer service improves because your client spoke to a real person, who resolved their problem on the first try.

For more difficult issues, Tier 0 escalates the support ticket along with their documentation to Tier 1. Tier 1 then can quickly focus on the solution, rather than repeating documentation.

When an issue is unresolved after 10 minutes, Tier 1 escalates that support ticket to Tier 2 with documentation. This process saves a lot of time (and ultimately money) by allowing Tier 2 to pick up right where Tier 1 left off. Most support tickets can be resolved by Tier 2 in 20 minutes or less.

If Tier 2 is unable to resolve a more complex support ticket, it should be escalated to your Systems Analyst or Project Manager for resolution. With Tier 2’s strong technical background, team members provide in-depth documentation on the steps they have taken, which saves a tremendous amount of time for your internal IT team.

Outsourcing with a company that provides a Hybrid level of support will save your company thousands of dollars annually, especially as you make your support ticket process more efficient and effective.

Plus, by understanding what your company’s support needs are and by being aware of what the different tiers of support provide, you’ll be able to make a good decision when hiring an outsource partner.

Micah Laughlin

Micah Laughlin is the founder of Canvas IT and a leader in technology management services, supporting organizations of all sizes and helping them to thrive in spite of IT challenges and organizational changes. His first-hand experience with Service Desk Outsourcing companies led him to create a better way of doing IT outsourcing, the way he’d want it done. Today his philosophy carries on at Canvas IT as he creates a custom solution for each client just the way they’d want it done. Micah’s service desk management philosophy has supported dozens of growing businesses, adding value to the IT services they provide. Prior to founding Canvas IT, Micah spent more than 24 years managing IT operations – with 18 spent balancing the need for open, flexible systems with the restrictions of the highly-regulated healthcare industry.

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