What is the Difference Between IT Support Tiers?

The numbers are in, 60% of high-growth teams use an IT support helpdesk to help accelerate and maintain their upward momentum.

Evidently, it seems that having access to a reliable system of IT support and issue resolution is a highly useful element when it comes to the success of a business.

But, not all IT support and helpdesk systems are created equal. There are several different tiers of IT support, each one more specialized than the last.

So, what is the difference between different IT support tiers?

In this blog, we’re going to explore what IT support tiers are, how they differ and what kind of value they can each bring to a business.

What are IT Support Tiers?

The 5 different tiers of IT support are used to denote how complex or difficult an IT issue is, and the resulting level of technical skill that would be required to solve it.

In general, there are 4 main tiers of IT support (you’ll see why it’s not 5 further down):

  • Tier 0
  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 3
  • Tier 4

Not all MSPs or technical support teams necessarily use the same verbiage to describe these support level tiers.

They might say level 1 support” instead of “tier 1”, for example. Or they may not include levels 0 or 4, as they don’t necessarily reflect an active customer service that they provide (even though those levels do technically exist).

However, for the purpose of this article, we will be explaining ALL the IT technical support tiers that can exist for any IT support structure.


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IT Support Tiers Explained

When a user has a technical problem that they need solved, they contact their IT provider’s (or internal IT department’s) help desk or tech support center.

Based on the specific nature of the user problem, the IT support personnel (usually a tier 1 support technician) will either diagnose and solve the problem themselves, or escalate the issue to a higher-level tier.

Tier 0 Support

When it comes to direct services that technical support teams provide, they don’t usually list tier 0, because tier 0 doesn’t require any human interaction on their part.

Tier 0 tech support refers to free services and information a user can find on their own, in an attempt to troubleshoot and solve their own issues.

This includes things like:

  • Customer Forums
  • Web Sources
  • E-Manuals
  • FAQs
  • Search Functions

If the user is unable to solve their technical problem with free-to-access products or services, that is when they may choose to contact service desks for additional customer support.

Tier 1 Support

When a user picks up the phone, emails or uses a chat feature to get rapid technical support, the first support personnel they speak with is usually Tier 1 (or Level 1).

In general, around 70-80% of all technical problems can be resolved by a technician with a Tier 1 knowledge base.

The types of issues that are usually solved by a Tier 1 technician are:

  • Password Resets
  • Authorizing Access
  • Basic Software Troubleshooting
  • Spam Filtering Requests
  • Endpoint Management
  • Google Suite Management
  • Remote Computer Troubleshooting
  • Updating Operating Systems and Drivers
  • Installing and Uninstalling Applications
  • How-To Questions
  • Monitoring Server Notifications
  • And More

If, for whatever reason, the Tier 1 technician can’t resolve the issue, they escalate the problem to additional line support, in the form of a Tier 2 expert.

Tier 2 Support

If the user’s problem goes beyond the skill level of the first specialist they speak with, a Tier 2 expert is called upon to conduct more in-depth troubleshooting and/or backend analyses.

The Tier 2 tech will communicate with the user regarding the issues they’re facing, making sure to understand the user’s end goal (to avoid treating the symptom rather than the true cause of the issue).

Tier 2 experts are capable of:

  • Providing more in-depth solutions beyond the skill of Tier 1
  • Remotely solving or repairing persistent software issues
  • Performing diagnostic testing
  • Taking control of a computer remotely to fix issues

Then, if they’re able, they will resolve the problem.

Tier 2 technicians aren’t necessarily IT engineers or architects. They’re often more experienced Tier 1 staff that have specific experience with either programming, software unique to their company, or both.


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Tier 3 Support

Usually, Tier 3 is the highest level of technical support for a managed service provider.

Tier 3s are IT technicians who are also engineers, architects and developers. They are best equipped to handle emergency issues or help a business recover from a catastrophic disruption of its IT systems.

Tier 3 IT support technicians will:

  • Address very complex IT problems
  • Fix highly difficult OS bugs
  • Conduct deep analyses of OS
  • Diagnose causes of application crash dumps
  • Restore critical data backups
  • Implement new enhancements
  • Configuring hardware and software patches

Level 3 technicians can define the root cause of any technical issues users may experience. They are given all the info gathered by the previously involved level 1 and 2 techs, and are often the final line of defense against failing information technology.

Often, Tier 3 support staff will also recommend changes to a company or recommend a new product or software licenses to mitigate certain issues from happening again.

Tier 4 Support

This level of support only includes help found outside the organization. This means things like support from other manufacturers and brand-specific warranties for. It includes assets like:

  • Printers
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Computers

If your business is engaged with an MSP, they can communicate with third-party providers on your behalf.

Finding an MSP with All the IT Support Tiers You Need

Here at Executech, we deliver access to 24/7 helpdesk support and work with our clients as trusted business partners.

Our multiple tiers of technical support are carefully designed to give a consistent and quality customer experience whenever our clients contact us with a sudden or urgent IT problem.

If your business could benefit from a reliable MSP help desk service with every tier of support available, contact us today and request a free consultation.

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