Understanding the vital role of level 1 support desk technicians

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There are a lot of common complaints about calling up an IT support desk and having to talk to the level 1 support technician – they don’t know how to fix the issue, they ask too many questions, they are only following a script of things I have already tried and yes, I have turned it off and on again.

A level 1 technician is the first point of contact and initial support level responsible for basic customer issues. What everyone overlooks is how a level 1 technician improves a support desk experience for everyone involved.

A level 1 technician’s main role is information gathering and defining the problem effectively, not necessarily to solve the issue.

For the support team, they need to make sure they know who the user is, where they are from, how to get back in contact with them, what steps have already been taken, impact (who and what is affected), what department is best suited to handle the issue and how quickly this needs to get resolved.

This information not only helps in solving the issue more efficiently but will generate information that analysts can look at later to examine trends. The level 1 role is focused on getting the right information in place, setting up higher level team members for success in finding a resolution if the issue is complex enough to require escalation to them.

Where the issue has a clear cause and the solution is well known the level 1 technician will implement the solution, letting the user with the issue get straight back to work.

However, when the issue’s cause isn’t clear or the initial solution hasn’t worked, it is more effective for everyone to have the issue passed to a higher level to be resolved. This prevents the end user being held on the phone while a solution is researched and prevents the level 1 technician from being out of the call queue for too long.

The implication of a level 1 being out of a call queue for too long is that a higher level technician may need to jump on the phones to ensure they are answered and customers looking for support are diverted to the voicemail system.

Depending on the workflow of the company, the calls are either sent to voicemail or picked up by a higher-level technician. Customers don’t enjoy waiting around for a call back and higher-level technicians don’t enjoy being diverted from the task they are currently focusing on.

Having higher-level technicians answering phones may be efficient for clients but this comes at price.

A level 1 technician is a generalist and is exposed to every type of task that comes in. With every job that comes in they are exposed to all parts of the business. With repetition they become more proficient and can figure out where they will want to start specialising in.

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