- Customer support is the act of providing assistance to customers who are experiencing problems with a company's product or service.
- There are three levels of customer support: tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3.
- Tier 1 support is the first line of defense for handling customer issues.
- It is typically provided by front-line employees such as customer service representatives (CSRs).
- The goal of tier 1 support is to resolve the customer's issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- This is often accomplished by providing the customer with a troubleshooting guide or FAQs.
- The customer will be escalated to tier two support if the problem cannot be resolved using these resources.
84% of customers report that their expectations had not been exceeded in their last interaction with customer service. With so many companies competing for the same customer base, it's more important than ever to have an outstanding customer support team.
However, to create an efficient customer support team, having the proper levels or "tiers" of support is essential to make sure that each customer's needs are being met without overburdening your team.
In this article, we'll define what tier one customer support is and give some examples to help you create the best customer support possible for your business.
What Is Tier One Customer Support?
Tier 1 customer support is the first line of defense in the customer support process. This is the first team a customer interacts with when they have a question or issue.
The main goal of tier 1 customer support is to resolve a customer's issue as quickly as possible. In order to do this, tier 1 support agents need to have a strong knowledge base and be able to troubleshoot common issues or non-technical product questions.
Tier 1 customer support is designed to deal with support tickets that do not need SMEs or developers to handle.
In most cases, tier 1 customer support can resolve the issue without escalation using chat and e-mail. However, if the issue cannot be resolved, it will be escalated to level 2 and 3 support.
Level 2 and 3 support typically deals with more complex issues that require a higher level of expertise. This could include product bugs, account issues, or anything requiring more in-depth knowledge. However, unlike level 1 support, levels 2 and 3 cannot be solved using chat or e-mail.
Instead, those may require tools like cobrowsing (where agents and developers can take control of a user's screen to solve an issue collaboratively) and session replays (where agents and developers can watch video recordings of actual user sessions in their product to see bugs and problems in context).
Examples Of Tier 1 Support
When trying to create the best tier 1 customer support possible, it's helpful to have some examples to follow. So here are a few scenarios where tier 1 customer support may be suitable.
Questions Relating To Pricing
If a customer has questions about your pricing plans or how to upgrade their account, tier 1 support agents should be able to answer these questions without having to escalate the ticket.
This is because pricing questions are typically non-technical in nature and do not require input from developers or product managers. In most cases, tier 1 customer support agents will have access to the information or find a satisfactory answer to their question in your company's knowledge base. These include questions like:
- Do you have a free tier?
- Do you offer a free trial?
- How much does your enterprise plan cost?
- How much does this product or pro plan cost?
- How do I cancel my subscription?
- What are the features included in your paid plans?
Questions Relating To Billing And Accounts
Similar to questions about pricing, questions relating to billing and accounts can typically be answered by tier 1 customer support. Whether it's a customer updating their payment information or changing the e-mail associated with their account, tier 1 support should have the knowledge and expertise to resolve these issues without escalation.
Examples of billing and account questions that tier 1 support should be able to answer include:
- What is my account balance?
- When is my bill due?
- I was charged for something I didn't purchase. What can I do?
- Which payment method do you accept?
- Where can I find my billing history?
- How do I cancel my subscription?
Basic Product Questions
Basic product questions are the bread and butter of tier 1 customer support. They deal with how to use a product rather than with serious bugs, troubleshooting, or issues a user has encountered. Questions in this category include:
- How do I use this feature?
- Can I use this feature to do this?
- Where can I find a particular feature or page?
- Does your product also cover this use case?
In most cases, basic product questions can be easily answered by consulting the product documentation or by searching the company's knowledge base or customer forum.
Questions Related To Integrations
If a customer is having trouble setting up an integration with your product, tier 1 support should be able to assist them. This is because questions about integrations are often non-technical in nature and can be resolved without needing input from developers or product managers. However, if the question is more technical in nature or your particular product does not offer no-code installations, it will need to be escalated to level 2 or 3 support.
Examples of questions about integrations that tier one support should be able to answer include:
- How do I set up the integration?
- What are the steps for connecting my account?
- I'm having trouble connecting my account. What can I do?
- Does your product integrate with X?
- What are the benefits of integrating your product with X?
- How do I disconnect my account?
Questions Concerning Account Features
If a customer has questions about the features of their account or how to use them, tier one support should be able to answer these questions. There may be times when customers want to know things like:
- What is my account username?
- How can I reset my password?
- Can I have multiple accounts?
- I'm having trouble logging in. What can I do?
Understanding what tier 1 customer support is and how it works is critical for every business, but especially for a SaaS business. By clearly understanding what tier 1 support entails, you can set your team up for success and provide your customers with the best possible experience.
As your company continues to expand, you may need to restructure your SaaS team to support this growth, which may include adding additional tiers of support. But no matter how big your company gets, tier 1 customer support will always be the first line of defense when providing an excellent customer experience.