Many have heard the terms 1st Level and 2nd Level Support in your work environment. But what exactly is behind it? We explain the exact differences and give tips on what’s right for your business.

1st Level Support

First level support is the first line of support for customer problems and queries. This is also often referred to as the User Help Desk. In IT service management there are several categories, e.g. First Level Support, 2nd Level Support. In the case of 1st Level Support ,customer inquiries are answered exclusively via so-called remote services, i.e. help is provided via remote maintenance, for example. On-site visits are excluded. The service team works with:

  • Hotline (telephone number for the customer)
  • Chat (chat function for the customer)
  • E-mail system (tickets)

The assistance is usually provided with a ticket opening and is based on a knowledge base (knowledgebase), i.e. a collection of knowledge about the company or their products. With the help of this knowledgebase, the complexity of the request is classified and, if necessary, forwarded to 2nd level support.

Tasks of the 1st level support

1. receiving customer inquiries via phone, chat, email. Classification of requests in:

  • Incident Malfunction; A service is disrupted. Example: Malfunction of the e-mail service.
  • Service request example: forgotten password, access to folder/program functionalities.
  • Change Request Change request; desire to change the characteristics of a particular product feature. Example: Adobe Reader in use, wish to switch to PDF-XChange Viewer.

2. 1st level support assistance applies to the following areas: Problems with:

  • Hardware (defective notebooks, error messages)
  • Periphery
  • Operating system
  • Microsoft Office


Goals 1st Level Support

  • User satisfaction: satisfaction rate > 90 %
  • Ensure rapid accessibility; ideally, accessibility at extended hours.
  • Ensuring a quick phone pickup time as well as a quick chat response.
  • Maximum service quality and high quality customer support.

If a ticket cannot be solved within the 1st level support, the 1st level support will escalate the ticket to the corresponding 2nd level support.

2nd Level Support Delimitation

The 2nd level support takes over and processes tickets that cannot be solved within the 1st level support. The 2nd level support consists of specialists with extended know-how in IT processes as well as in IT technology. Among them, especially in:

  • Network knowhow
  • Quality of service
  • Spanning tree
  • Network architecture
  • Server knowhow
  • Active Directory
  • Web server
  • DNS
  • VPN (access to the company network from the outside
  • Authentication Management
  • Citrix Workspaces
  • Voice over IP environments and related contexts.
  • Rollout of new software in the company
  • Software distribution
  • Deployment (technical provision of work equipment
  • Cloud applications

Responsibilities 2nd Level Support:

Implementation of major changes and corresponding coordination and communication with 3rd level support.

The 3rd level support is located at the manufacturer (e. g. Microsoft, Lenovo etc.). If a problem exists that the 1st Level Support was not able to solve using the knowledge base and within one hour, 1st Level Support will hand over the problem to the 2nd level support. – Within the 2nd level support there are different departments.

The 2nd Level Support and has access to the clients and server environment of the customer in which it is deployed. If there are questions or problems with the solution of a ticket, the manufacturer is involved in the processing. The communication with the manufacturer as well as the problem solving is done by the 2nd Level Support. In case of highly complex questions and failure to solve the problem, there is the possibility to integrate a problem management into the 2nd level support. This involves calling in specialist personnel with in-depth IT knowledge in order to achieve the best possible service quality and leave the function of IT operations largely undisturbed.

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