Archive for the ‘Escalation’ Category

Tiered Support Explained

November 11, 2018

The term tiered support refers to the way that a support center is organized, in order to handle incoming support issues in the most effective and efficient way possible. The tiered support structure has been around for more than 30 years and has been applied in internal support centers (help/service desks) as well as externally facing customer support centers (serving customers that buy an organization’s products/services). HDI courses teach on tiered support, and you can find good documentation and guidance on this in the ITIL® Service Operation manual and training in the ITIL Foundation and Service Operation courses.

It’s important to note that ALL support tiers should abide by and support a common support center vision, mission, and goals and conduct their activities in a coordinated fashion—in line with an agreed set of policies and procedures (SOPs). Note also that the number of tiers, and who the teams report to, can vary depending on the organization, its management style, and its culture. No one scheme need fit every support center; the structure should be tailored to fit and work with your particular organization.

To read the full article in HDI’s SupportWorld magazine, click here.

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Evaluating Technical Support Models: Tiered Support Vs. Swarming – Part 2

August 10, 2017

by Paul Dooley
August 10, 2017

This is part 2 in an article published in HDI’s Support World magazine.  The article begins …

“In an effort to address some of the shortcomings of the tiered support model and to take advantage of new collaborative technologies now available, a new support model known as swarming or collaborative support model has been emerging over the past several years. The Consortium for Service Innovation, which pioneered applying knowledge management in a support center with Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS), has done quite a bit of work in leading the development of this new support model. They have coined the term Intelligent Swarmingsm for this emerging model, since in their view the swarming model should act intelligently—using a database of profiles to match the best resource/team likely to immediately resolve the issue, backed by an effective knowledge management process. In the view of the Consortium:

  • There are no tiered support groups; swarming is a collaboration-based process
  • No “passing off” escalation of the issue from one group to another
  • The person who first takes the issue owns it through to resolution (as with ITIL, Total Contact Ownership is maintained in the swarming model as well)
  • The issue should be directly routed to the person most able to solve the issue

Rather than a linear/hierarchical model as in the case with tiered support, the swarming model is a network of people, a collaborative model. Rather than impede collaboration via silos, the swarming model is compatible with the way engineers and support analysts naturally work. The goal is to get the right resources to work together to resolve the issues in the timeliest fashion possible.

To get the full text of part 2, visit http://www.thinkhdi.com/library/supportworld/2017/evaluating-technical-support-models-tiered-support-vs-swarming-part-2.aspx

Evaluating Technical Support Models: Tiered Support vs. Swarming – Part 1

August 7, 2017

I recently had an article published in HDI’s SupportWorld magazine (see below for link). This is a two part article, comparing the traditional “tiered support model”, with a new support model referred to as “swarming” (or Intelligent Swarming, as the Consortium for Service Innovation prefers to call it).

Why should we consider an alternative approach to the traditional Tier 1-2-3 support model?  There are several reasons:

  • The support landscape is becoming increasingly challenging, with customers looking for an increased frequency of functional improvements in applications; demanding increasing levels of quality, with little toleration for downtime; and expecting IT to hold the line on support costs
  • To maintain customer satisfaction and competitive positioning, IT service provider must reevaluate how they deliver service and support, including traditional method and models for delivery
  • Just because a given support model has been in existence for some time, and had been successful, does not mean that it is optimal for today’s business environment, or for all situations

ITIL, the defacto framework world-wide for implementing IT Service Management, includes guidance for a service desk function, along with the concept of tiered escalation support. While this model has its advantages, and is certainly a time tested and successful approach for many organizations, some businesses and organizations – especially those in software and web based businesses – may want to consider “swarming”, or a combination of swarming and tiered support, as an alternative model for effective and efficient handling of customer technical support issues.

In cases where this alternative approach is warranted, resolution times have been drastically reduced, on-going support costs have been slashed, and customer/user satisfaction had been maintained and even boosted.

To learn more, check out Part 1 of this article at:  http://www.thinkhdi.com/library/supportworld/2017/evaluating-technical-support-models-tiered-support-vs-swarming-part-1.aspx