Tier 2 Help Desk | Setup Guide

Tier 2 Help Desk - ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft provides help desk outsourcing services since 2007.

Level 2 (L2) help desk: the essence

Level 2 help desk serves to resolve IT infrastructure and/or application issues (e.g., issues of software and network configuration, software and hardware interoperability). Issues that need investigation and resolution on the code level are escalated to Level 3 support to be fixed by developers. L2 help desk improves the reliability of IT infrastructure and applications and reduces their support costs.

Tier 2 help desk setup plan

Level 2 support setup steps may differ, depending on a company’s IT landscape complexity and maturity and the service/product nature and complexity (for customer service desk). Here we highlight general setup steps for L2 help desk:

Tier 2 Help Desk Plan - ScienceSoft

1. Tier 2 help desk planning

Duration: from 2 weeks

  • Identify the goals of your Level 2 help desk (e.g., prevent IT infrastructure downtime, increase app availability).
  • Define the scope of your Level 2 help desk: issues it’s supposed to deal with * (e.g., software and network configuration, log investigation to identify root causes), the estimated number of tickets per month, and the number of required L2 engineers.
  • Calculate the budget for Level 2 help desk and create a risk management plan (to mitigate such risks as too long resolution time, higher than planned number of tickets, etc.).

* ScienceSoft’s tip: if your help desk is expected to deal with common user issues (e.g., questions about software and infrastructure usage), we recommend you set up Tier 1 help desk to handle them and escalate technical issues to Tier 2.

2. Tier 2 help desk design

Duration: from 2 weeks

  • Define Tier 2 help desk KPIs (e.g., average resolution time, mean time to recovery, mean time to resolve) according to the defined goals.
  • Draw up from scratch or adjust the existing help desk standard operating procedures to include standards for ticket resolution, the process of escalation to L3, etc.

3. Choosing Tier 2 help desk sourcing model

If Tier 2 help desk is done in-house

Hiring and training L2 help desk staff

Duration: 1-3 months

  • Define the qualifications an L2 help desk manager (technical background, team management skills, etc.) and L2 support engineers (e.g., experience with cloud infrastructures) need to possess.
  • Conduct onboarding training with the hired L2 team to get them familiar with your company’s tech stack, IT infrastructure or product/service specifics, issue escalation processes, etc.

Ticket management software selection and customization

Duration: from 1 week

  • Select either a free and functionally limited ready-to-use ticket management software, a paid solution with extended features (e.g., omnichannel support tool, AI-driven chatbots), or custom software completely fitting your case.
  • Perform customization (for platform-based software) and integrate it with required IT systems (e.g., CRM, ERP).

If Tier 2 help desk is completely or partially outsourced

Selecting a vendor

Duration: ~3 months

If you decide to outsource Tier 2 help desk to get reduced help desk costs, up to 24/7 service provision, and a scalable and experienced IT support team, choose the L2 help desk team that:

  • Adheres to ITIL principles in delivering tech support.
  • Provides regular comprehensive reporting (performance reports, incident reports with root cause analysis, etc.).
  • Has a clear vision of collaboration with L1/L3 help desk teams and users, but is willing to adapt to your processes.
  • Is ready to provide knowledge transfer (e.g., to L1 help desk team).

4. Tier 2 help desk launch

Duration: 2-4 weeks

At this stage, the integration between help desk tiers is established. Help desk software and its infrastructure are made ready for use, the L2 help desk team gets the necessary access to help desk software. Help desk demo run is performed.

Human resources required for Tier 2 help desk

L2 help desk manager

  • Plans and manages L2 help desk budget.
  • Decides on L2 help desk staffing and/or outsourcing needs according to the types and number of issues the help desk deals with.
  • Defines L2 help desk KPIs and oversees their achievement.
  • Designs or approves and oversees Tier 2 help desk processes (e.g., escalation, reporting procedures).

L2 help desk team lead

  • Establishes goals and KPIs for the L2 help desk team and manages their achievement.
  • Plans L2 engineers’ work schedules to ensure sufficient support coverage during operating hours.
  • Drives L2 help desk team professional development.

L2 help desk engineer

  • Resolves technical issues (software updates, malware removal, remote desktop connection issues, etc.), performs issue root cause analysis.
  • Escalates technical issues to a higher-tier support team when more detailed research on the code level is needed (performance tuning, bug management, etc.).
  • Transfers knowledge (e.g., to L1 agents via extending and maintaining a knowledge base).

Help desk system administrator

  • Installs, configures and monitors help desk software and hardware.
  • Resolves arising help desk software and hardware issues to ensure stable help desk operations.
  • Provides timely updates of help desk software.

Level 2 Help desk sourcing models

Tier 2 help desk is in-house

Pros:

  • Complete control over L2 help desk infrastructure and resources.
  • Your L2 help desk team has a deep understanding of your company’s internal business processes or the products or services you provide.

Cons:

  • High help desk setup and management risks.
  • Lengthy establishment period due to staff hiring and training, help desk software selection and customization.
  • Turnover of L2 support engineers.
  • Risk of underloaded L2 support engineers.

Tier 2 help desk management is in-house, L2 help desk engineers are partially or fully outsourced

Pros:

  • Optimized L2 help desk costs by easily scaling up and down the number of L2 support engineers according to the volume of incoming L2 tickets.
  • Up to 24/7 service coverage, including your off-business hours.

Cons:

  • It may be challenging to synchronize the work of the in-house support team and outsourced resources.

Tier 2 help is fully outsourced

Pros:

  • Optimal L2 help desk costs.
  • L2 help desk team scalability.
  • Up to 24/7 service coverage.

Cons:

  • It may be challenging to find a vendor experienced enough to quickly dive into your business processes, IT and/or application infrastructure, or product/service specifics.

Help desk ticket management software worth attention

L2 help desk relies on ticket automation software to speed up ticket resolution and streamline the escalation process. Here are ticketing management tools we recommend:

Jira Service Management

Description

Strong performer in The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Service Management, Q4 2019.

  • Creating escalation queues with L2 tickets highlighted based on their priority.
  • Automated issue root cause analysis for optimized issue resolution.
  • Knowledge base for L2 support engineers to document known errors and share resolution methods of recurring tech issues.

BEST FOR

Collaboration-focused L2 IT help desk for small and medium-sized companies.

Pricing

  • Free (for up to 3 agents).
  • Standard: $20/agent/month.
  • Premium: $40/agent /month.

ServiceNow ITSM

Description

A 7-time Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for ITSM Tools.

  • Incident management functionality to classify tickets by impact and urgency, assign them to L2 support engineers, and track a case resolution route.
  • Automated notifications for L2 support engineers about assigned tickets and for L1 agents about updates on case resolution.
  • Agent Workspace provides L2 support engineers with an easy-to-navigate multi-tab interface to oversee and resolve incoming requests.

BEST FOR

IT help desk for companies with 1000+ employees.

Pricing

ITSM Standard:

  • $15/user/month*.
  • $100/user/month**.

ITSM Professional:

  • $20/user/month*.
  • $150/user/month**.

Virtual Agent ITSM:

  • $2,083.30/month.

* Unrestricted Subscription Meter (any users with a username, password, and a status of “active”).

** Fulfiller Subscription Meter (users have full admin, developer, or usage rights).

ServiceNow CSM

Description

Leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center.

  • Automated ticket escalation process using predefined trigger rules and escalation policies.
  • Predictive intelligence for analyzing case descriptions to automatically categorize tickets and recommend solutions to L2 support engineers to resolve issues faster.
  • Capability to manage the communication and case resolution process for L2 issues that impact multiple customers.

BEST FOR

Proactive support of 1000+ customers.

Pricing

  • CSM Standard: $125/user /month.
  • CSM Professional: $175/user/month.
  • Virtual Agent CSM: $25 000/year.
  • 1,000 additional portal visits: $60/month.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service

Description

Leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center.

  • Automated ticket management functionality (creation, routing, escalation, etc.)
  • AI-driven recommendations of suitable knowledge articles for L2 support engineers.
  • Customizable templates for user surveys to get feedback on the L2 help desk team work.
  • Integration with other business software (ERP, ITSM, accounting, etc.).

BEST FOR

Ticket management requiring multiple integrations with business applications.

Pricing

  • Professional: $50/user/month.
  • Enterprise: $95/user/month.
  • Remote Assist add-on: $65/user/month.
  • Power Virtual Agent add-on: $1,100/tenant/month.
  • Customer Insights add-on: $1,500/tenant/month.

Salesforce Service Cloud

Description

Leader in Gartner CRM Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant for 12 consecutive years.

  • Automated ticket escalation according to predefined escalation rules and escalation actions.
  • Trailhead (free online learning platform to increase L2 help desk engineers’ productivity and grow skills).
  • AI-driven Einstein Article Recommendations to help L2 engineers solve tech issues faster by suggesting articles relevant to the issue.
  • AI-powered Einstein Vision to perform image-recognition tasks (e.g., reading a serial number or recognizing a product type in an image).

BEST FOR

Customer-oriented tech support ticket management requiring extensive AI capabilities.

Pricing

  • Essentials: $25/user/month.
  • Professional: $75/user/month.
  • Enterprise: $150/user/month.
  • Unlimited: $300/user/month.
  • Einstein AI & Analytics add-on: $50/user/month*.

* Requires an annual contract.

SharePoint

Description

Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice 2020 in Digital Experience Platforms.

Can serve as a ticketing system due to its customization and integration capabilities.

  • Color-marking to highlight priority L2 tickets.
  • Automated notifications to L2 support engineers of new tickets assigned, user replies, resolution due date, etc.
  • Tools for building a knowledge base for L2 support engineers to handle repetitive issues.
  • Workflows feature to automate tech ticket escalation to L2.

BEST FOR

Companies needing a cost-effective help desk solution with basic ticketing capabilities.

Pricing

  • SharePoint Online Plan 1: $5.00/user/month*.
  • SharePoint Online Plan 2: $10.00/user/month*.
  • Office 365 E3: $20.00/user/month*.

* Annual commitment.

Need to Choose Ticketing Software for L2 Help Desk?

ScienceSoft will help you select fitting ticketing software to speed up issue resolution and optimize L2 help desk operational costs.

Tier 2 help desk costs

Below we provide essential factors that influence Tier 2 help desk costs:

General cost factors

  • The number of L2 tickets per month.
  • Service time coverage - 24/7, 12/5, 8/5, etc.
  • IT landscape complexity or product/service type (higher complexity implies more skilled staff or a higher price per ticket).
  • Whether a knowledge base for L2 support engineers is to be maintained (although the maintenance incurs cost, the knowledge base may reduce tech issue resolution time).

Cost factors that may influence the cost in the outsourced cooperation

  • SLA terms, e.g., average resolution time, mean time to acknowledge, ticket backlog, etc. A higher service level may cause a higher price per ticket.

Note: Additional costs of in-house L2 help desk include ticketing software customization and licenses (usually charged per user) and maintenance of ticketing software.

The price per ticket for outsourced L2 help desk greatly depends on the number of tickets per month. Here are sample prices to get the picture:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Time coverage

The number of L2 tickets per month

Price per ticket

Level 2 help desk services by ScienceSoft

Since 2007, ScienceSoft provides help desk and application support services.

Tier 2 help desk consulting

  • Desining L2 help desk workflows (resolution and escalation process, collaboration with L1 and L3).
  • Drawing up a Tier 2 help desk launch plan.
  • Defining a suitable L2 help desk sourcing model.
  • Selecting ticket management software.
  • Defining L2 help desk KPIs (e.g., average resolution time, mean time to recovery, mean time to resolve).

Full or partial outsourcing of Level 2 help desk

  • Calculating price per L2 ticket.
  • Defining L2 help desk KPIs and service provision protocols.
  • Performing knowledge transfer from your company to our L2 help desk team.
  • Delivering self-managed L2 help desk tech support or in collaboration with your in-house help desk team, according to SLA.
  • Providing comprehensive reporting (regular performance reports, incident reports with root cause analysis).
About ScienceSoft

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, TX, US. Since 2007, we provide our customers with Tier 1 – Tier 3 help desk outsourcing services to help them reduce support costs and increase the user satisfaction rate. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001-certified, we rely on a mature quality management system and guarantee data security to our customers during cooperation.