Level 1 Shrinks…Isn’t That Counterintuitive?
Someone just asked me about staffing trends for Level 1/2/3, and one of my observations is that companies strive to push more issues (and headcount) into Level or Tier 1, since these tech support engineers (TSEs) are paid less than their more experienced Level 2/3 counterparts, therefore incidents resolved at Level 1 cost less.
To prove my point, I pulled the staffing allocation for Levels 1/2/3 from the current SSPA benchmark and compared it to the 2003 figures, expecting to see the percent of employees at Level 1 growing. Gosh darn it! I hate when the facts don’t support my story! It turns out that as a percentage of overall employees, Level 1 has actually shrunk in the last 6 years, from 46% of staff in 2003 to 40% of staff today.
As you can see in the graphic, the numbers are very different by industry, with Consumer companies (who have less complex technology and more procedural questions) definitely leading the way with a whopping 82% of staff at Level 1.
I’m a bit taken aback by these numbers. There is so much emphasis on tools (remote support, knowledgebases) to allow Level 1 to be more productive and avoid escalating issues to Level 2, that I really thought the reverse was happening. What could be the reason? Off the top of my head, here are three:
- Self-service. As self-service adoption grows, more of the easy questions never reach Level 1, so the pool of generalists answering password questions from years past are no longer necessary.
- Complexity. Are you sick of me ranting on complexity yet? More complex issues require more investigation and longer resolve times, meaning Level 2/3 have more work to do.
- Productivity. Maybe…just maybe…the tools and training are helping, and Level 1 is able to handle more issues with fewer bodies.
What are you seeing? Is Level 1 shrinking or growing? Does your company try to boost Level 1 resolutions? If you have any thoughts, please add a comment or drop me an email. And as always, thanks for reading!