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Article 2 min read

How to structure product support

By Dave Dyson, Sr. customer service evangelist, @dave_dyson

Last updated September 21, 2021

The customer support agents in tier 1 provide general product support across one or more products. This includes things like helping customers set up their accounts, resolving billing issues, helping them understand how the product works, and any other help customers need to use the product.

Tier 1 is also the first point of contact for incoming support issues. This is where all incoming tickets are triaged and then routed to the appropriate team or tier. The tier 1 team also handles all incoming phone calls and chats.

Experienced Tier 1 agents take turns triaging tickets and determining how they should be assigned based on complexity, which is defined by the time needed to resolve the issue. Support issues that are assigned to Tier 1 are expected to take a shorter amount of time to resolve. If a support issue is more complex and requires more time to resolve, it should assigned to Tier 2.

Of course, every support organization will have to be designed to fit the specific realities of every individual business, but just as an example, here is how tier 1 is currently organized at Zendesk.

Associate customer advocate

This is the team’s entry-level role and should be filled by people with potential, who have a year or two of experience helping customers in some capacity, and who possess essential customer service skills. Associates are in training and need guidance to perform at the standard level set for customer advocates. Set a target for tickets solved per day and expect an overall customer satisfaction (CSAT) rating. Associates should usually be in this role for a set time before becoming full-fledged Advocates.

Customer advocate

Advocates are well-trained and can handle most types of general support issues; therefore, they don’t “cherry pick” tickets. Their performance is measured by the number of tickets they solve per day and by their CSAT rating, which should be higher.

Senior customer advocate

A promotion to senior is possible after about a defined time of successfully working as an Advocate. Advocates must demonstrate that they can proactively identify problem areas and mentor and train other customer advocates on how to solve more difficult tickets. A senior’s performance should be above the standard, and they should also have an even higher average CSAT rating. They often specialize in one or more product areas and are considered experts in those areas.

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