L1, L2 & L3 Support: What Your Business Should Know

Written bySenior Business & Tech Editor

Since 2011, Dmitri has been helping business readers navigate the technology market through expert analysis and editorial work. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Dmitri shows startups and SMBs across industries how to drive business value from their software engineering investments.

Since 2011, Dmitri has been helping business readers navigate the technology market through expert analysis and editorial work. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Dmitri shows startups and SMBs across industries how to drive business value from their software engineering investments.

L1, L2, and L3 support is a tiered system of remote IT support. Different levels organize help desk teams according to specialization, problem type, urgency, and expertise. A proper division of labor helps you better address the wide range of possible IT service issues. That way, when a problem occurs, efficient escalation and workload distribution offer cost savings. More importantly, tiered service provides an improved customer service experience.

Let's explore L1, L2, and L3 support responsibilities so that you can strategically improve your customer IT issue resolution.

L1, L2, L3 support chart

L1 support

The L1 support tier operates as your first line of defense. Technicians in this tier are the first point of contact via standard contact methods such as email, phone, or social media. L1 support then creates issue tickets, ensuring that all customer service responses are efficient and rapid.

When do you need L1 support?

The purpose of L1 support teams is initial user assistance. Customers will have routine problems, both pre- and post-sale — an L1 technician offers guidance for such basic inquiries outside of possible self-service.

By handling regular troubleshooting, L1 technicians create an efficient triage. Pre-made scripts and known operating procedures resolve numerous customer complaints, while any issues that demand specialized assistance can then escalate to L2.

As a result, L1 technicians need less technical expertise but more interpersonal skills. Frontline service value frees up expert technicians to focus solely on complex issues. Such a configuration is also ideal as tech support for small businesses.

L1 support: business cases

Regular activities for L1 technical support involve incident ticket triage and standard service requests. For example, an L1 rep can handle all password requests, account changes, and access permissions. In addition, L1 support may address routine system upgrades, network connectivity problems, and release transitioning for new features. All other L1 actions focus on customer service improvements, such as crafting FAQs or engaging in remote end user support.

Key L1 support metrics

To measure the quality of your L1 service desk, use the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

  • First Call Resolution (FCR): Your FCR rate determines how many inquiries are resolved on the first interaction with L1 support technicians.
  • Average handling time: Your L1 handling time determines how quickly IT support teams resolve an issue, from initial contact to resolution or escalation.
  • Ticket volume: Total ticket volume refers to the resolution rate and total workload that L1 support logs during a given timeframe.
  • Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT): Your CSAT measures the feedback given by clients regarding their interactions with an L1 support technician.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) compliance: An SLA is the agreed-upon terms and conditions signed between a business and its customer during a sale. Your SLA compliance rate refers to how often L1 technicians resolve a problem within the timeframes defined in the SLA.

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L2 support

L2 support operates as your second defense line. They handle all escalated problems. L2 also commands a deeper understanding of all business technologies and products. If an issue exceeds the scope of the L1 tech support, reps transfer the problem to those with more expertise.

When do you need L2 support?

The purpose of L2 support is to address complex technical issues. L1 reps could not resolve the problem, so advanced personnel shoulder the responsibility. An organization implements an L2 support team to handle high-level configurations.

L2 technicians also play a leadership role and often provide secondary aid to L1 technicians. Guidance, training, and mentorship fit within the role responsibilities of an L2 help desk support.

Lastly, L2 support technicians engage in customer-facing problem-solving. High-priority customers or those with ongoing issues receive personalized attention and in-depth troubleshooting. Such support care further strengthens the customer-to-business relationship.

L2 support: business cases

Regular activities executed by L2 support teams focus on troubleshooting. Technicians engage in error analysis, workaround creation, or patch software installation. Documentation for necessary updates or upgrades also occurs to support development teams. Further service communications may occur to inform the customer of all changes or solicit feedback.

Key L2 support metrics

L2 support teams operate with all the same Key Performance Indicators given to L1 reps (customer satisfaction scores, average response times, etc.). However, L2 also uses additional success metrics that better define escalated problem resolution:

  • Knowledge utilization: Knowledge utilization refers to how well your L2 technician leverages their expertise and all available internal resources. Low utilization rates indicate department silos, a lack of technical knowledge, or incorrect operating procedures.
  • Customer retention: Your retention rate refers to the number of clients that continue using a product or service after a technical problem. Successful retention speaks to the quality of the issue resolution by L2 support.
  • Team effectiveness: Success metrics such as cases handled, average time per case, and the ratio of escalated cases determines the efficiency of the L2 team. If successful, it shows that you have a proper escalation channel, workload distribution, and L1 knowledge transfer.
  • Escalation rate: Your escalation rate compares how many cases L2 reps are resolved against the number of cases escalated further to L3. A high escalation rate depicts efficiency issues or the need for more training, as only a minority of cases should escalate to L3.

L3 support

L3 support is the highest level of technical resolution. L3 technicians handle the most challenging customer issues. They may even engage in possible code-level alterations. L3 also works closely with development processes and often has permission to suggest product changes.

When do you need L3 support?

First, your L3 support focuses on immediate incident management and resolutions, such as outages, breaches, hacks, and system failures. Response times for such emergencies are crucial (measured in minutes to hours). Deep technical experience addresses critical problems as rapidly as possible.

L3 support also handles system defects or bugs that threaten total business operations. Upon discovery, L3 technicians will guide DevOps and support engineers on how to fix future recurrences. As a result, you also gain robust application maintenance and support. In certain cases, L3 will even escalate issues to vendors or third-party consultants.

Lastly, L3 focuses on performance optimization and automation. Any escalated issues are used to define areas of needed improvement in the product.

L3 support: business cases

Regular activities executed by L3 focus on optimization, customization, and incident responses. Technicians often work with enterprise-level software, networks, and databases. Issue resolution includes deep analysis, vulnerability discovery, and patch creation. All collected data offer insights into IT infrastructure improvements, root-level configurations, and security management. Lastly, L3 engages in all immediate emergency responses.

Key L3 support metrics

L3 support uses a set of high-level KPIs that measure team effectiveness, such as:

  • Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR): Your MTTR depicts how rapidly L3 teams can locate and address high-level issues (e.g. data breaches).
  • Backlog management: Since it is the last line of defense, L3 can have numerous ongoing cases. Backlog management shows the number of open cases and the overall completion rate.
  • Development collaboration: Unique metrics such as enhancement reports show how effectively L3 support techs collaborate with development teams.
  • Proactive identification: The rate of issue identification, customer notification, and proactively defended threats all demonstrate the vigilance of L3 technicians toward delivering a stable customer experience.


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An extra tier: L4 support

L4 refers to the highest level of support in a business hierarchy. This is a form of escalation customer service that may include consultants, third-party experts, vendors, and product architects. In many cases, tier four addresses component issues not even serviced by your organization, as vendor-supplied support staff will come in to perform root cause analysis and code-level investigations.

L1, L2, and L3 support: a comparison

L1, L2, and L3 support work together to create a robust and efficient support system that effectively addresses customer issues and ensures seamless operations. Through the proper division of labor, you can efficiently leverage the strengths of each support tier, allowing your organization to provide comprehensive support coverage and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

For a more in-depth comparison of the L1, L2, and L3 support responsibilities, refer to the following chart:

Support Level

L1 Support

L2 Support

L3 Support


Frontline support makes the first point of contact with users

Intermediate support that handles advanced troubleshooting and issue resolution

Advanced support that offers specialized expertise and problem management


Basic ticket triage, initial troubleshooting, and issue resolution

In-depth troubleshooting, analysis, and resolution of complex issues. Will escalate unresolved cases

Specialized technical expertise, complex problem management, root cause analysis, proactive monitoring, and performance optimization

Skills Required

Basic technical knowledge, strong customer service skills

Strong technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work with advanced tools

Deep technical expertise in specific areas, extensive troubleshooting, and problem-solving skills

Typical Issues

Simple user inquiries, basic software and hardware problems, password resets

Advanced software and hardware issues, network configuration problems, system errors

System failures, network outages, security breaches, advanced debugging

SLA (Service Level Agreement)

Quick response and resolution times, typically measured in hours

Faster response and resolution times compared to L1, typically measured in hours or days

Highest priority, fastest response and resolution times, typically measured in minutes or hours

Escalation Point

Escalates unresolved cases to L2 support

Escalates unresolved cases to L3 support

May escalate cases to vendors, developers, or external experts if necessary


Basic technical training, product knowledge, customer service skills

Advanced technical training, specialized certifications, product knowledge

Extensive technical training, advanced certifications, specialization in specific technologies or systems

If you need help elevating your customer service and IT support, connect with our expert technicians to develop robust support tiers that better address customer inquiries and improve satisfaction levels. Connect with us to get started.

Written bySenior Business & Tech Editor

Since 2011, Dmitri has been helping business readers navigate the technology market through expert analysis and editorial work. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Dmitri shows startups and SMBs across industries how to drive business value from their software engineering investments.

Since 2011, Dmitri has been helping business readers navigate the technology market through expert analysis and editorial work. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Dmitri shows startups and SMBs across industries how to drive business value from their software engineering investments.