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Jul 16

How can we define L1 L2 L3 support for SaaS companies

Posted on July 16th, by Varun Yadav 5 Comments
L1, L2, L3 support for  SaaS growth
In my previous blog Why Support is the new Sales for SaaS companies I stressed upon the importance of the post-sales support for SaaS companies. How support can ensure growth, retention and high MRR (monthly recurring revenue). How it can disrupt the growth plan and why it should be the topic of boardroom discussions. 
Do you believe in this theory? If you do I’m sure you must have pondered over whether you’ve the right support architecture in place, is there a seamless handshake between different levels ( Level 1, Level 2, Level 3), are SLAs clearly defined (our VP Neil Macleod has stressed upon it in his interview here). You would have also googled for more information. 
I’ve googled too. I shuffled through a number of sources. Allayed doubts about handshakes between different level of a tiered support system, demarcation of responsibilities, processes. I felt an urge to share my understanding in simple words. Here’s my attempt at it.

What is L1 support?

L1 or level 1 of the support architecture is the front counter for all customer queries, tickets. Customers can reach out to you through email, chat, phone call, and sometimes through social media. McKinsey says social media, communities are taking precedence over email, chat as a first point for customer support. But chat box and email still receive significant number of queries for SaaS. The users of SaaS applications also prefer a self-help approach like an access to a repository of possible issues and their resolution, like a knowledge base.
 At this stage, the first and foremost task which is to be performed is logging of the issue. L1 support team does it. it acknowledges the request, categorize it, and track it till it’s resolved to customer’s satisfaction. Tools like Zendesk, Freshdesk, Zoho (Capterra has compiled a good list here) can be used for tickets management. L1 team should be trained well in these tools.
Somewhere in between L1 team forwards the request to L2 if it’s complex in nature. L1 generally is basic in nature. However, in small size SaaS firms where everyone knows everything the heavy duty tickets are also closed at L1.
Experts in L2, L3 Technical Support - TaraSpan

When does L1 hand over to L2 support?

When the tickets are complex in nature, when the resolution is not available in knowledge base.  L2 engineers are more experienced (which is obvious) and more technically sound than L1 engineers. L2 team generally comprises of domain experts – product, network, database etc. Here too, team follows a documented process for query resolution as defined in SLAs. Issues which require bug fix, issues which require development environment to simulate the real scenario are escalated to Level 3. 

The final level – level 3

L3 is the final frontier. The team is more experienced as can be deciphered from the fact that queries which reach here are subtle. L3 support team receive queries which are mostly bugs. Issues which are new, for which generally a resolution is not there in the knowledge base. A deeper analysis is required here. The team is required to have in-depth domain expertise and programming skills. In a smaller setup, product development team plays this role. As businesses, a new team is formed or an experienced partner is brought on board.

What after L3 support?

Level 4 (not too commonly used). The queries which remain unresolved at even L3 are transferred to product team (if the setup is big). The product team simulate it, test it and prioritize it. It can be a major bug fix, which may require a new minor release of the app, or it can be a feature requirement. The team which resolves it should be sound to make these judgments.

In a complex product scenario, where your app interacts with other 3rd party apps too, bugs related to these third party apps first reach this stage and later raised to the concerned team in that product team.

If you’ve reached here, I’m sure you’d found the structure simple to comprehend, and yes, easy to implement too. However, each business has its own nuances. Existing processes, SLAs, existing team structure and expertise impact the final architecture, decide the responsibilities at each level.  When you’re early in the journey, a support partner can help in doing all this in less time, and with more accuracy. Which I think is very very important because as I said earlier if support being taken care of, there’s no way your customer will leave you. Instead, he’ll become your advocate.

Global Support Services - TaraSpan

Varun Yadav
Written by Varun Yadav
Varun looks after marketing at TaraSpan. He's an ardent fan of technology and its disruptive nature.


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    Rajinder Maurya April 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Good and best Information written by Varun Yadav, effectively and meaningful lines any one read and understand, especially thanks for Varun and their whole team of taraspan.

    Balakrishna N A September 28, 2016 at 9:46 am

    What would be your view if we split the team by POD, meaning when we have huge customer base, we need make sure account manager or customer success manager can reach out to support team in case a ticket has been escalated. So each POD is responsible for specific customer and within each POD there would L1, L2 L3 identified. But this can become complex when the ticket volume is huge. Would like to know your view how this kind of situation can be managed

    Amlesh Rai May 4, 2017 at 11:32 am

    How many L1 support personnels are required for Applications support in an openstack cloud Environment in different support model specially 24×7
    Note- I am looking to hire L1 support people for Apps support in a openstack cloud environment for 24×7 support.
    1) I want to know, 1 L1 can support how many application users
    2) Or how many L1 I nee to hire to support number of application users

    Antony Eldridge October 12, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Hi, Good article!
    For typical SaaS Application support do you have any metrics for percentage of tickets resolved at L1, L2, L3?
    This is really important for sizing the teams.

    Sujeeth kumar February 13, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Very good article, I want to read more of (SaaS) related. Where can I find it or do you have a book? your suggestions are appreciated.


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