what is a 1st line support?

As a 1st line support, you are the technical support engineer. Your job is to provide technical support and customer service to clients using a particular product. Most technical support and customer services companies use a tiered tactic to provide prompt assistance to customers. While some companies have zero line support for self-service, others have up to four tiers of support, where the 1st and 2nd line support are for customer queries. The 3rd and 4th lines usually deal with issues requiring management-level expertise or external consultancy.

When you work in first line support, you are the frontline customer support agent. That means you have to be a generalist with a broad understanding of technical procedures and products. Your job is to handle customer inquiries on daily support issues like time-sensitive queries, customers' common challenges and FAQs. You aim to rectify a problem promptly for the customer.

As a 1st line support agent, you need to collect sufficient information about a customer's issue. If you cannot solve a problem, you pass along the ticket to the 2nd line support, who handles time-consuming and technical issues arising from the first support. Usually, first line support receives queries from social media channels, live chats and emails.

Would working as a 1st line support suit your interest in helping people and problem-solving ability? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a first line support role.

1st line support jobs

average 1st line support salary

According to ONS, the average salary of 1st line support agents is £23,050 per year or £11.82 per hour. New 1st line support technicians earn a salary of £21,923 annually, while skilled professionals have a compensation package of over £30,000 per year. As a 1st line support, your hourly rates are higher when you work overtime. You can also increase your earnings with bonuses.

Apart from bonuses, first line support agents enjoy multiple benefits, including paid holidays and various allowances like medical and transport allowances.

what factors affect the salary of a 1st line support?

As a 1st line support agent, your salary depends on your skills and the organisation you work for. When you have experience in providing IT support to clients, you will have a higher compensation package than entry-level 1st line support agents. Your qualifications can also increase your salary and career prospects.

When you work in a large organisation that provides 24-hour support, you enjoy higher hourly rates than in new start-ups. Working in-house for an IT company pays more than call centres due to their specialised services. Location can also influence your pay since urban centres have higher pay structures.

1st line support listening
1st line support listening

types of 1st line support

Some types of 1st line support include:

  • helpdesk technician: your role is to provide technical support to clients remotely, in person or through the phone related to computer systems. You also respond to customer queries and assist them.
  • helpdesk operator: as a helpdesk operator, you are the 1st line of support for the company's in-house staff and remote workers. Your job is to deal with technical issues, recommend the best applications for company use and install and upgrade computer systems.

working as a 1st line support

Working as a first line support revolves around helping people resolve technical issues. You provide assistance through live chat, email or phone support. Let's check out the role's daily activities and career progression options.


education and skills

Although a 1st line support agent role doesn't have any formal educational requirements, the following post-secondary qualifications can get you into the role:

  • college course: you can pursue a higher national certificate in computing or a higher national diploma in technical support. The HNC and HND courses require at least 4 GCSEs in maths and English.
  • apprenticeship: you can join the profession with an apprenticeship in digital applications or pursue a foundation degree in IT, hardware and system support. Apprenticeships usually require between 3 and 5 GCSEs.
  • additional training: most employers provide on-the-job training to prepare you for the role. However, you can build your skills with helpdesk qualifications or introductory courses in modern desktop administrator associate or information technology infrastructure library (ITIL).

1st line support skills and competencies

Some skills of a 1st line support include:

  • customer service skills: as a 1st line support agent, you provide support to users. Customer service skills like empathy and patience help you execute your responsibilities and provide the best support to users.
  • analytical skills: resolving complex technical issues requires exceptional analytical skills. You have to identify the cause of the problem and develop solutions. Analytical skills help you study the information provided by a user and make an informed decision on the resolution.
  • multitasking skills: as a first line support agent, you handle multiple issues simultaneously. Sometimes, you have to answer customers' questions on the phone while drafting an email on how to fix an issue or escalating tickets to 2nd line support.
  • organisation skills: you need to keep accurate records of the types of problems, support and resolutions to be handled. You also have to keep track of escalated tickets and follow up on their progress. That requires exceptional organisation skills.
female 1st line support
female 1st line support


FAQs about working as a 1st line support

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