Is There a Difference Between Tech Support and Customer Support?

Tech support and customer support experts both provide professional services to consumers and businesses who need assistance with computer issues. But there are some distinct differences between the two. It is important to learn these differences, especially for people who are considering careers in one of these two fields. The following sections can help to clarify these differences and help prospective tech or customer support professionals choose which career would be best for them.

Areas of Focus

Perhaps the biggest difference between tech support and customer support is the area in which of these professionals focus. Tech support experts typically have little to no contact with customers as their main focus is on repairs and installations. They may also offer suggestions to business owners on what can or should be done to improve existing technology. Customer support experts, on the other hand, focus on helping consumers with various computer issues and questions. These professionals typically spend much, if not most, of their time interacting with consumers.

Common Work Environments

Another difference between tech support and customer support experts involves their common work environments. Tech support professionals can usually be found working for technical support companies or for businesses that maintain tech support departments. They typically work during normal business hours performing the maintenance, repairs, and installation of technological systems, equipment, and devices. Customer support professionals often work both during business hours as well as outside of business hours and usually work from call centers or home offices providing their assistance over the phone or Internet.

Average Salaries for Tech and Customer Support Experts

Students who are considering careers in either tech or customer support often wonder how much money one can earn in these occupations. According to information found on the website known as Glassdoor, the average salary for tech support professionals was nearly $40,000 in December of 2019. This did not include additional cash compensation which ranged from nearly $500 to $8,500 for the same year. The average salary for customer support professionals was $27,647 according to Glassdoor, and additional cash compensation for this career ranged from about $400 to $7,337 during the same period.

Common Responsibilities of Tech Support

Yet another difference between tech support and customer support experts involves the tasks that each professional are responsible for. As mentioned above, tech support specialists work behind the scenes repairing computers and computer equipment. They are also often responsible for installing and maintaining computer networks, creating and maintaining backup systems, installing software programs on company computers, testing and repairing network systems, and creating support systems that suit their employer’s business and company needs.

Common Responsibilities of Customer Support

Sometimes referred to as computer user support experts, customer support experts handle consumer complaints and questions about computer issues. Their job usually involves diagnosing minor computer issues and helping consumers resolve the problems by talking them through the issues over the phone or by way of the Internet. They may also be responsible for teaching consumers how to use various types of software programs, maintaining consumer request tickets and resolutions, notifying employers of common complaints, and referring major issues to tech support professionals.

Training and Education Requirements

Finally, another difference between tech support and customer support professionals involves the training and education that is required to begin these careers. To become a tech support expert, one will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in either information technology or computer science. Some employers will hire graduates who have earned a certificate or associate degree in one of these areas, but a bachelor’s degree can significantly increase the graduate’s chances of employment. It is also essential to note that some employers may require applicants to possess IT certification.

Students who would like to become a customer support expert will also need to earn a bachelor’s degree, but they can choose to earn their degree in either business administration, information technology, or computer science. Again, while some employers may hire graduates with a certificate or associate degree in one of these areas, a bachelor’s degree can increase chances of obtaining employment. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that those persons who choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration may be required to complete a certificate program in IT or computer science for some employers.

There is an increasing demand today in the fields of tech and customer support, but before students choose one of these career paths, they will want to learn the differences between these two careers. There are several differences between tech support and customer support careers, and some of the main differences are described above.

Related Resources:

What is Technical Support?

How Should I Prepare for a Job Interview as a Programmer?

Do Many Companies Hire People Without a Degree in Programming?