Difference Between Customer & Technical Support Technician

While customer support and technical support technicians may sometimes perform similar duties, such as assisting consumers in basic computer repair, their daily tasks often differ. Find out more about how these jobs are similar and different.

Comparing Customer Support to Technical Support Technicians

Customer support technicians and technical support technicians both serve clients or employers who need help with computers. However, although employers may use these job titles interchangeably, customer support technicians tend to work primarily with consumer computer owners, while technical support technicians tend to work only with equipment. Keep reading to learn more about how these computer-based careers are similar yet different.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Customer Support Technician No degree required $49,390 (for all computer user support specialists) 13% (for all computer user support specialists)
Technical Support Technician Associate's degree $62,670 (for all computer network support specialists) 8% (for all computer network support specialists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Customer Support vs. Technical Support Technicians

Customer support technicians and technical support technicians work with computers to assist others, but their fields of expertise and daily tasks usually differ. For example, customer support technicians talk on the phone or over the internet with consumers who are not computer experts, often from a call center or home office. They sometimes work shifts that are outside normal business hours. Technical support technicians, on the other hand, often work for companies in order to maintain network systems. Instead of focusing on helping consumers correct minor functionality errors, they may work in offices under the supervision of administrators of computer and network systems.

Customer Support Technician

Customer support technicians, also called computer user support specialists or help desk technicians, listen to customer complaints about issues with their computers. Their job is usually to diagnose computer problems based on the answers consumers give to their questions. They then get the help consumers need to solve the problem. They may also train people how to properly use their computers or software programs. Many times, they work for software companies, but they may also work for firms that offer support services. They usually do their work over the phone or internet, but they may travel to users' homes to solve problems.

Job responsibilities of a Customer Support Technician include:

  • Telling users how to perform the recommended steps to solve their problem
  • Fixing computer equipment or devices
  • Telling their employers what problems users have most often
  • Monitoring customer situation requests and resolutions, often called tickets

Technical Support Technician

Technical support technicians usually work behind the scenes to repair damaged computer equipment or to install and maintain computer networks. While some technicians may interact with consumers, many of them do not. These support personnel often work in the information technology (IT) department at a company. They maintain the computer mainframes at such companies, spotting errors, figuring out what is wrong, and then fixing them. They know how to make backup systems so that no information is lost. Different positions may require travel, depending on the type of organization they work for.

Job responsibilities of a Technical Support Technician include:

  • Testing network systems
  • Working with local area networks (LANs)
  • Designing support systems
  • Installing software programs

Related Careers

Someone who likes what customer support technicians do might also like what a customer service agent does, since both work with consumers. Anyone interested in what technical support technicians do might be excited by what network architects do, since both usually involve working with computer networks.

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