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Technical Support vs Customer Service. What is the difference?

Over the years of being in business, we have had enquiries asking for technical support and customer service. A lot of people will see these as being the same thing but they are not.

Today we will look at the differences between the two so you know exactly what you should be looking out for when hiring one of the two. At Firewall Technical we provide IT services and support which is also known as tech support.

Let’s go over tech support first.

What is tech support?

Tech support is usually a reactive service that a customer requires when they have something wrong with their hardware or software. Usually, something will break and a tech support consultant will fix the problem.

An example of this could be a plastic surgery business in Ottawa that uses its computer systems to schedule client consultations. If this company couldn’t access their systems to see what clients were due for consultations and what clients needed to be followed up with then they would be in big trouble.

A business without tech support would have to figure out what is wrong with their system and then fix it themselves. However, this isn’t practical and a system being down for even an hour could cost a business thousands of dollars. Companies that rely on their systems to work will hire an IT company like ourselves to provide them with IT support.

Tech support is a large field that covers:

  • General hardware and software maintenance.
  • Email set up and maintenance.
  • Network design, development and maintenance.
  • Cloud computing.
  • Malware and virus removal.
  • Cabling services.
  • Data backup and recovery.
  • Disaster recovery.
  • IT Security.

When it comes to technical support a company will help you with the setup or maintenance of the above services and if at any time they stop working as they should a tech support consultant will step in and fix the problem.

With tech support, there are different levels of support. Some of them are reactive like the above where a problem happens and then a tech support consultant will fix it. While this works for most businesses, larger businesses that will lose more if their network goes down choose a proactive take on tech support and will monitor a network and fix problems before they arise.

The level of support your business will need generally is determined by the size of your business, how many devices you have connected to a network and the budget that you have set for tech support services.

What is customer service?

Customer service on the other hand is different. Customer service is provided when a member of your staff has contact with a customer. This can be pre-sale or post-sale.

The role of someone providing customer service is to provide the customer with a positive experience when dealing with your company. A customer service representative from your company should make the customer happy they purchased from you rather than someone else.

Keeping the customer happy will result in a more profitable business as the customer is far more likely to return to you if they have had a good experience in the past. A customer service representative if they have done their job correctly will turn a customer into a return customer which makes your business more profitable as you often don’t have to spend as much of your marketing budget on finding new customers.

What is the difference between technical support and customer service?

Although someone providing technical support should provide a good customer service experience then the whole purpose of the two roles are different. A technical support consultant will aim to fix the issues you are having with your network, hardware or software while a customer service representatives main aim is to make sure you have had a positive experience with the company.

Tips for hiring a good technical support company

Now that you know the difference between technical support and customer service you may have questions on what you should look out for when hiring someone to handle either for your business.

As a tech support company, we will start with tips that you can use to find the right technical support company for your business.

Firstly, you should consider if you want to build an in house technical support team or if you want to outsource it. Both have positives and negatives so it depends on your current situation.  

Building an in-house team for example often leads to having your problems solved quicker but it comes at a price. Tech support consultants are in high demand and finding one that knows all areas of business can be near impossible. When building an in-house tech support team you would need to hire multiple staff to cover all areas of your business needs.

Outsourcing your tech support and services also has its advantages and disadvantages. Firstly it’s often cheaper to outsource your tech support, however, this can come at a cost if you outsource to a third world country.

Outsourcing your tech support to a third world country could leave you with more downtime than you expect and it’s often very difficult to find a reliable provider that doesn’t disappear after a few months for no reason.

If you do look to outsource your tech support it doesn’t have to be to a third world provider as you can still get value and great service by outsourcing to local tech support companies like us.  

At Firewall Technical we help businesses in Ottawa with their technical support needs. So if you are in Ottawa and need to outsource your tech support and IT services get in touch with us and we can help.


Customer service and technical support is often confused by people seeking these services. Hopefully, our article has covered everything you need to know about both services for you now to make an educated decision on what you need for your business.

If you would like help with your tech support or would like to speak to one of our IT consultants to see how we can help your business, please get in touch.