Computer repair and computer support are two terms that sound like the same service. However, there are a few differences computer repair and support and in the services that they both provide.
While you’ll likely speak with a competent professional when you call either type of service, you may not be able to receive certain on-site, remote, or product-specific help depending on who you call.
Here are a few details to help you figure out which service to contact.
A Brief Set Of Differences
Before digging into the deeper differences between computer repair and support, here’s an easy way to know which service to call.
Choose a computer repair service if you need help with:
- Adding or removing hardware.
- Repairing physical damage.
- Fixing a computer that doesn’t turn on.
Choose a computer support if you want some to:
- Access your computer remotely for long-term software management.
- Manage your network.
- Manage servers and websites.
The main difference is in whether you need physical changes done to hardware such as hard drives, disc drives (or disk drives for older computers with floppy disks versus round discs), or monitor repair.
Computer Repair Services
IT repair professionals offer the following services:
- Hardware installation and repair.
- Software installation and uninstallation.
- Software configuration and changes (with prior consultation and research).
- Give purchasing advice and consultation for the types of devices they service.
Repair technicians are what most non-technical computer users have immediate experience with. If your computer won’t turn on at all, a computer repair technician can troubleshoot electrical, hardware-specific, and firmware or software causes.
A computer support team is usually limited the following support channels:
- Internet chat .
- Internet remote access/control.
With a computer repair professional, you can use all of those methods along with either house calls (physical visits) or the ability to take your computer to a physical location.
Computer support professionals can’t reach through your phone or computer’s connection for physical changes. This is why you need a repair professional to remove cards, adjust cables, or replace burned components.
Computer Support And IT Managed Services
Do you need long-term assistance with software, troubleshooting, and advice on how to use your systems? Do you run a business with daily networking, software configuration, and IT consultation needs?
Repair technicians are best equipped to repair damaged components, remove viruses, and get the system running again. These break/fix technicians are best suited to major repair tasks, while support technicians assist with operations support.
Support generally means a long-term commitment or high availability allowing incoming clients to call, email, or otherwise contact a team for support—not counting wait time, of course. Support companies will have experience with specific software types, but can enter agreements and begin training if you’re using something the team isn’t familiar with.
Support services generally have a team of professionals ready to receive client contact on-demand. Rather than answering advice calls while drives out of a system, support technicians are waiting to help.
Support center systems allow professionals to work only on incoming tickets. Whether its phone calls, email, chat, or social media, focused customer intake makes supporting clients easier. This level of efficiency makes documenting issues and following through with the task a lot easier for the client and the technician.
If you’re using software that isn’t well-known—or if repair teams haven’t heard of it—it’s time for a contract. It’s easier for a dedicated support service to research software just for you. With repair teams, repair personnel may have to stop physical repairs to train on supporting specific systems.
Service-Level Agreements (SLA) are designed to spell out the terms of your technical support service. It defines a few of the following traits about your service:
- Specific software support.
- Specific system support.
- Contact center availability (working hours, holidays, etc).
- System uptime versus downtime.
- System maintenance time.
- Cost of initial services and repairs.
- Cost of service and repairs not covered by SLA.
- Proper procedure for updating the SLA or leaving the scope of support.
In businesses with internal IT, repair and support are often different departments because of these different skillsets. Your computer needs can be managed by different businesses for repair and support, or by hybrid services.
Hybrid Repair And Support Services
Having a career in the IT industry is a fairly flexible, somewhat confusing life for even its most practiced professionals. You’re expected to have some level of specialization, but it’s impossible to know everything.
A good technician knows a little about everything. A great technician is a master of at least one trade, and a jack of so many others. The same holds true for computer support businesses.
Many computer support businesses fall under what’s called an Information Technology (IT) Management Services company. They offer a broad range of services, but often in one or two sectors of the bigger IT world.
For example, many managed IT services companies offer cloud storage. With cloud storage, you can save information online and retrieve from anywhere with an internet connection.
The same company may offer cloud computing. With cloud computing, you can manage virtual computers on the internet without building expensive, powerful computers.
The same company may offer remote support services. Remote support allows technicians to connect to your computer across the internet. Technicians can then use your computer as if they were in front of your keyboard and mouse.
Remote services often include:
- Virus removal.
- System cleanup.
- System backup.
- Installing/uninstalling and configuring software.
- Education and training for system and software use.
To recap from the first section, the main difference between computer support and repair is physical interaction. Support companies have a few ways to bridge those differences within their company for you.
Many computer support companies either have partnerships with large computer support, office support, or electronics retailer brands. Many of these brands have their own local repair services.
The support company may have their own team that specializes in finding and training talented technicians. Support companies can also pair with smaller teams and independent contractors if you have a preferred technician.
It’s hard to understand subtle differences between skilled technicians if you’re not a technician yourself. A support company with repair outsourcing can vet those technicians for you, or provide local guidance.
If in doubt, a computer repair and support professional can help you figure out which businesses are the best fit for your support. Whether it’s for home, office, or government purposes, a good fit is out there.