I was thinking of offering branded support for resellers. I would be intrested any advice on setting this up.
First thing that needs to be covered is pricing. I do want it to remain profitable, but I also want it to be a good value for resellers.
I have serveral ideas on pricing structures and would be intrested in comments or suggestions.
1) Flat monthly fee:
Support Pack: Support for up to X amount of customers for X amount of dollars. (this would be sold in blocks so a reseller could be paying for 20 customers, but really only have 17. This would benefit the reseller if they had a customer sign up in the middle of the month, that customer would already be included.)
Per Customer: X amount of dollars per customer/per month. (This is like the above option, but you only pay for exactly what you need.)
Per Reseller: X amount of dollars no matter how many customers the reseller has. (This option could get out of hand and actually end up costing me money)
2) Charging a per ticket fee
Prepay option: $x.xx for x amount of tickets. (This would allow resellers to control how much they spend, and would allow me to be paid upfront)
As Needed: (would cost more) $x.xx per ticket.
So far I think selling X amount of tickets for X amount of dollars would be the best solution. I would like to hear everybodies thought on this so I can make an informed decision.
There is definately a market for this type of service out there. Create a thorough business plan to make sure you have your bases covered and that will tell you whether this is a good idea or not. I would expect any company that I outsourced my support to would be able to provide 24/7 phone and email support. So you will have to consider your startup costs for staff and infrastructure.
Either way you go, keep in the mind that at the end of every month you're going to either increase or decrease their payment amount as they will most certainly never use the same amount of tickets or have the same number of clients as the previous month.
That said, per-ticket works out well provided you have the means to properly plan an X staff for X tickets schedule (and have this somewhat dynamically available) as well as the means to accurately track ticket counts (per domain would be much simpler). Also keep in mind that tickets hit hard at different times during the day and night (int'l clients).
I can say this as a sort of 'caveat emptor'; Running a 24/7 technical support operation will be the most challenging thing you've done
I do run 24/7 support now, and it is handled by more than one staff member. We have plans in place to call in backups if needed and have not had any problems keeping operations smooth. I have found that even though 90% of my clients are US based, some of them obviously have odd schedules, as tickets do come in any time of the day or night.
I do value your input, and it does put things into a better perspective from a business point of view. If all my current resellers were to order branded support, my support team would be working alot harder. As long as we our able to turn a profit, it should not be a problem to hire additional staff members to handle the increase in tickets. Balancing the schedules out would prove to be the most difficult, until we get some sort of statistics showing what hours the support team gets hit hardest. Of course that could all change on a dime if a server goes down or another problem arises.