Well, I'm a "one man show", and I'm in business for 4 years now, it's really complicated but can be do it, just take a lot of tea, and relax your mind doing another non-computer things to prepare you to talk with 49308403 persons for day!
Live help will be tough unless you have a web based phone that supports something like HCL. the 800 # is different because many providers offer forwarding to any land line or cell phone, allowing you to be on call 24 hours a day.
Ticketed, email, phone are your best bets.
Very basic live support software is included in many WHM/cPanel resellers accounts. These are usually web based. Things like Purchased versions of Help Center Live WinApp will run in the background on your computer, similar to AIM or MSN and will alert you when you have visitors, where they came from, when they're requesting chat sessions, and much more. Test it out on the web first, but the upgrade is worth the $75
Kdoubt.net - Gameing discussion, arcade, all around good fun
I used to be a one man show, but not any longer. When I was a one man show, it used to be stressful. Even when things are working smoothly, new customers needed help with migrations, existing customers would accidentally mess a configuration up etc. I began outsourcing but quality was getting hard to maintain.
Now I just use my own staff and it is working great. Quality is kept to a high standard, and you have more time to concentrate on excelling the business rather than exhausting all your time on support tickets.
For a temporary solution, a one man show is fine, but when you reach a few hundred accounts, you will have problems. Make sure your pricing structure takes this into account...
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Well, I'm about 800 customers, and I think that you stealthdevil are right, the price structure it's very important to this, but what could I do when other companies sell under cost prices? or what about dreamscam!
You should consider who you're targeting, and I guess you should decide who you're targeting based on your specific goals and abilities.
If you have all day and the entry costs for 800 numbers, etc, target people who want a person. This will make your company seem more established since there's a more physical connection; well, people tend to think of a phone as physical, but computers still aren't to that point.
If you have another job or other obligations, you should probably go with e-mail support and perhaps a live support link only when you're around -- you don't want a live support image that always says 'offline.'
I personally think that an 800 number is a bit overkill for someone starting up. E-mail isn't responsive enough, but I think live support is a good way to bridge the gap. 800 numbers are also pretty close to the fees you're paying when you start out, so it isn't terribly cost effective and just adds to the money you're losing every month (which could probably be invested better somewhere else).
You do not need to purchase live help software. There are plenty of open source programs available. I forgot the name of the one I found a while ago. Generally they need a better design wrapped around them but otherwise are pretty functional.