Cloud based customer support service


If I was to build a free hosted customer support service, would anyone want to use it?
i.e Community powered customer support platform (post public), with company help desk ticket support (post private).


  • Free – 1 agent free, fully featured (all features of standard plan)
  • Standard – monthly fee/per agent
  • Professional - monthly fee/per
    agent, custom features.
Note : the reason I want to build it, I want to use the software myself; I could use the competitor's software but its missing features that I want and don't want to pay $50-$300 per agent per month yet still missing features.

EDIT: No advertising.

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asked Dec 29 '10 at 11:14
167 points
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3 Answers


If the ads are going in front of customers, why would I want that? And if they're only going in front of agents, how are you going to make money?

If you've scoured the market and see an opportunity, go for it - this is clearly an area where SaaS makes total sense.

But when you're thinking about pricing, be a bit more creative. Differentiate, but do so in a way that gives you competitive edge and delivers value from the start. There are so many variables you could use to create pricing structures or to define service levels. Build a great structure, work out how to communicate it cleanly to customers, and don't be afraid to charge customers who are deriving value.

answered Dec 30 '10 at 04:18
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points
  • maybe have no ads at all! Figured customers would not like this idea very much. – 001 13 years ago


Yes, of course. If you build it, someone will want to use it.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll have a profitable startup. If you plan to sell advertising, better questions to ask would be:

  • How many free accounts can I sign up per month?
  • How much will it cost to get those sign-ups?
  • How much revenue can I generate from advertising each month?
  • How much will it cost to run the site each month?

Answers to these questions will give you an idea of whether you have the formula for a viable startup.

answered Dec 30 '10 at 06:20
16 points


If you are going to build the next zendesk here are some suggestions for you.

  1. Include live chat for free. The guys at olark have done a great job with support chat. It would be nice to see something like that included.
  2. Build a Q&A forum like this into the system . My favorite one is
  3. Almost all help systems from assistly to zendesk suck when it comes to documentation. Kissmetrics has done a great job organizing documentation. Perhaps you could allow users to organize docs in a tree structure.
  4. Allow full css, custom headers, custom meta, custom footer, etc. Making a seamless experience is huge
  5. Allow for subdomains. so can be your helpdesk url.
  6. Include live visitor tracking (similar to livezilla) and chat invites
  7. Make it all web based, no software to install. Or if software is required, AIR Ajax app
  8. Email piping for tickets. The best version of this i have seen is DeskPro (php script). Make sure that agents and support staff can actually respond, close , and modify a ticket just through email. DeskPro does this and its great.
  9. Dont be afriad to charge. A complete helpdesk solution is worth 30 - 50 dollars per agent.

Dont want to write a full prd for you , but above are some of my thoughts.

answered Dec 30 '10 at 12:13
2,079 points
  • Another point, make sure that articles can be called by their id, with a custom style sheet. I cannot tell you how many times in my application i would have loved to click a help button, have a modal or lightbox load with the help articles styled to fit that site... – Frank 13 years ago
  • thank you frank. Anymore suggestions? – 001 13 years ago
  • K001, if you are serious about building something like this it would be great. The most frustrating part about building web apps for me are 1. support system.. 2. billing system. For billing i use custom code every time, for support we use a mixup of livezilla, deskpro, and Q2A and custom code. There is a lot of room in this market. I would suggest you do your research and if you are still interested in moving forward let us know. We could write a huge laundry list of features. Would also be nice if you built in customer feature requests, and ratings. – Frank 13 years ago

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