I too started at the end of the 90's, actually 1998 to be exact. I have had 3 hosting companies, my 3rd one being now. The 1st company, I closed as neither my business partner nor me had time to run it, and he basically was using funds from the account without letting me know and I didn't know that he did that and overdrafted the account by $100, and caused financial issues and then he took off, leaving me to deal with it. Needless to say, I had to pay it out of my own pocket to make good with the bank and I fired him and closed the company.
Then the 2nd company, I had for over 15 years and then hired my brother-in-law to do work for me and he was working for me for a year and then he started doing things, not treating customer's right, doing shotty work and got us bad review after bad review and I would spend 10-12 hours a day, just doing damage control and it got to be overwhelming, but the time I resolved 1 issue, I had 3 more coming at me. It was a really, really bad experience and I resent him for it, and because he ran my 15 year old company into the ground and has us into the negatives and bad and worse column, there was no coming back, it was just happening too fast, so I had no other choice but to close the doors for that company and dissolve it.
Now.. I have learned my lesson, I'm going to continue like it was in the old days... and I'm going to be a 1 man show with my wife backing me and helping with billing, customer service, L1 support, etc.
With the 2 of us, we will do just fine.
My phone lines are open 24/7 and I try to stay in chat as much as humanly possible, even when I'm mobile, I have chat open on my phone and can respond to live chats there too.
I'm offering 24/7/365 support to my customers. My response time is usually minutes to 1-2 hours on average, depends on how busy I am and how many people I'm working with.
Furthermore, being the CEO of my company, I can do what I want, when I want and set my own pricing and make special deals as I seem fit.
If I ever, and I mean ever, outsource my support, I would first try to hire remote techs (that work directly for me first). If that didn't work, I would thoroughly check out the outsourcing company and would ask for atleast 5 references of their clients for me to contact to get their experience about the company. Then I would like to have a 30 day trial to ensure that we are a good fit together. I don't want to waste my money and time with a company that can't meet my needs.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions about anything I mentioned here or need me to clarify anything.
Good luck with your support offerings!