At Jitbit me and Alex have been handling support tickets ourselves from the very beginning. We didn't have much choice since it was just the two of us. Two years ago we have started hiring customer support employees, but we still answer a significant number of support tickets daily.
I strongly believe that founders must talk to customers as much as possible (and there is no better place to do that than your help desk software). Even Jeff Bezos does this every now and then. And the guy is a freaking billionaire.
Yes, if you do it right. Support emails is the place to learn who your customers are, what they want and what is wrong with your product. You need answers to these questions to make decisions about your business.
As founders, we spend most of our time looking at faceless numbers in reports & analytics. It's so easy to forget that there are real people behind those numbers. Customer support emails help you stay in touch with the reality.
But be careful, if you do not control it, support can quickly take over your schedule and you're never going to get anything else done. So here are two things in keep in mind when handling support yourself.
Like I said, you don't want to let yourself drown in support tickets. You have to keep a balance so you can spend time answering support emails and also stay on top everything else.
The easiest way to achieve that is to do support at fixed hours and not even think about it at other times. I used to answer support emails throughout the day whenever I had a minute. Trust me — that's terribly unproductive. Currently I handle tickets for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. That's the best advice I can give to founders: select one or two fixed hours in which you respond to tickets.
Customer support emails never end. It's an exhausting routine. Letting support take over your life is a quickest way to a burnout. It happened to me a couple of times. It was ugly.
When you find yourself annoyed by every single customer, please do everyone a favor and stop responding to tickets. Take a couple of weeks off. Do other things. Hire a dedicated support person, if you haven't done this yet. I can't stress this enough: when support becomes a burden — it's time to stop. Don't let yourself and your customer service suffer.