What Are Activation Fees For Call Centers For?
In the corporate world, it can get frustrating to constantly have to deal with every vendor and service provider trying to nickel and dime you to death with service fees and surcharges. While it is very true that many of these are extraneous and simply designed to bilk customers of a few extra dollars, there are certain fees and surcharges that companies assess for a very good reason. Answering services are no different. There are certainly companies out there that provide answering services while charging their customers a plethora of needless fees just designed to pad their bottom lines. However, there are other fees that are assessed for a very good reason. Hopefully, this will shed some light on the differences.
There are some good reasons for an answering service to charge an activation fee. One of the answering service’s largest expenses will be at the onset of your campaign, as they have to allocate resources and train agents to get up to speed on their new client. You should consider what you’re asking the company to do when evaluating whether or not you feel their activation fee is reasonable. For instance, are you using a standard script or procedure tree that the answering service suggested to you? If so, it means their agents likely require very little training for your business, and your activation fee should not be exorbitant. On the other hand, if you are implementing custom scripts and non-standard call flows, you have to recognize that the training and setup time required from their end will be greater than normal.
Another reason that answering services charge activation fees is to cover the cost of testing the service. You need your messages relayed to you in the best fashion possible, whether that’s via voice, email or SMS messaging, but above all, you need the flow of messages to your company to be reliable. If you have a wide variety of people or departments that messages are being relayed to, it will make the testing phase of project launch more extensive, and likely, more expensive as a result.
When you consider the amount of time and effort that you’re asking your answering service to put in before your service even kicks in, it starts to make sense why an activation fee might be considered the norm in the industry. One good model to look for is a company that charges an activation or setup fee based upon an hourly programming structure instead of assessing a blanket fee. This can ensure you pay based on the complexity of your needs, and that you don’t end up overpaying for setup if you only have very simplistic needs.
Author: Michael Cynar
Michael Cynar has over 30 years of executive call center and answering service experience. He is a successful business owner and lead generation expert and shares tips to help other entrepreneurs build and grow their business through leads generation and lead capture solutions. His mission is to share carefully guarded marketing tips that will help small-medium business compete on a smaller budget.