On May 1, 2008, the Commercial Service (CS) will implement a new user fee schedule that links to Balanced Scorecard strategic objectives for improving customer experience and optimizing financial availability. The new fees for our standardized services will keep CS programs and services within reach of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and will provide an incentive for new-to-export SMEs to use CS services for the first time. Large companies, on the other hand, will be required to cover the full cost of services provided to them. Fees for customized services will be calculated using a fee template similar to the one currently being used for offerings such as the Platinum Key Matching Service and trade missions. Using the new fee schedule, the CS’s value proposition—professional content at a reasonable price—remains strong.
The new fee schedule will replace the current four-band model and will better align with our congressional mandate to promote the export of goods and services from the United States, particularly by SMEs. We will have one standard fee for SMEs and one fee for large companies. Using a standard fee schedule worldwide will eliminate client confusion and simplify our administrative processes. This will give us more time to directly support exporters, and it will provide clients with a better customer experience.
CS also wants to encourage participation among its partners, new-to-export SMEs and appropriate foreign companies. Therefore, CS will offer an incentive fee for new-to-export SMEs that use our services for the first time; details on this program will be provided soon. We will also extend SME-level fees for both standardized and customized services to states, cities, other local governments, trade associations and partners. Finally, to spur participation from qualified foreign companies, CS will treat foreign companies that are not state-owned as SMEs when working on reverse services, such as the Reverse Gold Key.
Guidance and training on the new fee schedule will be provided in March and April. Please check OurPlace and watch your e-mail for opportunities to learn more.
There are concerns among international posts about the effectiveness of unscreened foreign company contact lists sold by the Commercial Service, and there are complaints from clients regarding contact list quality and inconsistencies among posts. Some posts provide only screened contact lists, whereas others offer the option of unscreened lists. Additionally, the type of contact information that is provided varies from post to post.
The Product Enhancement team invites the ODO and OIO field staff to voice their opinions about the Commercial Service contact list services. We will use your feedback to explore the option of eliminating unscreened contact lists and improving screened contact list services.
Please share your insight with us by May 2.