Top Associates Share Their Tips for MILITARY STAR Success
When shoppers use the MILITARY STAR® card, they save—and so does the Exchange. The card brings approximately $468 million in value annually from interest savings and rewards cards for our Warfighters and their families, while saving the Military Resale Community over $26 million a year in credit card processing fees.
Understanding the unique benefits the MILITARY STAR card provides cardholders and critical military Quality-of-Life programs, the Exchange Post asked top associates about their best practices when talking to shoppers about MILITARY STAR. Here are their pro tips:
Charleston Stays in The Know
“The key is knowing what the card has to offer because a lot of our customers do not know about all the benefits,” said Joint Base Charleston Exchange Central Checkout Supervisor Cheryl Faison, who has worked for the Exchange for 27 years.
Make sure you’re aware of any ongoing or upcoming MILITARY STAR sales or offers.
“See what the customer is buying, know your promotions and see if any of them fit what the customer is looking for,” said Charles Brissett Jr., who works as a computer operator at the Joint Base Charleston Exchange.
Check out the weekly sales flyers at ShopMyExchange.com, under “Weekly Ad” or find all current MILITARY STAR promotions by visiting MyECP.com and clicking “Promotions.” Many stores also post MILITARY STAR offers in their associate area.
Fort Sam Gets Specific
“Listen to each person to hear what their needs are and show them what the card can offer to meet those needs,” Fort Sam Exchange Customer Experience Associate Martha Rodriguez said.
Customers have different shopping habits. Instead of giving a generic MILITARY STAR pitch, find out what that particular individual is interested in and how the card can help them.
“A lot of our military customers are right out of high school. They’re new to building credit,” said Fort Sam Exchange Customer Experience Associate Gareth May. “I explain how credit works and how they can build credit quickly with MILITARY STAR. I let them know they can use their MILITARY STAR for day-to-day expenses and tell them how easy it is to make payments at any Exchange register, online or on the MILITARY STAR mobile app.”
Shoppers are looking for cards that will help them save. Let them know that MILITARY STAR shoppers save 5 cents on every gallon of gas at Exchange fuel locations and 10% on all Exchange restaurant purchases.
Fort Gordon Keeps It Brief
With all the benefits of MILITARY STAR, it can be easy to overwhelm shoppers.
“For shoppers who don’t have a card, give them a few quick bullet points,” said Customer Experience Associate Doreen Bakula David at Fort Gordon, which recently led all Exchanges worldwide in approved applications three months running during a test program from September to November. “Some favorite points include the rewards program, first-day discount and interest-free $1,000 Military Clothing plan.”
The Fort Gordon Exchange team knows to be aware and respectful of shoppers’ time and let them know how quick it is to sign up.
“Ask every customer, every time if they’re paying with their MILITARY STAR card,” said Fort Gordon Exchange Customer Experience Associate Nauwatha Battle. “If they don’t have a card, tell them that it only takes two minutes to sign up.”
No matter how your interaction ends, making sure customers feel appreciated is likely to pay off down the road.
“Whether or not they apply, always thank them,” said Fort Gordon Exchange Customer Experience Associate Vanessa Jeanphilippe.
Edwards Stays Motivated
Edwards Air Force Base Exchange Supervisory Customer Experience Associate Tiffany Duque recommends associates find ways to motivate themselves beyond store contests or incentives.
“I set a daily goal for myself, and when I come into work, I have the mindset that I am going to accomplish that goal of getting two approved applications each day,” Duque said. “I keep that at the forefront throughout my shift.”
Italy Gets Personal
Associates who use the MILITARY STAR card themselves often make the best resources for answering questions and correcting misperceptions.
“I explain to the younger Airmen how I use it myself,” said Aviano Air Base Military Clothing Store Supervisor Salvatore Capaccio. “I explain the benefits and dispel the myths.”
New arrivals at Aviano benefit from Exchange associates’ knowledge.
“When I see customers looking for adapter plugs or asking questions about a product’s voltage, I know they’re new and I get with them to let them know about all the advantages of the MILITARY STAR card,” said Emmanuel Ashong, a hardlines associate at the USAG Vicenza main store. “When I see new customers, I have to tell them! There are so many benefits!”
MILITARY STAR Benefits Shoppers, the Exchange and the Community
Increasing MILITARY STAR usage saves money for shoppers and the Exchange, all while making military communities stronger.
For associates looking to increase their MILITARY STAR success, remember: practice makes perfect! Make use of ECP Resources and MILITARY STAR Best Practices for the latest scripts, tips and ideas from the field.
Great customer service is key. Shoppers who feel appreciated are more likely to trust associates’ recommendations.
“It helps to have a great attitude while interacting with shoppers,” said Joint Base Charleston Exchange Firearms Sales Associate Eric Jones. “I try to develop a helpful rapport. You want people to remember you and come back to you on return visits.”