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50 Percent Of Vets Will Shop Elsewhere If Denied A Military Discount

With Veterans Day next month, Americans will once more have the opportunity to reflect upon the sacrifices and triumphs of our nation’s veterans and the current crop of men and women in uniform. Many businesses express their gratitude by publicly thanking veterans and some go above and beyond by offering veterans military discounts or other benefits. While veterans are extremely appreciative for these displays of generosity, there remains significant confusion within the business community regarding which group of veterans are eligible for discounts. “Many businesses that we work with are unfamiliar with the military. They tend to compare it to the civilian world where one is either an employee or a former employee. With benefits of service accruing to the former and not the latter. Unfortunately, the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration don’t have that view when it comes to the classification of military personnel,” says Terrence Thomas, CEO of the Military and Veterans Discount Center. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding impacts veterans the most. According to Thomas, “[m]ost businesses we come across did not know that, despite honorably serving their country, discharged veterans do not receive any identification from the Veterans Administration. As a result, they are too often denied sales promotions that most businesses would like to offer those that have sacrificed for our country.”

Further, even where businesses understand the different classifications of military service and have decided to acknowledge veterans with a discount or other promotion, too often the employees administering the program deny the veteran because they have not been informed of its existence or who is eligible. So, despite the best intentions, the veteran is left embarrassed, spurned and a little lighter in the wallet.

More Confusion

With New York becoming the 26th state to offer a veteran designation on the state’s driver’s license, the confusion continues to compound. Businesses are confused about which ID to accept and most are not even aware of their own state’s identification programs. In light of this confusion, MVDC surveyed its users with the question “How would you react when denied a military or veteran discount?”

The results are as follows:
48% would have no reaction as this group believes that discounts are not an entitlement
38% would graciously decline to patronize the business
13% would be outraged. Especially if the business conducts patriotic marketing.

Implications for businesses

MVDC believes that businesses that want to display acts of generosity for veterans during Veterans Day or any other holiday should do the following:

*Learn about different veteran classifications for identification including state and county ID programs. Many states and counties provide identification for veterans and businesses should familiarize themselves with these policies to avoid confusion amongst their employees.

*Managers and owners should train their staff on discount policies and franchisors/corporate offices should also train their franchisees on military and veteran discount policies. “A common complaint we receive is when one franchisee proclaims a discount for veterans or military personnel while another does not. The majority of veteran customers assume that a franchisees discount policy is a corporate policy,” according to Thomas.

*Leverage social media and military discount aggregators to promote discount policy consistency. Sites like Military.com, MilitaryandVeteransDiscounts.com, (MVDC) and Gift Card Granny all reach a wide audience and standardized discount information will mitigate misinformation regarding discounts.