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How I Built A Service Credit System For My Membership Site

Inside the Academy (my membership site), I have optional services that members can purchase. That includes technical services as well as coaching calls.

For both, I take a flexible credit-based approach. Members can purchase one or more service credits. Those credits stay on their account. They can use those credits whenever they wish. And we now even have a debit log so they can see how those credits were spent.

I’ve had many people actually pay me to build a similar system on their membership site. But, in this post, I’m simply going to show you how it is done.

Truthfully, this isn’t complicated. It is all done using “out of the box” tools and some simple automations.

Below, I’m going to show you how my system is built. Keep in mind, you still need some level of understanding of marketing automation tools to implement it. If you would like my help building this in your business, you can look into having me just build it for you.

So, let’s dive in…

Tools I Use In This Setup

This system has evolved along with my membership site. When I first built it, I was using Thrivecart as my shopping cart (read my Thrivecart review here) and Drip as my CRM.

Now, I am using WooCommerce and FluentCRM.

So, in the most recent build of this system, the tools in use are:

I’ll show you how these tools are used below.

Now, to be clear, you don’t necessarily need to use these same tools. WP Fusion is quite important in this setup. But, you could just as easily use any CRM that enables rules and automations. You could use another shopping cart. And there are other ways to create custom fields.

Custom Fields For The Service Credit System

First up, I use Advanced Custom Fields to create the necessary custom fields.

Service Credit System Fields

I created a field group called “Member Service Credits”. In that field group, I created the following custom fields:

  • Credit Balance. Text field to hold their balance of service credits.
  • Credit History. A repeater field, within which I have a field for date, amount debited, and a description.

A repeater field is quite handy in that you can have rows of fields which… repeat. I use this to create a running log of debits from their account balance so they can see where credits were spent.

This field group is set up to show on the User screen and only for Administrators.

Inside the repeater field, I have 4 fields:

  • Date. Uses the date picker field type from ACF.
  • Type. Uses the button group field type so I can specify whether the credit was used for a call or tech service.
  • Debit. The amount of credits debited.
  • Service Description.
Service Credit System Repeater Fields

Now, when I enter one of the user profiles in WordPress, these fields look like this:

Service credit system - WordPress user profile screen

Using repeater fields for the debit logs just makes it simple. I probably could have gotten fancier with the tech setup of that, but since all I need is a simple display of debits on the front-end, a repeater field works just fine.

Syncing To My FluentCRM

To make these fields usable within emails to members as well as to trigger automations, I need to synchronize with my CRM.

This is where WP Fusion comes in. 🙂

I don’t need to sync the debit log to Drip. But, I do want to sync the balance. So, the first step is to create the necessary custom field in FluentCRM.

Service Credit System - FluentCRM Custom Field

I created a numeric custom field in FluentCRM. The reason I chose a numeric field is so that I could use FluentCRM’s built-in ability to increment or decrement the field when people purchase credits. I’ll show you that in a second. 🙂

Now, with that field created, you re-sync the fields with WP Fusion so it shows up inside of WordPress.

wp fusion sync fields

Then, go to the contact Fields screen and match up the credit balance field from Advanced Custom Fields to the field in the CRM. Like so…

Service Credit System - WPFusion Field Matching

Once that is saved, then there’s a full two-way integration between WordPress and FluentCRM for those fields. This means:

  • If I update the field from the WordPress user profile, it will update inside of FluentCRM. And…
  • If I update the field from in their FluentCRM profile, it will update in their WordPress user profile, too.

OK, next up…

Membership Site Planning Worksheet

Selling Credits And Updating Balances

I use WooCommerce for my shopping cart. I also currently sell credits either as a single credit, 3 credit package, or 5 credit package.

Now, one of the beauties of using FluentCRM is the built-in strong integration with other major tools on WordPress. And FluentCRM integrates with WooCommerce nicely as you can see.

FluentCRM and WooCommerce work together quite nicely.

In my case, I am using WP Fusion’s integration with WooCommerce rather than FluentCRM. There’s no particular reason for that as either method works. The idea is simply to add a tag to their profile when they purchase that product. Here’s how it is set using WP Fusion.

Adding a tag when they purchase service credits

I have a series of action tags I use to trigger automations. As you can see above, when somebody buys the 5-credit package, it will add the tag ACTION: Add 5 Credits.

Now if we pop over to FluentCRM and look at that automation which is triggered when that tag is added:

FluentCRM Automation For Adding Service Credits

The automation is triggered when that tag is added, then it performs the following steps:

  1. Adds 5 credits to their credit balance. (see below)
  2. Sends them an email letting them know the credits have been added and shows them their new balance.
  3. Waits 5 minutes. The reason for this is because I have another automation that will send them another email when the field is updated. I don’t want to trigger it twice or cause a loop. By waiting 5 minutes, it avoids that.
  4. Remove the action tag so it won’t clutter their profile.
  5. Be done with it. 🙂

The step for adding credits uses FluentCRM’s built-in ability to add or substract from a numeric field. Like so:

service credit system fluentcrm increment

You can replace a value, add to it, or subtract from it. In my case, I am adding 5 to whatever the existing credit balance is.

Keep in mind, WP Fusion automatically syncs this field back to WordPress. So, I only need to update it inside of FluentCRM and their user profile takes care of itself.

Enabling Members To Use Their Credits

OK, at this point, you have credit balances on member profiles and you have a way to sell those credits. Now, let’s look at the delivery side of things.

When a member is logged in and goes to the service screen, they will see their credit balance. And if that balance is positive, they’ll also see a form to submit a service request.

bma service screen balance

This page was built with Elementor. And I have used two different ways of showing conditional content on the screen. There is conditional content in use in several places to:

  • Show different messages depending on if their credit balance is zero or not.
  • Show the service request form (or not) depending on their balance.
  • Show different prices for credits depending on if they are a PRO member or not (since PRO members get an automatic 30% discount)

First, I did create a bit of custom code to enable my own shortcode. That shortcode is “servicecredits” and it’ purpose is to show or hide things based on their credit balance. You can see it in action here in the Elementor editor:

Custom shortcode to show or hide content in Elementor based on their credit balance

The code used to create this shortcode was dropped into functions.php of the theme. And, because I’m a giving dude, here’s the actual code:

function bma_servicecredits( $atts, $content = null, $tag = '' ) { global $current_user; $atts = array_change_key_case((array)$atts, CASE_LOWER); $wporg_atts = shortcode_atts([ 'status' => 0, ], $atts, $tag); $status = intval($wporg_atts['status']); // member has at least 1 call credit if (!intval(get_field( "credit_balance","user_".$current_user->ID )) and !$status) { $content = do_shortcode($content); return $content; } if (intval(get_field( "credit_balance","user_".$current_user->ID )) and $status) { $content = do_shortcode($content); return $content; } return false; }
add_shortcode('servicecredits', 'bma_servicecredits');

Now, Elementor is pretty extendible. As you can see in the image above, one way I have used this shortcode is to just surround content by that shortcode. So, will show stuff if they have a positive balance.

Elementor also has an add-on plugin called Dynamic Conditions. This plugin allows a number of options for showing or hiding Elementor content based on certain conditions. It also has the ability to tap into a shortcode, like so:

elementor dynamic conditions

So, using Dynamic Conditions, I can show/hide entire sections of the screen by tapping into my own shortcode.

Also cool is that Elementor andf WP Fusion work together beautifully. So, using a similar setup, you can see how I can show/hide entire elements fo the page based on FluentCRM tags:

elementor wpfusion settings

Using those options, I have set up the services screens to react according to whether the person is logged in or not… and whether they have a credit balance or not.

If they have a positive credit balance, then I show them the service request form which has been built with Fluent Forms. The form begins by asking them to choose between a strategy call or technical service.

If they choose a strategy call, the form will ask them what they’d like to discuss and then route them directly to my Calendly calendar to book. Calendly is embedded right into the site so they never leave.

If they choose technical service, it will ask them a few questions about what they want done and send that information to me.

There is no automatic deduction done from their balance. All credit debits are done manually as services are delivered.

Displaying A Debit Of Credit Debits

As discussed above, the other custom field used as part of the service credit system is the debit log. It is a repeater field that consists of 4 sub-fields. So, the other important matter is to SHOW that log on the front-end of the site so that members can see what their credits were used for.

Currently, the log is shown in two places:

  • On a dedicated service history screen accessible from the Services section.
  • From the member account screen, by setting up a new WooCommerce endpoint.
service credit system history

To display the log, I once again created a custom shortcode. And all that shortcode does is accesses the repeater field and then loops through each entry. The code below is pretty down-and-dirty ad creates the “credithistory” shortcode I can use where I want:

function bma_credithistory( $atts, $content = null ) { global $current_user; ob_start(); if( have_rows('credit_history', 'user_'.$current_user->ID) ): echo "<table> <tr> <th style='width:15%;'>DATE</th> <th style='width:15%;'>TYPE</th> <th>DEBIT</th> <th>SUMMARY</th> </tr>"; while ( have_rows('credit_history', 'user_'.$current_user->ID) ) : the_row(); ?> <tr> <td><?php the_sub_field('date'); ?></td> <td><?php the_sub_field('type'); ?></td> <td><?php the_sub_field('debit'); ?></td> <td><em><?php the_sub_field('service_description'); ?></em></td> </tr> <?php endwhile; echo "</table>"; else : echo "<h3><em>There are not yet any records in your service history.</em></h3>"; endif; $output = ob_get_contents(); ob_end_clean(); return $output;
add_shortcode('credithistory', 'bma_credithistory');

So, at this point, we’re able to sell credits via the shopping cart, add to their balances, and then display their balance to them on the site and give members the ability to submit requests.

Membership Site Planning Worksheet

Sending Customers Notice Of Updated Balances

As stated above, this system has no automatic credit debits. Instead of trying to automate debits, I decided to keep personal control of that. So, all credit debits are done manually via the member’s account. After we do a strategy session, for example, I go and take a credit off their balance and then add an entry to the log.

One thing I thought was important was that my system automatically email an update to the member when their credit balance has been updated.

When I was using Drip, I had a workflow set up to do that. When I switched over to FluentCRM, I had to re-design it. It is pretty simple, but it did involve a few lines of custom code.

First, here’s an automation I have set up in FluentCRM to send them an update:

The automation in FluentCRM to send them an update of their service credit balance

So, let’s walk through what this is doing…

  1. The automation is triggered when the Send Credit Balance Update tag is added to their profile. I had to use a tag trigger here because FluentCRM does not currently have a trigger based on a field being updated.
  2. We then do a conditional test to see if one of the 3 purchase tags are on their profile. Remember, those are added from WooCommerce when they purchase. And we wait 5 minutes to remove the purchase tag. This is why. 🙂 In this automation, if any of those purchase tags are present, we end the automation immediately since it would make no sense to send them a balance update email if we just sent them an acknowledgment of purchase via another automation.
  3. Wait another minute. Just for good measure. 😉
  4. Next, a new conditional to see if their credit balance is zero.
  5. If their balance is zero, send them an email letting them know they might want to buy some more credits.
  6. If their balance is not zero, send them a differently phrased email letting them know their current balance.
  7. End off by removing the Send Credit Balance Update tag. This way it can be triggered again later.

OK, the last little matter is to actually add the Send Credit Balance Update tag to their profile if the balance is updated. As I said, FluentCRM doesn’t have a trigger based on merely updating a field. Perhaps they’ll add it later. In the meantime, I can accomplish it using a bit of custom code:

function bma_trigger_credit_update( $meta_id, $object_id, $meta_key, $meta_value ) { if ($meta_key=="credit_balance") { $tagapplied = wp_fusion()->user->apply_tags( array(23), $object_id ); // 23 is ID of the "Send Credit Balance Update" tag in FluentCRM } else { return false; }
}; add_action( "updated_user_meta", 'bma_trigger_credit_update', 10, 4 ); 

This code was dropped into functions.php yet again. And it makes use of WP Fusion’s built-in PHP functions that allow you to take coded control of things such as their CRM tags. Quite handy. 🙂

So, this code will add tag #23 (which happens to be the ID of the Send Credit Balance Update tag. And I use the WordPress action hook of updated_user_meta to trigger that function. If the user meta field of “credit_balance” has been updated, it triggers my function.

That code will add the tag to their CRM profile. Which, in turn, triggers my automation.

Wrap It Up!

If you’re technically inclined and familiar with using automation tools, then you can see that this isn’t exactly a complicated setup.

It has evolved since I originally built it. It changed when I made some tool changes. I also use to have two different sets of credits (for difference services) but decided to simplify it into one.

A system like this could be extended and made more involved. For instance:

  • You could use code and/or automations to do automatic credit debits based on certain actions. Like I said, I decided not to so I had more control over it. But, it wouldn’t be too difficult to automate debits, too.
  • You could use a custom post type instead of the ACF repeater field for the debit log. This would give more fine-tuned control over the presentation of the log as well as make it easier to do automated log entries if you were to do automated debits.
  • You could gamify the system with GamiPress and, once they reach a certain number of points, you could automatically add a service credit to their account.
  • You could make special offers to bundle service credits into a sale. Technically, it would be as simple as incrementing the custom field when they purchase your special offer.

All in all, though, this is one of the things I love about WordPress and the ecosystem of tools available or it. You can expand the system to do whatever it is you want it to do.

Now, I think I have included enough information in this post where one could re-create this system for themselves if they have the right tools and adequate technical knowledge.

But, remember, I can help you build it. 🙂

If you would like my help implementing this in your business, you can pick up some technical service credits and we’ll get in there and build it for you.

If you’ve got the tools to enable it, I estimate it would take about 2-3 service credits to build it for you. Your best bet would be to pick up a 3-credit package to get it done.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to use the exact same tools I do. The methods will be mostly the same, but you can use other tools in most cases. If you’re wondering if the tools you’re using could be used, just get in touch and ask. I’ll help you figure it out. 🙂

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