Managing customer relationships is one of the most important tasks for your store. Not only does your management of relationships affect customer lifetime value, but positive relationships build loyalty and and improve customer retention so you don’t lose customers to competitors.
Communication is one the keys to effectively managing your customer relationships. If your relationship with your customer ends when the checkout process does, you could potentially lose out on all of the revenue that customer could generate over the course of his or her lifetime. Not only does communication allow you the opportunity for up-sells or cross-sells, but it also lets you check in with customers to get a better sense of their needs or wants in order to improve your business.
(Just don’t get too specific in your cross-sells, as Target learned while marketing to expecting mothers – you may creep people out.)
Why get in touch with customers? Effective communication allows you to:
- Hear customer concerns directly so that you can assuage concerns or improve your business.
- Build trust with your customers to encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
- Provide a positive experience, which can lead to customer referrals.
- Offer up-sells or cross-sells.
- Keep customer satisfaction high by giving customers the opportunity to be heard.
How important is this concept? So important that your competitors could steal up to 56% of your customers by offering more communication channels and more effective connection opportunities (emphasis added):
According to a study by Harris Interactive, 56 per cent of participants would switch to another company if an alternative offered more options to connect with them. If you’re looking to increase customer loyalty and subsequently your CLV, manage and organise all available communication channels well.
– Strategies to Improve CLV from Client Heartbeat
Communication is also imperative when trying to increase the Lifetime Value of your customers. Since customer acquisition costs are usually high, increasing the average lifetime value of your customers is an easy, low-cost way to optimizing revenue since you maximize value of income streams that you already have.
So what kinds of tools can you use to ensure that your communication is second-to-none? There are several email marketing tools out there (and you should definitely be using them to sell!), but here are some other nifty plugins to help manage your customer relationships.
WP Sent Mail is a new plugin from CGD, Inc that creates a “sent mail folder” in your WordPress admin. A single site license for the plugin costs $19.99, and includes updates and support. This plugin allows you to see exactly what emails your website sends to your customers for reference in your customer service workflow, and will include emails such as purchase confirmations and order updates from your eCommerce or membership plugin.
You can configure how many emails WP Sent Mail keeps in the log, as well as filter out emails you don’t want or need to track. For example, you may want to omit emails sent to your admin users, so you could exclude those email addresses by entering something like this:
You can also view all sent emails in a list and search emails for any of the fields in the email meta data (i.e., user name, name, or email). You can also view the content of the email by hovering over a specific email and clicking “View”.
This lets you keep track of emails that have been sent to customers so that customer service reps can quickly search for and view emails for that customer. This cuts down on the back-and-forth needed for support or to answer questions, as your team knows exactly what’s been sent to each customer, and can view email content.
The feature list isn’t extensive yet since the plugin is at version 1.0, but the upcoming functionality additions to WP Sent Mail will help make it a nifty customer relationship management tool. First, a stats widget is coming that will show how many emails your website sends per day, week, month, and year. Second, the ability to resend emails to customers from the WP Sent Mail list is upcoming, which would be great for customers that need tracking information re-sent, or those who didn’t download digital purchases immediately and deleted the email (or forgot to check spam).
While WP Sent Mail isn’t made to be a complete email management system, it is a great starter tool for stores looking to manage their customer communication and to monitor emails sent from WordPress. You can purchase it from CGD, Inc:
Get WP Sent Mail
WP-CRM is a free plugin that expands on the default WordPress user functionalities by allowing you to organize your users using custom attributes, find them using filters, and keep track of correspondence. Any user roles added by other plugins are included in WP CRM, and you easily add new user data attributes (i.e. Company Name).
When the plugin is installed, it adds a new “CRM” menu that can optionally replace the “Users” menu.
Filtering is easy using the “All People” menu, and you can optionally “visualize” users based on roles or export users to CSV:
You can also manually edit user profiles to edit user roles and attributes. Users can have more than one type assigned, and you can add customized attributes under Settings > Data:
There are downsides to using WP CRM. For example, you can’t bulk-edit user profiles to assign attributes or types, which will be a time-suck while setting up the plugin and editing several user profiles. You can only filter based on “checkbox” or “dropdown” type-data, and cannot filter based on the date picker, which would be handy for viewing clients that need to be contacted on a date. However, it’s a very handy plugin that expands the “Users” menu, and gives your customer service team the information needed to manage your communication and relationships. WP CRM would be a great starting point for a customized CRM solution.
Get WP CRM
Want to customize the outbound emails automatically sent from WordPress? WP Better Emails can do that for you. WP Better Emails is another free plugin that wraps WordPress emails with a customizable HTML email template and allows you to set your own sender name and email address.
Looking for the perfect way to announce a sale or promotion to new customers? This plugin could let you include a banners or other promotional messages with any email that uses the
wp_mail() function. You can also brand your outgoing emails so that all communication reflects your site in the way that you choose. This could also be useful to include a customer service or help email for all WordPress email communications.
Get WP Better Emails
Want to read more about how communication helps improve customer lifetime value? Check these articles out:
- This article from Email Audience discusses how communication cycles can help improve lifetime value.
- Here are some strategies for improving lifetime value of customers from Art of the Start.
- Here’s another study on maximizing CLV that studies the effect of various communication methods.
Looking to take your email marketing to the next level? Try Jilt for free to send abandoned cart recovery emails, post-purchase follow-ups, and more!