Running a WordPress theme club can be quite lucrative. You are going to need attractive products and superior customer service to give your business a chance to succeed. Coming up with great theme ideas, writing great code, promoting your club, and managing your employees are not everything you need to worry about. Like all other businesses, you need to be prepared for disasters so you can handle them well. Your customers are going to expect timely communication from you as well. Here are 6 communication tips theme developers should keep in mind:
- have multiple channels open: not every customer will check your main blog to get the latest update. That’s why it is important to communicate with your customers through multiple channels. When things go wrong, you should let your customers know on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, and in your newsletter. Your customers are going to appreciate all the effort you put in to keep them to keep them up-to-date (especially during a crisis).
- keep communication channels separate but connected: I have seen many developers make the mistake of using the same Twitter account for support, sales, and other business processes. That is not the most effective way to communicate and stay in touch with your customers. Your support accounts should only handle tasks related to that part of your business whereas your news/update account should be used to give customers heads up on what’s next.
- Update users about changes: this is very important. If you are making important changes, you should let your customers know about them. Don’t keep the changes you make secret. I have seen some theme club businesses hide the security patches they apply. You may get away with that a few times but it will catch up with you. Hiding things won’t reflect well on your brand either. Not everyone may want to know what you have been doing. But many of your customers will. If you are planning to change things in a way that affects your customers, you should give them heads up ahead of time so they can keep up.
- Be honest about mistakes: everyone makes mistakes. Even the largest theme clubs have made security and other mistakes. Instead of getting defensive, you are going to have a better chance of keeping your customers happy by being honest with them and correcting what you have done wrong. If you acknowledge the mistakes you have made in a sincere fashion, most of your customers will understand (though it will depend on the magnitude of it).
- Listen & learn from customers: this is very important. Just because you have multiple channels of communication open, that does not mean you should do all the communicating. By listening to your customers’ suggestions and criticism, you are going to have an easier time handling crises better in the future.
- Be agile: when it comes to fixing things that are wrong with your business or products, you can’t just sleep on them. You need to act quickly. Are there any security issues in your code? You need to fix them quickly. Is something broken with your CSS file? You should fix it as fast as possible. Have you not sent your affiliates their payments on time? You should do that quickly and let them know where things went wrong. The faster you fix things, the better your team will look to your customers and partners.
Running a WordPress theme club is not as easy as some have made it look. It takes a lot of work. You are going to have financial, HR, and security challenges along the way. You not only have to learn how to deal with those issues but also find a way to keep your customers happy through it all. Now that’s a challenge.
Your turn: what advice do you have for WordPress entrepreneurs?