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All The Latest Release News, Insider Insights, Guest Posts and more from the team here at WHMCS

WHMCS V5.3.11 Released


We are pleased to announce the release of WHMCS 5.3.11.

This update contains maintenance updates for the 5.3 series of WHMCS.

As usual, we are making available both an incremental upgrade version containing just the changed files for those upgrading from the latest previous version V5.3.10 and a full release which can be used to perform a new installation or upgrade an existing installation regardless of previous version.

Both of these are available to download from the downloads page below.


Please refer to the release notes for specific information regarding this release and details of any template changes that are required.


Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014







WHMCS Insights: Adding Custom Currency Flags

Our Modern and Slider order form templates in WHMCS version 5.x have a neat little system of flags which allow new signups to easily switch the order process into their local currency. We often receive support tickets asking how to add flags for a whole range of additional currencies, so thought I'd take some time to share how one would achieve that.


flags1.png

WHMCS has flags for the following currencies as standard; AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, INR, JPY, USD and ZAR. If any of these currencies are configured, a flag will appear on the shopping cart for new signups to select as shown above. In this example I will be adding Chinese Yuan (CNY) and modifying the Modern template, but you can also follow this same technique with the Slider template.

So to add flags for more currencies, first obtain or create a flag image measuring 16px by 11px and then upload it to the /images/flags directory.

Next we need to copy the order form template to give us one we can customise. So duplicate the /templates/orderforms/modern directory and name it whatever you like, for this example I will call it 'moderncustom'.

Open /templates/orderforms/moderncustom/products.tpl and look for line 26:
Code:
<a href="cart.php?gid={$gid}&currency={$curr.id}"> <img src="images/flags/{if $curr.code eq "AUD"}au {elseif $curr.code eq "CAD"}ca {elseif $curr.code eq "EUR"}eu {elseif $curr.code eq "GBP"}gb {elseif $curr.code eq "INR"}in {elseif $curr.code eq "JPY"}jp {elseif $curr.code eq "USD"}us {elseif $curr.code eq "ZAR"}za {else}na{/if}.png" border="0" alt="" /> {$curr.code}</a>

Replace it with:
Code:
<a href="cart.php?gid={$gid}&currency={$curr.id}"> <img src="images/flags/{if $curr.code eq "AUD"}au {elseif $curr.code eq "CAD"}ca {elseif $curr.code eq "EUR"}eu {elseif $curr.code eq "GBP"}gb {elseif $curr.code eq "INR"}in {elseif $curr.code eq "JPY"}jp {elseif $curr.code eq "USD"}us {elseif $curr.code eq "ZAR"}za {elseif $curr.code eq "CNY"}ch {else}na{/if}.png" border="0" alt="" /> {$curr.code}</a>

Where my flag image is called ch.png. I've highlighted the code added in the screenshot below. The end result is a block of code on line 26 which looks like:

flags2.png

Next open /templates/orderforms/moderncustom/viewcart.tpl and made the exact same modification to line 47 of this file too.

Now upload the two templates files we just edited. Login to your WHMCS admin area to select the moderncustom order form template from the Setup > General Settings > Ordering tab and you're done!

A flag image will now be displayed to visitors on the order form next to the CNY currency option. It would just be a case of adjusting the "CNY" variable and "ch" filename in order to add as many different flags as desired.

flags3.png


Posted by WHMCS John on Monday, December 15th, 2014







iWHMCS 2.0.6 Released


We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of an update for iWHMCS.


iwhmcs-newreleasebanner.png

This update includes a new pin lock feature allowing you to require a pin code to open and access the iWHMCS app on your iOS device. It also includes a number of maintenance and usability related improvements.

A full changelog is available @ http://changelog.whmcs.com/iWHMCS_V2.0

This update is available to download right now from the Apple App Store.

To find out more about WHMCS for iPhone & iPad, please visit www.iwhmcs.com


Posted by Matt on Saturday, December 13th, 2014







How To Make Your Customers Happier


by Cody McLain, founder of AptHost and PacificHost.

It seems hosting these days is becoming more competitive, and more difficult to acquire more customers. Shared Hosting is really one of those interesting products where it seems once a customer signs up, they could be with you forever. It's almost as if we're all playing a game of Hungry Hippos trying to gobble up as many prospects as possible.


emailmarketer_hippos.jpg

"Here we have a heard of hosts, waiting for the next customer."

So if we're all multi-colored hippos, what does that mean to the prospects we convert to customers? What value, if any do we associate with our customers once they signup?

When I was running PacificHost, I found myself just staring at the numbers and figuring out how to get more customers and grow, grow, grow!

It was only later on that I realized I really needed to spend more time giving a little bit of love to my customers. When you think about it, if you were a customer and you found the host of your dreams, would you ever move just because some other guy offers a cheaper price? Perhaps, but if your clients know what's good for them, they'll remain loyal to your company.

Once I understood this, I realized I needed to assign a higher value to how I viewed my customer base. It's one thing to simply keep track of the number of clients leaving every month (churn rates), but it is a completely separate thing to actually investigate why. While keeping your customers websites online is important, it's also the strength of that relationship between you and the customer that really seals the deal. So I had to ask myself, how I could do this? How could I increase my customer loyalty?

I figured I would first start by looking what how my current customers interact with me. It didn't take much effort to realize the majority of customers only contacted my staff when there was some sort of problem. "My site is down, your service sucks" seems to be something we all experience at one point or another. So why does it seem like we're all playing hot potatoes with our clients?

emailmarketer_steve.jpg

"No Steve, you're keeping that guy."

Each client is becoming more valuable than the last. If the majority of the interactions our customers have with our companies are negative, then that could affect everything from our reputation, to trust we have with each individual customer. It doesn't even have to be a website down, or a bad customer really. A customer who has an issue uploading a file via FTP creates a bad association between him and his immediate experience with your brand. Great support can't bridge the association a customer might create from experiencing multiple frustrations with your service. (Even if they're of the customers own ignorance, then you should not see it as a problem with the customer, but a UX issue that can be fixed for future customers.)

So, how can we solve this problem? Short from having a better service or a more streamlined customer experience, how do we create some positive exposure between our companies and our customers? Well what if I told you it was something that you could do with no added cost, very little effort and best of all will apply to future customers automatically?

It's called, the Email Marketer Tool.

This little feature was added back in version 5.0 of WHMCS. However in my experience the concept behind this tool and just how effective it can be was never fully explained. It was instrumental to the success of PacificHost in so many ways.

I think as hosting companies, we're often afraid to email our customer base. Perhaps we're afraid that they might be reminded that they're still customers of ours and decide to cancel with us. Rather, it's this inaction that helps strengthen the negative experiences our customers have, and this is the opposite of what we want!

Whereas instead of sending them emails only when their website goes down, we could send them emails about how our service is being upgraded, and how it makes their service better with us. Why not run a domain sale, or SSL sale and go crazy! Maybe even LOSE money on domains with no direct ROI.

Why do this?

It increases customer satisfaction (ie: Happiness). Our customers need positive reinforcement. That's really what the Email Marketer tool gives us. Think of it as a tool to help spread more joy and happiness to our customers. They then associate this with their provider and that strengthens the bond with the customer. With enough positive reinforcement we can perhaps override any negative experiences or frustrations our customers experience.

emailmarketer_people.jpg

"I think this guy has overdone himself with positive reinforcement"

If a typical customer has neutral feelings, or worse - angry feelings towards our brand, then we might be doing something wrong. That is one issue to address, but regardless many customers experience problems and frustrations at one point or another. Being able to overrule these with positive experiences will create more loyal customers.

So you might ask, how can I use this amazingly simple tool to make my customers happier?

It's quite easy really. Consider who your customers are, and ask what might they expect as a customer of yours, say a week, month or even a year down the road. Who is your average customer that signs up and what kind of positive reinforcement can you offer your customers?

Sending new customers a quick email a few days after they signed up, and ask them how they're doing can work wonders. With that in mind, don't be like everybody else and use a [email protected] and rather use a personal email, even if all it does is open a ticket. Customers will feel more connected with your brand if they feel like you're trying to reach out to them in a genuine way.

One could even go one step further and use a service like L-Mail offered by QIQ. It integrates with WHMCS and can send out personalized snail mail to your customers. This allows us to create even a deeper connection with our customers. How do you feel when you get a simple letter from a company you only deal with online?

Why not create a reward program for being a loyal customer? One not necessarily motivated by how much money we get from the customer, but by how long they're customers. By showing customer loyalty you're building a relationship with every single one of your customers without having to do much more then write an email and click a few buttons.

Apart from building relationships, what's another great way to use the Marketing Tool for?

Customer Surveys!

We all live by what I call the "reciprocity rule". This is where when we do something for somebody, we feel more compelled to give back and return the favor. This has been used to influence people for as long as humans have been around.

Most customers wont take surveys, and even then it can be hard to get anything useful out of them. If you're offering a free iPhone to your customers in exchange for taking the survey, how many of them are going to just click around to get through it as fast as possible and therefore mess up your data?

With every email you send to your customer, you can take that time to ask for their feedback, but only do so after you've given them something of value.

But how can I give value when I just offer hosting?

We all typically think of discounts and promotions. Ever get those customers that get mad when they find a sale or a coupon on an item that they paid full price for?

When it comes to existing customers we could offer discounts on domains, SSL certificates or even go a step further and reach out to our vendors. See if they can offer our customer base a discount off their service and offer it as part of their participation. In essence, the more we make our customers feel special, the better they're going to like us.

Maybe spend a few hours putting an e-book together on how your customers can do SEO for their own sites? Maybe create a screencast on how to optimize the configuration of WordPress? Or just offer customers a simple $2 account credit for taking a survey.

Surveys give us another way to look at our company from the customer's perspective. How did they signup, where did they signup, but more importantly - Why did they signup? Understanding this allows us to mold our brands in a way that will appeal to our customers we find our brand appealing to the most. This ultimately helps us dominate our market base and grow at a more effective rate.

I leave you here with an example of an email I created for my customers a while back. Over the next few months, our positive reviews increased, and the number of angry customers decreased, despite our uptime remaining consistent.

The world of hosting is one of the most densely competitive industries in the online world today. It is extremely important to differentiate from everybody else. With a realization that most customers don't want to move, if we can improve those positive experiences we can grow our companies more effectively and have a customer base filled with lovers, not haters.

pacifichost-celebrate-1year.jpg

About the Author
Cody McLain was the Founder of AptHost and PacificHost. After starting both companies from his basement, he went on to grow them into ventures generating close to $1m in annual revenue with customers in over 100 countries around the world. Today Cody consults Fortune 500 companies and has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur and other Major Publications. Visit www.BuildaHost.com to learn more from Cody on the ins and outs of building a successful hosting company.


Posted by Matt on Monday, December 8th, 2014







Visit us in Booth #1 at the cPanel Conference


cpanelconf2014.jpg

With under 2 weeks to go until the cPanel Conference: Hands On Houston 2014, we're busy preparing for our favorite conference of the year. And this time, we're doing it in style!

At Booth #1 (we thought we'd make it easy for you!), visitors will get the chance to get Hands-On with all of our newest developments. They will also get the opportunity to meet and chat with members of our development and support teams, take away some cool swag, and have a free beer on us, each afternoon from 2:30 to 4:30pm!

For the first time ever, we will be demonstrating our all-new cPanel and WHM automatic sign-in integration, which provides a simple and secure way to manage staff access to all your cPanel servers. Plus, the latest version of our Responsive Client Area Theme, designed to be mobile and tablet friendly, is also set to make its public debut in 6.0

So much more than a new theme, the new client area also puts more power in the hands of third party module developers than ever before. If you develop a module for WHMCS, we'd love to show you all its new capabilities. And since we're also looking for launch partners, be sure to speak to us about ways you can get involved!

cpanelconf2014promo.jpg

In addition, we'll be showcasing the new and improved Domain Lookup, a functionality that increases the opportunity for domain sales by providing your customers with intelligently populated suggestions when they search for domains. This is powered by our good friends eNom who will be in the neighboring booth.

That's not all. There'll also be a number of exciting and informative sessions hosted by members of the WHMCS team:

1: WHMCS: Then and Now, a Prolog for WHMCS v6
WHMCS and the hosting industry have seen many changes over the last few years. This talk will highlight some of WHMCS's experiences during that time, how they have affected the WHMCS v5 series, and what they mean for the v6 series and beyond.

2: Best Practices for Deploying WHMCS
WHMCS automates critical parts of your business, its important that you deploy and run it in a way that ensures your business will succeed. In this talk we will discuss best practices for deploying, customizing, and updating WHMCS for current installs and future proofing your installation for the upcoming update system. We will cover security best practices, hardening steps, deploying a staging installation, testing updates, understanding WHMCS's version numbers and change log, automated deployment, and high availability concerns.

3: Tailoring WHMCS to Fit Your Business Workshop
Every business is unique. In this workshop, we'll explain how you can tailor WHMCS to fit your specific business. We'll develop a custom module and demonstrate how to use action hooks inside the module to adjust the workflow of WHMCS in order to better suit your business needs. Then, you'll see how to extend the module with some of the new user interface extension options in our upcoming release. At the end of the workshop, a team of WHMCS developers will answer questions about how they would use hooks, modules, and theming to solve your real world problems.

Don't forget to stop by and hang out at Booth #1! We look forward to seeing you.


Posted by Matt on Friday, September 19th, 2014







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