One of the best known pains of using online forms to receive web enquiries is that you can never be sure if you received the email notification for every single form submission. It is possible that the 1 you never got could be worth a lot of money to your business.
Annoyingly, almost none of the WordPress webform plugins solve this problem out-of-the-box. Most of the popular plugins out there (eg. Contact Form 7, WPforms and Gravity Forms – paid) have add-ons to solve the immediate challenge of having the enquiry details stored on the WordPress backend which is ok but most just push the data there and displays it in a clumsy way and very few allow you to actually edit the records once it’s in which makes it unworkable from a CRM perspective.
A classic example of this type of data storage plugin is Flamingo:
Flamingo is a very well known free Contact Form 7 plugin that does just that. It’s very robust and simple to use but it’s equally extremely limited. This is how the data looks once captured:
Ok. With Flamingo’s help, we’re now able to store the information from Contact Form 7 into the backend. Let’s see what else we can do:
Like we said earlier, one of the amazing things about Contact Form 7 is that it has a huge amount of free add-on out there. If it’s relevant to your business you can extend its functionality for example to allow multiple file attachments to be uploaded onto the form by using this plugin:
This multifile plugin also plays well with most Flamingo style plugins which means it stores the attachments on the WordPress media library and records the url to the saved files on the form submission emails confirmation and also on the data storage plugin used (eg. Flamingo). A zip file will be uploaded which include the multiple files submitted.
You probably don’t need this but we’ll show you anyways just for the cool factor:
Adding digital signatures from your customers is just a plugin away:
In our tests it worked quite well. You can use this in a number of ways but the reason why we’re showing you this feature in this article is because once the user signs the form the image of their signature is also stored in your WordPress library and the link to the image is saved on the database plugin.
Moving on to address the main point around us being able to edit the records once they’re saved; After testing all the free options out there we came across this amazing plugin:
This plugin is basically Flamingo on steroids. In addition to what Flamingo already does, here are the main features (all included on the free version):
- Editable fields
- Edit column titles
- Filter all data by individual form name
- Import and export data via CSV
- Keyword search
- Sort or hide columns
- Multisite compatible
- Translated to English (UK/US) + spanish
This is how it looks on the backend:
On your WordPress dashboard you can now view and edit every field submitted via Contact Form 7. The records are also fully searchable.
The first hack you can do if you want to add an existing list of records to the database is to either to use the import feature which allows you to map the fields from a CSV file or to enter new contacts individually simply by filling in one of your forms on the site just as a customer would.
Another easy hack you can do is to add hidden fields onto the website forms so that your customers won’t see them on the form itself but they’ll appear empty on the captured fields list – you can then use these to add internal comments to each record that are only visible to your team.
In addition to the above, this plugin also offers you shortcodes so that the data collected can be displayed on the frontend – what this means is that if you run a membership style website, if you’re using the site as an intranet or any type of public user generated list you can leverage this awesome functionality.
That’s it. You now have a basic CRM in place on your WordPress site. We hope you make full use of it.
You may also want to read about how to enhance this functionality even further by integrating Google Sheets.