Do your customers ask many of the same questions? Do you and your staff spend time on the phone answering the same questions, over and over? Giving your customers access to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at your Web site can save time and money and increase customer satisfaction. FAQs can also lead to increased sales. After all, if a customer is confused or doesn’t have enough information to make a positive buy decision, they will say no. FAQs give them the answers they need.
FAQs may cover general information about your company, such as location, hours, contacts, etc. You may also have FAQs covering what customers need before a purchase, such as the features and benefits of each product, specifications, shipping options and costs, and other details customers need in order to make a decision. Other FAQs may assist customers after the sale. These topics might include troubleshooting common problems, maintenance, upgrades, available accessories and supplies, etc.
A good place to start when developing a FAQ is with the questions customers ask most often. Talk to your customer service and sales staff. Ask what questions they hear most often. And, what questions customers should ask, but often don’t. New users may not know what they don’t know, and may not ask about advanced features that could help them better use your product.
Once you have the questions, compose the answers. Each answer should be short and to the point. Next, group the questions and answers into categories. It is better to have several hyperlinked FAQs than one large one. Have a main FAQs page where you list each category and link to the FAQ. Include a brief description of the contents of each FAQ, such as: General FAQ: hours, locations, how to contact us.
Take a look at some of your favorite Web sites to see how they format FAQs. You can see a good example at http://www.google.com/help/faq.html. Each question is listed at the top of the page, with a hyperlink that takes you directly to the answer. The page also includes links to Google’s user support forum and to contact information for Google, in case you don’t find the answer you need. Note what you like best about the FAQs you encounter, and what you would do differently.
You can see the format I used for a FAQ about mystery shopping on my Web site at http://www.idealady.com/article/msfaq. A feature I added to make navigating the FAQ easier is a “Back to top of page” link after about every third question. Many users prefer to click on that link than to scroll through a few screens of text to get back to the top of the page.
Keep the page simple, without a lot of graphics that make the page load slowly. People want their answers quickly, and they won’t wait for a graphics-heavy or Flash page.
FAQs are an effective way to anticipate customer questions and provide the answers at the customer’s convenience, 24 hours a day.