Most small and medium businesses lack the resources to provide top-quality 24/7 customer support in multiple languages to match the high standards set by major corporations. However, their clients are accustomed to these conveniences and expect prompt responses to their queries. One simple way a small business can achieve this is through an effective FAQ page.
If you are used to quality grammar checker software available to you at all times, chances are you would not want to wait for an opening in a busy schedule of an expert proofreader. This creates a major problem since the lack of reaction frequently closes a customer’s ‘window of interest’ occurring during the ‘information search’ phase of consumer decision-making processes.
While advanced technologies such as AI-powered chatbots are still in their infancy stage and may not be affordable to all firms, there exists a powerful and time-tested instrument allowing you to answer 90% of popular customer questions without the direct involvement of your customer support specialists.
In this article, we will analyse the 7 best practices for developing effective FAQs for your website.
1. Analyse Real Questions
Start with the analysis of your customer service employees’ experiences. You need to know the real questions asked by prospective and existing customers within the previous three months. While this work may seem more tedious than simply copying ‘a list of top 50 FAQ questions’ from somewhere on the Web, this allows you to really address your consumer queries.
Keep in mind that your brand should strive to be unique, which makes your customer needs and problems unique too. This means that no existing ready-made FAQ will help you sell your products and services unless you really put your effort into its adjustment to your business.
2. Borrow Ideas
After you have identified the brand-specific queries your customers may pose, it is time to copy some of the best practices in your field. The main idea here is to learn from the greats. For example, if you are a small brand selling shoes, you may investigate the FAQ of Zappos or another industry leader in your sphere. This will show you the areas you have missed or give you some inspiration in relation to structuring your FAQ.
3. Structure Your Questions
There are few things as detrimental to your FAQ effectiveness as a long list of individual questions put on the same page without any structural divisions. While some website developers are used to desktop computers with easy searching tools, most customers will be browsing your website from a mobile device with a small screen. Make sure that they can instantly find the right sections such as Delivery Terms or Returns Policies.
4. Include Marketing Clarifications
While some marketers think that such ‘basic’ sections are all that they need, they miss a very important idea emphasised by the aforementioned consumer decision-making model.
Your customers are not:
- professionals in your sphere.
- motivated to instantly purchase your product/service.
This means that your FAQ should also have an informational purpose and enlighten them on the following topics:
- What quality characteristics define ‘a good product/service’ in your industry?
- Why your product/service is superior to competitor offerings?
- How buying from you will benefit your prospective customers?
Educating your clients about the inner workings of your sphere means that they will be able to better recognise the unique value of your products and services. This free education helps them understand their specific needs and avoid wrong purchases even if they choose another brand.
5. Create Value
The previous recommendation was closely related to the concept of ‘creating value’. Your customers need to get some practical benefits from reading your FAQ in order to develop a genuine affection for your brand or recommend it to their social contacts. Shipping costs or returns policies descriptions rarely create this form of gratitude. You really need to consider your FAQ an instrument of improving your online presence.
Continuing the example of a small shoe brand, you may explain how your customers should measure their feet to find their optimal shoe size. These small details and ‘free education’ work even in cases when your visitors choose to purchase items from other brands. Their trust will force them to recommend your company to their social contacts or repost your FAQ to various forums and social media groups, which will increase your brand reach and help you become more profitable in the future.
6. Provide All Answers Within The Same Window
No one likes long text segments. They do not match the reduced ‘attention span’ of younger customers and look extremely clumsy and frustrating. However, this does not mean that you should make the terrible mistake of adding external links to some questions or sections of your FAQ. Modern consumers do not want the ‘traditional website experience’ of opening 10 tabs on their browsers to look through the information on a website.
Your FAQ probably contains multiple information items they expect to browse consequentially. Make a list of questions at the beginning of the page, subdivide them into clearly named sections, and add internal links bringing them to specific parts of the main text below this reference list. Also, add some form of a ‘home’ button to instantly return your visitors to the top of the page from any part of the FAQ text.
7. Use SEO Principles
You should treat your FAQ page like one of the ‘selling’ elements of your website rather than an obligation or a way to address your customer support limitations. Keep in mind that it gets indexed by search engines in the same way as other materials. The earlier suggested value-creation activities should gradually increase its ranking as a trustworthy and reliable source of quality content.
If you optimise this page for the right keywords, this will guide many prospective customers looking for answers to specific questions in this FAQ. This knowledge helps your visitors find solutions to their problems with many of them recognising your products and services as a potential cure. If you play your cards right, this will transform your FAQ page into a conversion magnet over time.