Build Your Website’s FAQs to Respond Better to Customer Questions

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FAQ pageAre your sales and customer service personnel answering the same questions over and over? When prospects don’t convert, do you know why—and do you know how you could have changed their minds?

The surprising solution lies behind a funny acronym for content that you might think has to exist on your site but doesn’t get used. Yet your website’s FAQ—or Frequently Asked Questions—is actually a powerful and often underutilized tool that can make big differences in your conversion rate, customer satisfaction, and overall bottom line.

And yes, your site needs it. In fact, 90 percent of customers go to a website expecting that there will be some sort of self-service support area, such as an FAQ section.

A well-written, well-located, well-presented FAQ can boost conversion by addressing prospect concerns. It can also reduce customer service load by answering customer questions without a phone call, live chat, or support email. Even better, the content on your site FAQ can be used in other areas of your website, app, or even as the starting point for email templates.

What is an FAQ?

At its heart, a solid FAQ addresses:

  • Questions that are asked often
  • Concerns that may prevent a prospect from moving deeper into the sales process or converting into a customer
  • Post-sale needs, questions, and concerns from current customers

The trouble with most FAQs

FAQs don’t really get the love they deserve. This tireless, timeless content can work hard for your site, customer support, and sales staff—yet FAQ content is often considered humdrum and boring.

And that’s the problem. If you or the folks behind your website’s content think the FAQ is useless, that’s exactly what it’s going to be.

Are you looking at your FAQ like a business owner, or like your customer?

Transforming your understanding of your site FAQ takes a simple perspective shift. Instead of looking at your FAQ as someone behind the scenes, look at it the way your customers and target audience would:

  • What are the questions customers ask that your site’s product/service descriptions aren’t answering?
    • Hint: These probably also correlate with reasons why your conversion rate may be lower than you want it to be.
  • What do your sales team and customer support staff get asked about the most? Are you addressing these questions online? If you are, does that online content have similar tone and voice as your staff?
  • Where else in your sales and communications processes are you missing opportunities to educate customers/prospects, as well as address in advance questions or concerns they are likely to have?
  • Do you notice that customer often phrase their problems or questions in a particular way? Your FAQs should reflect how people are actually talking to you about what they’re looking for. They’re not simply an opportunity for marketing-speak.

By looking at FAQ content the way your customers and prospects would, it can become easier to see what topics the FAQ doesn’t address or where current content could be improved. Once you know what needs improving, though, how do you make your FAQ better, more useful, and more usable?

The keys to an effective FAQ

The three keys to good FAQ are:

  1. Solid writing
  2. Attractive presentation
  3. The right locations

5 tips for solid FAQ writing

Writing an FAQ doesn’t require Shakespeare-level scribe skills. Anyone can write a good FAQ page.

Here are 6 tips to keep in mind:

  1. Write as “I” statements. For example, instead of “where to find shipping details,” say “How will I know when my order ships?”
  2. Talk like your customers. Review customer feedback from emails, live chat transcripts, call logs, and so on. Work your customer’s own language into the FAQ.
  3. Avoid jargon. Be plainspoken and use simple language that’s clear and easy to understand. Never use an acronym without defining it.
  4. Keep answers short and succinct. The customer just wants their concern addressed, so make sure each response gets to the point. If more detail is required, link out to other pages on your site.
  5. Organize. Categorize your FAQ into distinct pages or sections according to topics, such as ordering, pricing, shipping, sizing, technical information, and so on.

Attractive presentation in 5 easy steps

We’ve all seen the laundry list FAQ page that reads like a bad technical manual, makes “War and Peace” seem like a brief pamphlet, and loads so slowly you might as well be browsing like it’s 1999. A well-written but poorly presented FAQ is useless because nobody is going to use it.

Here are 5 easy ways to enhance engagement with your online FAQ:

  1. No laundry lists. If you have extensive FAQ, don’t lump them all on one giant page. Instead, segment related FAQ on individual pages devoted to one topic. That keeps the overall page shorter, makes the FAQ more approachable and less intimidating, and helps steer people to the specific, relevant information they need.
  2. Minimize clutter. Don’t show every question and answer all at once. Today’s coding tools make it easy to have webpage content that collapses or expands according to what the customer selects.
  3. Add visuals. Support FAQ text with photos, videos, or other graphical elements.
  4. Incorporate search. If you have extensive FAQ, include FAQ-specific search capabilities so customers can search through FAQ without having to wade through irrelevant results.
  5. Group questions. List out common questions, and arrange other topics or questions around scenarios or concerns typical for that particular type of customer.

Location, location, location

Easily finding and accessing FAQ is more than just placing a link in your site’s footer or top navigation. Navigational links are a crucial component, but relevant FAQ can be used throughout your website, ordering process, and even customer-facing emails:

  • Product and service pages. In addition to spelling out features and benefits, your product and services pages are perfect for addressing specific concerns or questions. Those FAQs can also settle doubts, and convert a prospect into a buying customer.
  • Tiered service comparison pages. Do your services have different tiers? If you do, then odds are you also have a comparison page where you showcase how each tier is similar and different. Underneath that comparison table, add in some FAQ about pricing, guarantees, support, and other aspects of your service that set you apart.
  • Initial sales copy. Prospects don’t just want to be motivated and inspired to buy because of your copy. They want their fears and doubts laid to rest, too. Just as your sales copy may incorporate testimonials, strategically include select FAQ throughout your sales materials.
  • Help section. Your website’s help or support section is a natural home base for your FAQ. From the main help page, also include up to 10 of your most commonly needed FAQ, and link deeply to other parts of your FAQ.
  • Sales and customer service workflows. FAQ can work for you behind the scenes too. In addition to being visible to customers, add FAQ content to your CRM workflows, so the content is easily accessible by sales, support, and customer service personnel. This not only helps ensure consistent messaging, it also means more efficiency: The resources you invest in developing FAQ content can also do double-duty with staff.
  • Sales funnel and order confirmation emails. Before and after your customer places an order, those subsequent emails are the perfect places to deal with an order, shipping, or post-order support details. Displaying FAQ content in order confirmation emails not only shows that you care about the customer and are taking care of them after the sale, it also can cut down customer service calls.
  • Email list onboarding. If you are using an email automation sequence to onboard new subscribers, this is a great opportunity to demonstrate how service-minded your organization is. Repurpose FAQ content as needed to work as standalone email copy that’s part of your automated emails. Since these emails build customer trust and establish the foundation of your business relationship, FAQ content in email can go a long way in establishing that customer’s goodwill.
  • Abandoned cart emails. When a customer decides not to buy from you, don’t let that become a missed opportunity. Sent at designated time frames after the customer added items to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase, abandoned cart emails can be invaluable tools. Include order, delivery, and guarantee/warranty information from your FAQs in those abandoned cart emails. By answering questions and, settling doubts, you might even land the sale after all.

Use FAQs to learn the questions you aren’t answering

No matter how extensive your FAQs, odds are there will be questions that you haven’t addressed yet. Throughout your site, help section, order emails, support contacts, and yes, even your FAQ section, be sure to encourage customers to call, email, or live chat when they don’t find the answer to their questions.

Those touchpoints do more than address customer concerns in the moment. They also help identify questions or concerns you can address via new FAQ content or can show you ways you can improve how or where you present current content.

Regularly review and update your FAQs

Out-of-date or inaccurate information will only frustrate customers—and cost you sales.

Just like the rest of your site and offerings, FAQs should never be left to gather dust. As business needs dictate, set up a schedule to regularly review and updated FAQ content, such as once or twice a year. Make sure content is updated across all areas, including on your website, in email templates, in your CRM, and any other channels and services.

An FAQ: Always-on customer service and sales support

Far from being a weird acronym, your website’s FAQ page is a versatile, always-on sales support and customer service resource. Leverage it throughout your site and all customer-facing communications, and you can reduce your customer service workload, increase customer satisfaction, and have smoother pre-sale, ordering, and post-order experiences.

Posted in Customer Service

Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St. Clair is a business copywriter, author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series, and a craft beer writer specializing in Oregon. Learn more at anthonystclair.com.