With an increasing number of consumers preferring self-service options over traditional customer support channels, having a solid, smartly structured and well designed FAQ page has become a must-have element of almost any business website. According to Forrester’s research, FAQs are the most frequently used self-service options available today.
When used strategically, a FAQ page can truly add value to consumers and benefit businesses in many different ways. It’s not only one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to reduce burden on support teams by handling those repetitive questions about your products or services that otherwise might go to your customer support agents, taking up their time unnecessarily. FAQs can also improve your site navigation, overall SEO and enhance customer experience.
What is FAQ?
FAQ (stands for Frequently Asked Questions) is a section of a company’s website dedicated to answering customers’ most common questions and concerns. FAQ pages aim to make finding answers easy for customers, ideally without any need for outside assistance from a company’s representative. For e-commerce businesses, FAQs mostly cover company’s rules and policies about order changes, payments, shipping, returns and refunds. For SaaS businesses, FAQs mainly serve to guide customers on installing, using the product and troubleshooting common issues.
The Difference Between FAQs and Knowledge Base
Basically, FAQs differ from knowledgebase articles in size, content and approach. FAQs are presented in a question and answer format and are intended to be short, direct and straight to the point. They typically answer questions in a couple of sentences or paragraphs, while knowledgebase consists of instruction-type articles giving users more detailed and in-depth information on using company’s products or services.
How to Design an Effective FAQ Page in 7 Steps
Writing a FAQ page involves more than just answering common questions – it’s an opportunity to build relationships with current and potential customers and ensure better customer satisfaction. When designing a FAQ page, keep the following tips, strategies and best practices in mind:
1. Identify relevant questions
The key to building an effective FAQ page is finding and answering real questions that your customers have – and they can actually be different than the ones that you would expect. Those can be found from a variety of sources such as your site-search data, emails, support tickets, your website’s feedback form, customer surveys, comments on your social media pages, product reviews for your items, your competitors’ FAQ pages. Inventing questions for the sake of answering them might only create customer frustration – make sure they are relevant to your target audience and match real concerns your customers and prospects have.
2. Build a well-organized structure
If there are only a few questions to answer, put them in a single list. For longer lists of questions, it makes sense to break them down into common categories to provide a better user experience and ensure that visitors are able to easily navigate the page and find what they are looking for. The questions can be grouped under such categories as ‘General Information‘, Using the Product’, ‘Account Management’, ‘Troubleshooting’, ‘Security’, ‘Billing’ etc. It’s recommended to order questions within each category from the most to the least frequent.
3. Watch out the framing of your questions
Write questions from a customer's perspective, i.e. in the first person. Consider the following questions: ‘How can I integrate your product with my CRM system?’ and ‘How does your product integrate with a CRM system?’ Though both ask the same, the first option is more customer-centered as it matches with how a user actually thinks, while the second one is more business-centered. Therefore, when framing questions, use formats like: ‘What are my …’, ‘How do I …’, ‘Can I …’ etc.
4. Be short, clear and concise
When writing FAQs make sure the questions are clearly and simply worded, and the answers are focused solely on giving the information required. Avoid providing any extra or unnecessary details that might distract a reader’s attention. The lengthier the content, the harder it is to keep the users interested in reading it. If a question requires a long answer, consider covering only the basics and then linking it further to your knowledgebase article or a blog post that provides more detailed information on the issue.
5. Ensure easy readability
Since FAQ pages are generally text-based, easy readability is important. Whatever the audience, write in a language they understand, refraining from jargon, acronyms and complicated technical terms your users may not be familiar with. Avoid using any unnecessary design elements that can draw readers away from your page’s content. Stick with a simple layout, an easy-to-read typeface and appropriate contrast. To ensure better readability you can also distinguish questions from answers by color, size or style.
6. Provide visual elements
Many consumers prefer a FAQ page that presents answers visually. Adding visuals that supplement your answers is a great way to make your FAQ page look more appealing, unique and valuable. Those could include screenshots of a user interface demonstrating certain processes on your website (such as resetting passwords, changing account information, cancelling orders, making returns etc.), flowcharts or how-to videos guiding customers through common tasks. Make sure any visual element that you add is aimed at making your answer more accurate and easily understandable for the readers.
7. Keep the content up to date
A static FAQ page can quickly become out of date – it should be regularly revised and updated to ensure the content stays consistently relevant and helpful to customers and prospects. As your business is facing changes, and whenever new customer concerns come up and new questions arise - FAQ pages should be reviewed and adjusted accordingly to reflect those changes and to ensure that all the answers are accurate, and the questions remain relevant. It is also advisable to evaluate the answers occasionally and rewrite them to be clearer if needed. If you keep getting the same question addressed on your FAQ page over and over again – it’s a sign that the answer isn’t making sense to your audience and needs to be rewritten.