Wednesday, 24 October 2012

FAQ - Your friend and your foe

How many of you have a Frequently Asked Questions page on your site? If not, you should because it saves people from asking common questions to your support team which takes valuable time.
Now, how many of you who have a FAQ actually fill it with frequently asked questions and how many of you invented some random possible questions and don't really maintain it? This is bad. Why? Because nothing is worse than trawling a load of very specific (and almost certainly not frequently asked) questions to only have to contact support at the end and ask the question you could have asked 10 minutes ago. This damages your reputation but it also puts more burden on your staff and your hardware. In many cases, if I reach a FAQ that has more than a handful of questions, I will very likely email support anyway because is simply easier for me than trawling through pages of junk - many people will do likewise. The answer might be in there but I shouldn't have to expend masses of effort to find out. Doesn't bother me if a human has to answer it for me.
An example today, I went to Virgin Mobile and was looking for what I thought would be a FAQ, which was, "how do I get a micro SIM replacement for my new phone" since my current SIM is full-size. Seems likely to be a frequently asked question but couldn't find it. However, an example of a supposed FAQ that is on the site is, "What is Phone Fix?". Now I can't honestly imagine lots of people calling Virgin and asking, "What is Phone Fix?", it's clearly some kind of sales type tactic which is poor because about half of the supposed phone problem FAQ include the phrase "Phone Fix".
FAQ like all of your web site features should include all the love and care of any other feature that is heavily used. It should be managed, data should be fed back from call centres to produce actual FAQs and these can even feed into things like mailshots etc to ensure people are 'trained' so they don't need to ask these questions.
Anyway, back to work...
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