As a small business owner, you probably wear a lot of hats. Sometimes you’re the CEO, other times you’re the CFO, and still other times you’re the Shipping Department Head or the Quality Control Manager. Some of this just can’t be helped, but if you find yourself spending a lot of time being the Email Response Team Leader (aka, The Only Person Who Answers Customer E-mails), then it might be possible to streamline that process a little bit and free up some valuable time in your work day.
This is where the FAQ Page comes in. FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions (and in fact, if your customers aren’t particularly web-savvy then you might want to spell it out that way rather than using the standard abbreviation), and it’s a page where you put answers to the questions your customers are most likely to ask. That way your customers will spend more time reading your web site to find the information they need and less time e-mailing you with their questions. They get the answers they’re looking for and you get more time to focus on your business: win, meet win.
Just to be clear: the FAQ page isn’t the right solution for every business. It’s not the Magic Cure for lost time, and it’s not guaranteed to help you OR your customers.
Could an FAQ page save you time and help your customers? Answer the following questions to find out:
- Do your customers regularly send you e-mails or convos through your web site or shop site to ask you questions about your products or your company?
- Do you frequently get asked the SAME question by several different customers?
- When your customers ask you questions, do you usually give them all the same basic answers?
If you answered NO for most of these questions, then chances are you don’t need an FAQ page. This is probably because your customers already get the information they need from your web site, or their questions are too specific and individual to be answered by a common response. If you answered YES, then keep reading…
Here are some tips to build an FAQ page that will serve your customers AND save you time, neatly arranged in the format of an FAQ page for your entertainment and education:
How do I find the questions I should include on my FAQ page?
Write down a list of the questions you get asked the most often via e-mail or customer convo. If you don’t KNOW which questions are the most frequent ones, try making a list of every question you receive for a period of one month. At the end of the month, you should see the questions that are asked most frequently. If there are a lot of questions, consider breaking down your FAQ page into categories.
What do I do with the questions once I have them?
Pair up those questions with a response. Keep it short and to the point, but make sure to include enough detail to fully answer the question. If a question has several parts, consider breaking them up in to separate questions instead of making one answer overly wordy.
How should I set up the FAQ page on my site?
When you type out your FAQ page, use bold or color differences between the question and the corresponding answer to make it easy for users to see where one question/answer set ends and another begins. As an example, we used bold pink text for questions and regular black text for answers.
How will my customers find my FAQ page?
Make it as user-friendly as possible. Link to your FAQ page on the main landing page of your site, or use the header or footer navigation if that’s how customers normally move from one page to another on your site. It’s not a bad idea to put the link to your FAQ page in more than one spot, either. After all, the FAQ page won’t do you any good if your customers can’t find it. Don’t have a stand-alone web site? Put your FAQs directly into your Etsy Shop Policy page or set it up as a stand-alone page on your blog.
How do I get my customers to use my FAQ page?
This may to take a little time, if your customers haven’t been accustomed to using an FAQ page for your business in the past. If a customer e-mails you with a question that’s already answered on your site, simply give them a quick response like this: “Thank you so much for your e-mail! If you look at our site’s FAQ page here (link them to it), you’ll find the answer to your question and several others. If your question isn’t fully answered in the FAQs, please feel free to e-mail us again and we’ll fill in all the details you need.” Keep this standardized e-mail in your documents so you can just copy/paste it any time you get an FAQ e-mail question.
What else do I need to do?
At the bottom of your FAQ page it might be a good idea to write something like “If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for here, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.” That way your customers know that you’re still available to assist them if their question is too specific to be an FAQ. And don’t forget – if you use Patterned for your custom orders, put a link to your Patterned information on your FAQ page so your customers will know where to find their custom order updates!
It will take a little time to set up an FAQ page, but in the long run that’s time you’ll save, not having to answer the same e-mail every week.