FAQ-page design: Be savvy about self-service

FAQ-page design: Be savvy about self-service

June 23, 2017
FAQ-page design: Be savvy about self-service

Wonderful conversation makes the world go ‘round, and we’ve heard your support agents are pretty wonderful to talk to. But self-service is gaining steam—in fact, one Zendesk survey found that 67 percent of respondents actually prefer it, and 91 percent would use a knowledge center if it met their needs. At the heart of a sterling self-service offering? A killer FAQ page.

Customers who’d rather help themselves will greet a well-designed FAQ page as a useful tool—and a welcome relief. With fewer tickets for agents to address, it’s aso a boon for efficiency and costs. Plus, your freed-up agents can devote more time to strategy and longer-term projects. Best of all? Good FAQ page design is part of your toolbox for cultivating meaningful connections with your customers. Consider these points as you consider FAQ page design.

Identify the goals

Before you and your team go anywhere near the drawing board on an FAQ page, answer this crucial question: Why does your organization need one in the first place? If your website is confusing your customers and they simply can’t find critical information, then an FAQ page is just a Band-Aid, says Christopher Calabrese, senior UX designer at Cooper in New York City. In that case, examine the greater design issues first.

Companies that routinely address a flood of incoming questions, however, are prime candidates. If that’s you, identify your goals and prioritize: Would you like to reduce the number of support tickets that your staff addresses? What about fostering terrific relationships and interactions between customers and employees? Get consensus early on so that key stakeholders can execute.

Don’t forget the ‘who’ in FAQ

Creating a positive user experience is paramount. In the case of an FAQ page, don’t lose sight of the mission: A customer has a question, needs an answer. Simple and straightforward is the winning recipe.

How many questions do your customers frequently ask? Considering that is pivotal for two reasons. First, the questions on your FAQ page should be ones that actually come from your actual customers, not questions that the company has come up with. Ask for feedback from the rest of the company. Second, if you’ve got four or five FAQs, and that’s it, feel free to lay them all out, with answer expanded below question—then your customer doesn’t have to click around. “But if you have 50 and they’re in no particular order or alphabetized and they’re all expanded,” says Calabrese with a cringe in his voice, you’re forcing the customers you so dearly love to embark upon an endless scrolling expedition. Design for easy navigation—and consider a search tool.

Go lavish with media—video tutorials, gorgeous photographs. Whenever possible, avoid popups and the like. Anything that keeps a user from accomplishing the goal that they want to accomplish leads to an irritating experience, says Calabrese. “Being bombarded with these things is going to frustrate a user and eventually lead them to figure out a different way to reach their goal.”

Mobile, mobile, mobile

It’s mandatory: Your customers use mobile, and they expect consistent service from you, whether they’re on their home computer or their smartphone. With responsive mobile design, you make changes to the main site and it immediately reflects on mobile. It’s then easier to create and manage the mobile aspect of your digital offerings.

Having a good mobile strategy is important, says Calabrese, but don’t think of it as more important than or even separate from your main site: “Mobile design is just part of your website.”

How are you doing?

Great! You’ve designed the best FAQ page on planet Earth, and now you can move on to the next business goal. Kind of. You need to determine whether your FAQ page gets a gold medal or complimentary key fob for participation. On-site survey tools abound; use them to get feedback from your customers. Also monitor site data and solicit feedback from your staff—what are they hearing from customers?

All fired up about FAQ? Here are some examples of help centers and FAQ pages with the Zendesk seal of approval.

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