Just the FAQs

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BY JULIE A. PALM

What are the most effective ways to answer consumers’ common questions? Consider these 6 suggestions

Consumers have so many questions: Do you offer financing? Can you deliver to my house, even if I live in another city? What if I don’t like the mattress when I get it home?

The challenge for retailers is responding to consumers’ most common queries in a format that saves them from searching all over your website for answers. One way to do this is through a Frequently Asked Questions section.

“When used right, your FAQ page can benefit customers at different parts of the purchasing journey — whether they’re in the consideration phase looking to understand how you source your product or an existing customer troubleshooting a problem with their order,” writes Braveen Kumar in an August 2016 blog for Shopify, a provider of e-commerce platforms and services based in Ottawa, Canada.

To create or update your FAQ section, start by tracking the queries you get in-store, via email, by phone and through social media. “You should also anticipate objections that you can turn into questions, especially if the answer will put your customer’s mind at ease,” Kumar says.

Other tips:

  1. Remember the “F” in FAQ stands for “frequently.” If you try to answer every possible question a consumer might have, your FAQ will be encyclopedic and unwieldy.
  2. Don’t bury the FAQ link in your website’s footer, although it can appear there, too. It’s better to incorporate it into your Customer Service or Contact Us page.
  3. Organize your FAQ section by topic (delivery, warranties, etc.) so consumers can quickly scan to find answers. If you link each answer to a separate web page, you’ll create a search-friendly FAQ section. “Even if your audience isn’t searching for topics related to your brand, they might be searching for answers to questions related to your industry via Google, which can help you get found if you create content or landing pages that are optimized for these specific search queries,” Kumar says.
  4. Write clear, concise answers using authoritative language. Avoid legalese. “Even if the question is about a potential shortcoming in your product or business, try to frame the answer in a positive way,” Kumar suggests. He also recommends phrasing questions from the customer’s perspective (“How do I…?”) and writing answers from your company’s perspective (“We promise…”).
  5. Give consumers other ways to get answers. Put a link to your store’s email address and list phone numbers to call. You also can use a visit to your FAQ section to trigger a customer service representative (or chatbot) to check in via chat.
  6. When you can, end answers with a call to action that links to other pages on your website. “Consider what the next step would be for someone interested in a specific question and try to incorporate a link to the relevant page or piece of content that moves them forward on their journey as a customer,” Kumar says.

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