The Frequently Asked Questions page is arguably one of the most important sections on your site. It’s the difference between your customer being satisfied or annoyed, and really which would you rather have? I took a look at FAQ pages, some worked, some didn’t. Here’s what you can learn:
Bank of America: (BOA) sits in an industry where frequently asked questions occur every second, so it makes sense that it has such a robust page FAQ page. A big plus to the page is that it has a “Top 8 FAQs” list on the right of the page. This is great for speeding along the majority of the questions it handles.
A big minus is that the FAQ page redirects you to other FAQ pages that serve as dumping grounds for sputtered-out sentence fragments. We clearly know this page is not working as number eight on the BOA “Top 8 FAQs” is “What if I want to chat with Bank of America?”
A much better approach for a brand so large is to incorporate their answers into site content with tool tips and pop-up modal windows. BOA has many ways of contacting a representative, so why bury many of the answers throughout multiple locations when they can be listed on one page with a drive to contact?
Cal State LA: Cal State LA starts off by placing visitors them into appropriate categories (like applicants, those admitted etc.) However, unlike BOA, Cal State LA has a simple list of the most relevant questions. Otherwise, site visitors can just contact a representative. There’s no sifting through questions and answers that don’t commonly come up.
Accenture: Accenture has FAQ pages that visitors can reach only after they have been arrived at a section that pertains to their needs. There are four in total: 1, 2, 3, 4. Grouping it like this is an excellent way of keeping down the amount of information you need to present on the FAQ page. Additionally, each page has fewer than 20 questions answered and provides easy contact information.
eBay: eBay is a glorious example of taking things a step further for customer service when there are too many questions. Take note, eBay has a very simple FAQ page, which is built into an answer center, which has multiple other ways of delivering complex answer to its visitors. For example, their use of forums walking you through the resolution is a big help.
Zappos: Zappos customer service is just too darn good to begin with. Not surprisingly, Zappos has done an excellent job of helping visitors categorize themselves and finding a specific category of answers. Yes, it is a bit lengthy, but it does not send visitors on a wayward journey cross multiple sites much like BOA does, so Zappos gets a pass this time.
If your FAQ answers are turning into scenario answers that have multiple contexts and visitors that they apply to, you should consider building a case study to provide an example of how your service works. A full-page case study or video gives you a lot more freedom to answer the question appropriately.
All told, a complex answer in an FAQ is just taking up space on a page and aggravating your visitor before that person jumps on the phone to talk to a representative. It’s better to just make contact details easy to access. That’s the answer, right there. Do it frequently.
Frank Lockwood is Associate Creative Director of gyro, New York
Follow Frank @iwillbefrank