FAQ pages are a key customer service tool to save time and build customer trust, while help centers go even more in-depth. Here’s how to optimize both.
The humble FAQ page — a home for your business’s frequently asked questions — has been around a long time. It’s not a new, flashy trend in customer support or marketing. It’s not the first thing people point to when outlining their customer support strategy, either.
But maybe it should be. Despite the lack of much (if any) cool factor, the FAQ page remains a highly strategic element for most businesses, including ecommerce businesses of all types.
FAQ pages provide a needed base of operations for your self-service customer support channel, plus it boosts SEO value and customer trust — if you do it right.
What is an FAQ page?
An FAQ page on your website answers your customers’ most frequently asked questions. The questions included on an FAQ page tend to be general, broad ones that apply to the widest segment of a business’s customer base: questions about operating hours, product availability, pricing, return policy, basic troubleshooting, etc.
FAQ pages are fairly low-tech, but they’re highly strategic, making up one leg of an omnichannel support strategy and acting as a key element of customer service automation.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may choose to include product-centric FAQ sections on individual product pages, or you may decide to build out a more in-depth knowledge base with Q and As that cover more specific topics. In any case, your primary FAQ page should answer questions succinctly and accurately, and focus on the most common queries your website visitors have.
Key benefits of an FAQ page
An FAQ page is an important part of a multichannel or omnichannel support strategy. Invesp finds that the customer retention rate is 56% higher for companies that engage customers well across multiple channels than it is for companies that don’t pursue omnichannel customer engagement (89% versus 33%).
But, other than customer retention in general, how does an FAQ page benefit your business? We’ve identified at least four ways, which we’ll explore in detail below.
Saves customers valuable time
Not every customer will think to visit your FAQ. But those who do will find answers to your most commonly asked questions in one easily searchable page. Even if a customer isn’t sure exactly what question to ask, a good FAQ will already cover whatever’s unclear.
Many customers prefer self-service for simple questions, and an FAQ page is a perfect location for this kind of content. Putting answers to the most common questions in one central location saves your customers time, which keeps them happier, more engaged, and more likely to stick with you.
Increases customer success teams’ availability
Additionally, FAQ pages free up time for customer success team members by answering your company’s most frequently asked questions in a self-service format. The truth is, you don’t need to pay customer support agents to tell people what your return policy is or how your shipping rates work — and your helpdesk agents don’t want to spend their days responding to the same basic customer questions over and over, either.
If even a fraction of your customers look at your FAQ first for common questions like these, you’ll greatly reduce the number of low-value customer success interactions. This improves your customer service response time and frees up agents to work on support tickets and client issues that drive more value.
Adds value to SEO efforts
FAQ pages also contribute value to your company’s SEO efforts. We’ll try not to get too technical here, but FAQ pages are a great place to include keywords relevant to your business. You’ll also link to numerous other pages from the FAQ page, and you’ll link to your own FAQ page from other places on your site. These internal links also carry SEO value.
Featured snippets are another SEO consideration. These are the boxes that pop up on search engine results and provide an answer to the query directly at the top of the page.
The best FAQ pages naturally incorporate commonly searched questions (beyond the basic “when are you open” stuff) in an attempt to capture these featured snippets. In the process, they launch those pages to the top of the results (even if they wouldn’t have ranked first otherwise).
Whether you’re after featured snippets or not, answering questions with valuable information is always a good SEO strategy. Google tends to reward well-written content that answers search intent, and clear answers on a FAQ are a great place to do exactly that.
Encourages trust with your customers
People can tend to be a bit distrustful, especially in the world of ecommerce. It doesn’t take very many instances of failed expectations for people to become a little jaded, whether it’s due to product quality, shipping experiences, or something else.
If you aren’t a well-known brand (and maybe even if you are), some users will be skeptical that you will deliver on your advertised promises. When users can’t easily find answers to basic questions about your products and services, it reinforces their skepticism.
Conversely, a good FAQ page goes a long way toward developing trust. It shows your customers that you care beyond the minimum required threshold, and that you aren’t afraid to go on the record about any company, product, or service details.
A step-by-step guide to creating an FAQ page
If you’re building your first FAQ page from scratch — or revamping an existing one — follow this step-by-step guide for optimal results.
1) Gather all the frequently asked questions in one place
The first step is compiling your most frequently asked questions into a single document. This might sound obvious, but far too many businesses skip this step and instead freewheel their way through writing an FAQ page, stream of consciousness style. The resulting list of questions isn’t organized or strategic.
Remember, the point isn’t just to have content — it’s to actually answer the most common questions your customers have and provide a positive user experience in the process.
If you’re using customer support software, you probably have access to information about what questions people are asking already. Start with that data if you have it.
2) Create concise answers to every question
A great FAQ page will provide concise, no-frills answers to specific questions. Keep it friendly, even fun — but keep it concise. If your FAQ page is starting to look more like Wikipedia than a clean, friendly web page, you might need to consider a different approach.
There’s a place for detailed, intricate questions and answers, but this isn’t it. Link out to landing pages or knowledge base articles instead of recreating those detailed answers within the FAQ.
3) Provide a navigation system to keep your page clean
Ideally, you’ll continue adding new questions to your FAQ over time. But as your FAQ page grows, the customer experience could suffer without a clear navigation system. Here are a few navigation ideas you might implement:
- Consider organizing your questions into topic areas with their own headers.
- Add a navigation bar at the top that jumps to topic headers on the page.
- Add a search function or search bar (don’t assume all users know how to ctrl + F / command + F their way through your page).
Some of these require a little elegance in terms of your FAQ page design, but your customers will appreciate this level of page enhancement.
4) Make the FAQ accessible
We mentioned keywords earlier when we talked about SEO, but they’re important for another reason: accessibility. Not every site visitor has the same ideas or needs, and many of them will search your site for a word or phrase to find the answer they need.
Think about the most common ways people might phrase their questions. Make sure to include keywords from those phrases in appropriate locations.
Here’s one accessibility example: FAQ pages with answer sections that collapse and expand may look great, but this setup can interfere with search accessibility. A recent Feefo survey finds that 53% of consumers rank not being able to find the answers to their questions as their top online shopping frustration, so choose your FAQ page layout wisely.
5) Make timely updates and refreshes when necessary
An FAQ page is only useful if its information is trustworthy, relevant, and up to date. As a part of your content strategy, make sure you schedule reviews and refreshes of your FAQ page so that it doesn’t fall out of date or become inaccurate.
6 top FAQ page examples
The ideas above sound great in theory, but what do they look like in real life?
Check out these six visual examples of companies doing FAQ pages right.
Twitter’s new user FAQ places all FAQs onto a running, searchable page. You’ll see plenty of internal links, and notice the navigation bar on the left. Clicking any of those lines will jump users to the relevant section of the FAQ.
On the business side, Twitter has other FAQs that are harder to navigate and much more detailed. But there, the company assumes the user has a higher level of tech familiarity and more detailed needs.
It’s hard to miss the gigantic search bar on McDonald’s primary FAQ page. Just in case you do miss it, they include a helpful (if gigantic) prompt telling you to search for a question.
It’s a good thing, too, because the results in their FAQ otherwise don’t seem very organized. The top three questions pictured above don’t seem connected to one another, nor do they seem likely to be the three most popular questions McDonald’s support receives.
Still, for its excellent search and filtering options, McDonald’s is doing good FAQ work.
Microsoft’s previous central FAQ page was centralized to the extreme, but the company has recently broken out FAQ pages for just about every service. Here’s the page for Microsoft 365, which uses a navigation bar at the top with numerous questions in each section.
The “top questions” section is a smart move, pulling out the most-asked questions from each category and placing them at the top of the page.
Unfortunately, the page isn’t fully searchable: Each answer is hidden from the main page search until you expand it all.
4) Nintendo Switch
The FAQ page for the Nintendo Switch does many things very well. All the questions are on one page, but Nintendo provides six image-prominent buttons that jump users to the relevant section on the page. The questions are listed clearly and organized logically, and some questions match search queries closely (“How long will my Nintendo Switch battery last?” and “Can I watch movies on Nintendo Switch?”).
One drawback is that, like Microsoft, Nintendo is using collapsed answers, meaning on-page answer text isn’t easily searchable. Worse, there’s no button to expand all answers at once.
Wikipedia’s main FAQ page is well built. It conforms to the overall site design (at first glance, it looks like any other wiki page), which is always a good choice. It’s fully searchable, both on-page and using browser search. You can quickly and easily see a list of the 11 questions on the page, and each question is linked to its answer lower down on the page. The answers themselves are succinct and chock full of internal links (as Wikipedia pages tend to be).
Wikipedia also has a FAQ index page, which lists out the 20+ different FAQs on the site. This page is well designed, too: While it doesn’t (and can’t) list out all the questions for every FAQ, it does include strategic keywords that can quickly guide the user to the right FAQ for any use case.
What the Zappos FAQ page lacks in attractiveness, it makes up for in utility. Every question is listed in the navigation section at the top, neatly organized into categories. Each one is linked, too. Scroll down, and you’ll see complete questions and answers (no collapsing here!).
You’ll also see a ton of keyword-rich answers and internal links to other Zappos web pages, increasing the SEO value of this FAQ page.
Expanding your FAQ page into a full knowledge base or help center
While an FAQ is a great starting point, a comprehensive knowledge base is much more effective in preventing unnecessary support questions. Knowledge bases do require more front-end work than basic FAQ pages, but their flexibility for breadth and depth make them a worthy investment.
Using support tools can simplify the process of establishing a knowledge base, also referred to as a “help center.” Gorgias’s help center solutions ease the burden on your customer support team by addressing repeat questions in greater detail than an FAQ or live chat. Our help center features like screenshots, videos, and GIFs give your customers more in-depth resources for learning about your products and services.
FAQ page vs. help center
The main difference between an FAQ page and a help center is that FAQ pages are simpler, more concise, and occupy a single page on your website. Help centers are more comprehensive, including multiple categories with several pages or articles in each one.
A help center can be as simple as having multiple FAQ pages by category, or it can be a robust resource for customers that includes tutorials with videos and images, articles for common questions, and even technical documentation. With Gorgias, you can also add order tracking and contact information to your help center, making it a one-stop shop for customer self-service that saves your team countless hours.
When to start building a more robust help center
There are several signals that indicate that your ecommerce store needs to expand beyond a simple FAQ page. You might need a more robust help center if:
- Your website analytics show heavy traffic to your FAQ page.
- You see fewer support tickets after launching your FAQ page, but still get several tickets asking repeat questions (that aren’t addressed on the FAQ page).
- You need categorization and organization as you build out your FAQ page to answer those repetitive questions.
Considerations for building a help center that’s actually helpful
Help centers are valuable resources for ecommerce customers and ecommerce support teams — but only if they’re done right. Keep some of the following tips in mind when planning your help center to ensure that it’s as helpful as possible.
- Use the right category headings and subheadings to help people find the information faster.
- Include a search bar to make it easier to find specific articles.
- Put your help center in a prominent place in your website’s navigation bar so it’s easy to find, and link to help center articles in relevant content you publish.
How Gorgias makes it easy to launch a full help center
Building a help center from scratch can seem intimidating, but with Gorgias, we manage the backend processes. No need to hire a coding expert — you can spend your time crafting effective answers with your internal expertise.
The Gorgias help center is clear and easy to navigate, so your customers can always find what they need. Because Gorgias’s help center is integrated with the rest of the customer service platform, it’s easy to incorporate help articles into customer communications. This is a seamless way to give customers more support resources, contributing to a better customer experience.
If you use our Automation add-on, you can include order tracking and issue reporting within the help center, as well as contact information if the content isn’t enough to answer their questions. Check out Branch’s help center to see this setup in action.
4 top help center examples
Take a look at how these four companies keep their help centers organized, easy to search, and comprehensive.
Brumate’s help center is an excellent example of an effective, well-organized customer resource. This Gorgias-run help center is divided into FAQ blocks under several categories: shipping, general, product, returns & exchanges, VIP program, and payment. Within each of these sections are several popular questions with highly detailed answers, many of which have several subheadings to make it easier for the user to find exactly the information they’re looking for.
The Dropbox Help Center straddles the line between FAQ page and knowledge base, but it does so very intelligently. You’ll find top articles with tons of internal linking, plus links to significant service areas.
But the best part by far is the search bar. It’s impressively responsive, proactively suggesting full article titles even as you begin typing a portion of a keyword.
3) Bank of America
Banking can get complex in a hurry, which is why Bank of America’s Help Center impresses. After choosing your state of residence (which customizes certain rate information), you’ll land on a rich page with six service areas, each with five or more sub-areas. You’ll also find trending topics across the top, a powerful search bar, and a button that breaks out several additional topics.
Branch’s help center is another prime example of a well-executed self-service strategy, including a search bar, order tracker, issue reporter, and a host of support articles under nine different categories. This is all possible because the help center brings in the full power of Gorgias’ self-service features.
And if the customer can’t find what they’re looking for within the articles, Branch provides contact information at the bottom of the main help center page with two simple options: chat or email.
Take your FAQ page to the next level with Gorgias
We’ve mentioned a few times already how powerful your FAQ page can be for your business, especially when you use it in tandem with other customer support tools and resources. If you’d like to create an FAQ page, check our our FAQ page template to get started.
Gorgias is the ecommerce helpdesk solution that powers exceptional omnichannel customer service. By integrating Gorgias into your FAQ page strategy, you can create a powerful customer service approach that delights your customers, boosts your SEO, and makes life easier for your customer support agents.
Ready to see what Gorgias can do for you? Sign up for free today.