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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Why you should bother with an FAQ page

Not all websites have a FAQ page, and not everyone things positively about FAQs, but I think they are worth adding to a business website.

What does a FAQ page do?

faq key on keyboard of laptop computer. 3d illustration.In very simple terms, it helps people find information about the business and/or products and services available.

Some of the information just doesn’t fit very well elsewhere on the site and others bit are important enough to justify repeating.

I know when I am looking for specific information, I often go to the FAQ page, and the lack of a FAQ can be really frustrating as it leaves you searching the entire site.

How does it help a business to have a FAQ?

Having a FAQ page

  • makes it easy and quick for customers to find information so they are more likely to buy
  • means people find answers themselves instead of getting twenty calls a day about basic information – this saves the business time
  • people are reassured that their question is answered and that the business is upfront about details
  • is a central location for various facts that just don’t fit anywhere else

Of course, the FAQ has to be worth visiting or it can undo all the benefits – but we’ll cover what’s in a good FAQ page another time!

 

*Image courtesy of  icreative3d at 123rf 

Answer customer questions

Even the negative ones.

If a customer has a question, they want you to answer it – and preferably as soon as possible so they can move on to the next step.

answering questions leads to customers

Answer potential customer questions to get more customers

Look at your website, brochures, social media profiles and other written messages – do you answer customer questions?

Smaller documents can only answer a few questions, obviously, but make them important questions (like how to contact you for further answers!)

Scary questions

Some businesses are scared of people asking a certain question – or act that way anyway.

Why not stand out by being the brave business? It is honest and gives customers fewer things to worry about because you have answered their questions.

And it gives you a chance to make things more positive, too.

So a dentist website can include “will it hurt? Well, yes it might but we’ll warn you and do whatever we can to minimise it.”

Here are some more industry specific examples…

  •  personal trainers: ‘do I really have to work out in between visits?’ ‘Only if you want the best results!”
  • accountants: ‘am I going to have to dig out all my old receipts?’ ‘I’m afraid so – the more receipts we get, the more we may be able to get back for you at tax time!’
  • editors: ‘will you really point out all my spelling mistakes?’ ‘Yes, that’s what you’re paying us for – but we promise not to make you feel bad about any of them!’
  • online shops: ‘do you charge postage and delivery?’ ‘Yes we do. We decided to charge official postage rates rather than increase the prices of everything to cover delivery.’

Do you answer any potentially negative questions in your materials? How have clients responded to those answers?

If you want some ideas on what questions customers may silently being asking – and how to answer them nicely – then contact me soon so we can help your customers find what they need.

How to get your customers to speak up

Here’s an interesting fact: Customers are much more likely to contact you when they don’t like your product than when they do. “Praise” emails are not that common nowadays.

And this has nothing to do with your product being of not such good quality. It’s just the way humans are set up. When we enjoy something, most of the time we like to enjoy it in silence. But when we don’t enjoy something, we want everyone to know.

So how to encourage your customers to speak up, and not only when they have a problem? Here are 5 tips you can use today.

1. Templates for testimonials

Testimonials are great for generating some proof that your products or services work, and that people enjoy using them.

However, most customers will find it hard to write a testimonial on their own. It always requires a while, and everyone wants their testimonial to sound smart, so they need to find a couple of minutes to craft a proper one.

You can make it a lot easier by creating a template and sending it to your customers. Start by writing your own testimonial, and then remove all the facts from it, leaving just the surrounding words, so everyone can fill it with whatever they want to say.

2. Feedback apps

website feedback icon

Sample icon requesting feedback

These are quite popular these days. Some sites have chosen to display a small icon on the left or right-hand side of their sites (see image – User Voice). The icon usually says something like “Send us your opinion,” or “Suggest a ______,” or whatever else feels suitable for the site.

This is run by an external app so you – the website owner – don’t have to focus on managing all the suggestions, you can simply use the provided interface and be done with it in no time.

3. Feedback section on your forum

If you have a forum that goes along with your site, consider creating a feedback section there.

Create some main threads asking some questions that seem the most important to you. Like for example: “What do you enjoy the most about our products?” Of course, I’m sure you can come up with something more creative.

People are really used to forums online, and they understand the way they work. That’s why your customers are very likely to take part in any discussion you start.

4. Email support reminders

Support via email is one of the most common ways of handling customer support. So here’s an idea. Whenever you solve a support ticket send another email asking your customer about their experience. Make the questions concrete, preferably in a form of a survey, so they can easily (and quickly) respond.

Plus, if you also include an open question, you might just be able to receive some great testimonials that way.

5. Incentives

Here’s the main question: Why would anyone even want to contact you? When customers don’t like something about your product they are contacting you to get the thing fixed. But when it’s already working, then there’s really no reason…

This is why you should consider offering some form of an incentive just for submitting some feedback (not just for positive feedback).

Things that work great are bonuses, discount codes, extra features for no charge, some additional content … it all depends on the kind of product or service you’re offering.

No matter which of these ideas you end up implementing you should remember that customer feedback is essential to every business’s development. How else would you be able to provide your customers with exactly what they want if you never asked?

 

Guest blogger details: Karol K. is a writer, and online businessman. You can connect with him at ThemeFuse.com where he publishes weekly articles – also a great place to go for top-notch WordPress themes.

Welcome tips

Catching up on some reading over the break, I came across Melissa’s post on using welcome kits to help get repeat customers. It is an interesting idea, and one used by membership places and some real estate agents.

Melissa gave a number of suggestions of things to potentially be included, one of which was a set of tips or an article to help customers maximise what you’ve sold (or at least told) them. I think it’s a great idea – you are providing a value beyond the expected as well as keeping your name & brand in front of them, and the cost is minimal. In fact, if you compare it with the cost of marketing and advertising for new customers, it is a real bargain!

Tomorrow, I’ll post some tips on making your tips valuable 🙂 But here are some ideas of tips you could produce:

  • tips on how to use a media release (this one I’ve been doing for years – first time clients I write media releases for get a sheet of related tips)
  • tips on how to clean your product, especially if you go beyond ‘clean with soapy water’ and explain how to deal with likely spills and stains
  • an article on search engine optimisation (SEO) with all web designs
  • tips on uses for business cards with a card or letterhead design or when helping them with a new phone number
  • a list of items that can be tax deductions for new bookkeeping or accounting clients
  • an article on how to hold a violin/saxophone/flute/etc with all new instrument purchases
  • a checklist of business set up tasks for clients you help with new accounts/website/insurance/logo design/etc
  • tips on energy saving with all new appliances and computers
  • a conversion chart when you sell cooking or craft items

What tips/articles do you give out to new clients – or what have I just inspired you to produce? 🙂

Use your words wisely!

Branding the little things

Building a brand is an important way to develop your business and attract customers, but I read a blog post recently that reminded me of branding even the small things to match your style guide.

Kylie posted that customising and branding your invoices is useful, and quite easy. Personally, I have always had my logo and other details in my invoices, but I hadn’t thought about changing the font. Many people would say that invoices are boring and nuisances rather than marketing tools – and that no one would ever notice what font the dollars are printed in – but it still part of being consistent and reinforcing the look of your business. It also shows an attention to detail for anyone who does notice the details of your invoice.

So, is your invoice branded? Does that include choice of font, wording style and colours/backgrounds?

Newsletter back issues

Offering an online newsletter is a great way of communicating and staying in touch with potential customers. Although some websites place their newsletter on the same page each time, most websites develop an archive of old newsletters – these previous editions are also called back issues.

What are the advantages of keeping back issues on your site?

  • the information is still available for people to read
  • the content is available for search engines so can help your site rankings
  • people unsure about subscribing to your newsletter can read a back issue or two and decide if it is what they are looking for
  • it develops trust – you aren’t hiding anything
  • it demonstrates your business has been operating for a while
  • it shows how often you send out newsletters – even if you say it is monthly, a visual reminder is useful

How do you present back issues?

It depends on what format your newsletters are in, but you can have an archive section which links to all newsletters or you may just link to a few recent editions on your ‘our newslettter’ page.

If you offer an archive, you may want to limit how far back you go with it, especially if you reuse a lot of information from older newsletters.

As long as the date of each newsletter is clear, it is ok to have newsletters public with expired competitions and special offers.

What not to do with back issues…

I recently came across a site with a free html newsletter that charged for back issues. I was recommended the newsletter, but was dubious about it’s quality based on what I saw on the website itself. For me to subscribe to the newsletter, or trust this person with my email address for that matter, I needed to see a back issue. However, I was not going to pay for one so I left the site without subscribing.

Even if you decide that charging for back issues is a good way to recoup some costs or make some extra income, I strongly suggest having one or two editions available for free to show people what they could get out of your newsletter. However, paying for something out of date that is generally given free will irritate most people and probably won’t bring in a lot of sales anyway.