When it comes to optimising customer service, particularly online, it’s important that customers can effectively self-serve. Being able to find answers to accurate, up-to-date results in a smooth and efficient way is reflected in customer satisfaction and the quality of a company’s customer service and knowledge management.
There are two key approaches that companies take to facilitate this. They include an FAQ page or a knowledge base.
But how do they differ?
Generally presented on a static web page, FAQs are simply a list of frequently asked questions and answers. They aim to cover and address customers’ routine questions online and effortlessly, but unfortunately often miss the mark. Due to the lack of knowledge analytics, the frequently asked questions and answers that are included on such a page are usually based off gut or opinion rather than data itself. Because there is no data stored regarding popularity of routine questions, many companies don’t truly know their FAQs and rely on guesswork. Consequently, the FAQ content is often lacking, limited or general, resulting in customers feeling frustrated – which in customer service is exactly what you want to avoid.
When it comes to the management of an FAQ page, editing, adding and updating can prove cumbersome. Built using basic code, even making one simple update to the content can involve a long chain of command. For instance, someone at head office notifies their team who must tell the web team or agency, who must then notify the developers to make a change. This inefficient way of information sharing means that mistakes are easily made or customers miss out on vital information due to FAQ page mechanics. This is only exacerbated in larger companies where small changes are not made ad-hoc, but instead they are collected and sent in bulk, denying customers of even more important information.
FAQs page do not utilise information architecture: the structural design of shared information for efficient user experience. Without the organisation, labelling, categorisation and lack of effective search systems, FAQs cannot deliver a positive customer experience. Instead, customers often find themselves going around in circles with no adequate results found and a limited access to content.
Furthermore, the content on FAQ pages generally address the basic queries of new customers, for example opening hours, delivery information, returns policies and so on. What they fail to cater to are the needs of your regular customers who will have more detailed routine queries. Questions that are product related, how-tos and purchase follow ups. Whilst customer acquisition is important, neglecting existing customers can prove detrimental to business. Consider the importance of customer value and loyalty and choose a knowledge tool that suits both new and existing customers’ needs.
While it’s easy to get FAQs and a knowledge bases mixed up, the two are intricately different from one another. One includes a simple overview of basic information, whilst the other is an effective means to streamlined self-service. Most importantly, an FAQ page cannot be a substitute for a knowledge base.
Implementing a knowledge base into your customer service ecosystem helps to promote efficiency, reduce overheads, boost CX and of course improve CSAT scores. If you would like to learn more about knowledge management tools such as knowledge bases, you can do so here.
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