Interior design is something that most people only know a little about. That’s the reason that they choose to work with professionals, after all, and it’s even more reason to make sure that you provide people with the information that they need to learn about design, your interior design firm, and other relevant topics.
This is where an FAQ page can come in very handy. Studies show that today, the FAQ page is the most-used self-service tool that businesses offer online. Consumers love FAQ pages, provided that they’re done well, of course. And, as many as 89% of your audience expects you to offer some type of self-service portal for their needs. An FAQ page is just going to be one aspect of that, but it’s a valuable aspect.
The Internet has given people the ability to have instant access to all kinds of information and businesses, including interior design firms. It has provided a place where people can connect and never have to wait for answers, products, services, or anything else that they need. As such, they expect the businesses that they work with to keep up.
You need to be available, with a robust omnichannel communication strategy that ensures that your brand looks approachable to people from any platform. You also want to be an authority within your industry, and part of that comes in knowing how to build a website that will live up to the expectations of your clients.
When you are creating your self-service portal, a solid FAQ resource with a strategy of its own needs to be on the list. Not only will this help your audience and improve your business image overall, but it will allow you to boost SEO rankings and even increase your marketing effectiveness. It’s as much about what you ask as it is how you present the information. Although there are several approaches that you can take, coming up with a strategy is always the first step in the right direction.
We’ll talk about that next, and then we’ll look at the 10 must-have FAQs for interior design firms who are trying to improve the self-serve resources on their website. But remember, this is just one aspect of your self-service portal, and you shouldn’t stop here.
Setting up an FAQ page starts with strategy and coming up with a structure. You will need to think about the goals of this page, as well as the types of topics you want to cover. Some interior design firms have great examples of FAQ pages already, so feel free to do some research and see what your competitors are doing.
Another important consideration is to phrase questions the way that your clients would ask them. This will not only make your clients feel heard and understood but will allow you to increase your SEO rankings by using keywords and phrases to generate better search results.
If you have a lot of topics to cover, you might even want to consider creating multiple FAQ pages so that people aren’t endlessly scrolling for answers. You want to keep things organized and easy to find. This could also mean using hyperlinks or dropdowns to make the page easier to follow.
You could also stick to a single page with questions organized by topic. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you pick a structure that keeps things simple. Otherwise, people are going to go somewhere else to find the information that they need.
The same goes for answering the questions. You don’t need to write a book here—just get to the point. Keep FAQs short and sweet, and if more information is needed, link out to other resources or pages on your website that people can refer to. Be transparent, concise, and direct. This is an FAQ page, not a sales pitch.
Speaking of the questions, let’s get to them.
People always want to know about the money. Of course, as you know, there’s no real way to estimate the cost of interior design services because there are so many variables involved. The best way to answer this question is to explain that, and then provide rates as you can, such as if you have hourly or project rates available. You can also use this space to explain to people that a lot of the cost depends on their choices, so working within a budget is possible and totally up to them.
For those who don’t know, it may be helpful to describe the process of being an interior designer and all that it entails. Sometimes, people don’t realize everything that a designer does. In other situations, people might not be sure if a designer only handles certain aspects of a project, or if specialty designers have different services. There’s a lot of room here for you to give an insightful, educational answer. Just make sure that you keep it concise, use links to offer further insight, and of course invite people to contact you, as well.
Notice that we don’t ask “if”, but “why”—it’s an important distinction. When you ask “why”, it eliminates the possibility for people to decide they don’t need interior design services. Then, you can give the assumption that they do need an interior designer and start listing the perks of working with one. You can even advise as to what your firm specifically has to offer, but make sure to focus on the big bullets of things designers do that the average homeowner might not be able to do on their own.
No two designers are the same. Your interior design firm will have its own selection of available services. Even if you do it all, don’t assume people know that. Use the FAQ to provide a concise list of your design services and then explain to people how they can contact you for special requests or other concerns they might have because you’ll take care of all of their needs. Link to your services page(s), too, so that people can get more information on their own time and find out exactly what your design firm can do.
In addition to people wanting to know costs, there will be those who want to know whether you can work with their specific budget. This can be a tricky question to answer because there are so many variables involved, but as long as you’re clear about what to expect and provide people with as much insight as possible, they’ll be appreciative of the answer. Even if you say that you aren’t sure until you see the project and start planning, at least they’ll know you are serious about making sure that you do things the right way.
This is another common question for interior designers. Clients aren’t sure whether they need to bring anything to their first meeting, and what to bring if so. Explain the initial consultation process and what is expected, as well as how it takes place. Some people do video meetings, for example, while others will meet in person to see the space being worked on. It’s all about what people are comfortable with and what works best for your firm. The point here is to advise people on what to expect at the first meeting and if they need to bring anything, such as design plans, items or furnishings they like, and so forth.
This is a big question that a lot of designers hate. Of course, you can’t put an arbitrary timeline on interior design projects. Some take days, others take months, and then some projects could take a year or more to complete, depending on how many phases of the process are involved and how detailed the designs are. However, people are going to ask how long you’ll need to do the job. Use this question to explain that each project has its own parameters that affect the timeline, but that you’ll be sure to create designs efficiently without compromising anything.
Some clients want to micromanage the design process. Others are just as happy to pass the buck and blindly sign invoices and contracts while the designer handles it all. Either way, they want to know what their options are or what is expected of them. Be sure to explain how you start with the design concept and brainstorming, and then move into the project. Along with it, advise as to what the client’s role is in every step. You could also welcome people to contact you about being more (or less) involved than you usually see if they have certain special needs or circumstances.
This is another place to explain to people that it’s totally up to them when they choose to work with your interior design firm.
Some designers will have minimum requirements or project sizes that they work with. This is generally done for a few different reasons. Primarily, it may not be cost-effective for a designer to invest their blood, sweat, and years of expertise into a small-budget design project with big expectations. On the other hand, it could be a location or distance-related issue because of the cost of travel involved in the project (which generally comes out of the designer’s pocket).
Regardless of whether you require this, you’ll want to explain that with this answer so that people know what to expect. If you do have a minimum requirement, just explain to people what the reasoning is. They’ll appreciate your honesty more than anything.
Although you already know that the answer to this question is “yes,” your audience may not. This also gives you the chance to explain what mark-up is and why you charge it, and to do so in a way that is positive, and that people understand. If you have any fees for premium services, additional design costs, or any other potential fees or costs to worry about, explain those here, too. It’s best if you don’t have any more fees than necessary, but as long as you’re transparent about what you require, people will be appreciative and still willing to spend the money.
At Smith.ai, we know that your interior design firm already has a full agenda with client projects and various things going on around the office. You may not have the time or resources to have someone standing by the phones, manning the website chat, and fielding all the other messages and needs that come your way. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Instead of hiring someone in-house to handle it all, or just doing it yourself and risking dropping the ball, you can hire the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai.
Our experienced agents will act as the face of your firm to provide 24/7 support and solutions for everything from phone calls to website chat, SMS message answering, and even lead intake, scheduling, and so much more. Plus, we’ll help you create the perfect strategy to manage it all, no matter what your needs might be. That way, you can focus on the design while we handle the details.
To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss how the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can provide communication solutions for your interior design firm 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also find us at email@example.com or (650) 727-6484.