If you’re like most businesses, you’ve already got a page on your website dedicated to FAQs and providing answers for the people who come in search of your services. If you don’t, now is the time to get on board. Otherwise, it might just be a good idea to consider a few updates. Either way, you’ve got to take advantage of this tool. After all, as you’ll see below, it’s becoming an invaluable asset to your firm, whether you realize it or not.
FAQs give people three things that they so dearly covet:
When you are strategizing your FAQs, self-service and reducing redundancies should be your first two priorities. Make sure that people can help themselves to the information that is most frequently asked of your firm (or other firms). We’ll talk more about the “how” later, though. For now, let’s take a look at a few statistics that will change the way you see your FAQ page as part of your customer service efforts.
By 2022, 85% of all customer service interactions will originate from self-service.
That’s regardless of industry, business, brand, business size, or any other component. Here are a few other numbers to keep in mind:
And perhaps the most important statistic of all—one that’s so powerful it doesn’t even include numbers:
FAQs are among the most frequently used self-service resources available to online users today.
So, what are you waiting for? Start brushing up your FAQs and start watching your audience take interest. First, though, let’s talk a little about how to go about getting your FAQs organized and looking good, and then we’ll talk about the essential Q&A that should make it into your page.
Before you start posting questions and answers, you’ve got to come up with a solid strategy and framework for your FAQ page, or pages if you are going to have more than one. In architecture and design, you might want to offer a few pages of FAQs that cover things like:
You also might not want to go this in-depth just yet, and that’s fine too. In fact, it’s a good idea to start small and get a feel for how it’s going before you roll out a major plan.
Take the time to structure the page(s) properly, and then think about the questions that you want to include. In the list below, we’ve included 10 popular questions to get you started, but you can add to this list or modify it in any way that works best for you.
This is the million-dollar question in your industry, but it deserves a good, solid answer. Don’t be condescending about it, either. People genuinely want to understand why they would need to hire your firm, and this is your chance to sell them on every single reason that you can help them. Explain what your firm does, what an architect does in general, different specialties that are available, and so forth.
If you were someone looking up what an architect was, what would you want to learn? Create a response to that end. Make sure that you include general information and facts, as well as insight about your firm specifically to encourage them to reach out.
Remember, this is uncertain territory for a lot of people. Often, the best way to win their business and their continued loyalty is simply by being transparent and helping them understand the process every step of the way. After all, you’re the expert and you can walk them through it all so that there is never any confusion or anxiety about what’s coming next.
Take this answer as your opportunity to explain exactly what happens when you talk to someone for the first time, whether it’s in person or on the phone, and how much actually happens at the initial meeting. Then, explain what the next steps are, but only briefly, because that’s a whole different topic.
People like timelines and predictability. They don’t realize that the world of architecture and design is full of unpredictable events and circumstances, from job hurdles to creative blocks, and more. They don’t really want you to rush to deliver their design faster or skip any important details to get done sooner. They just want to understand what the timeline is like so that they know what to expect.
If you’re not great at predicting timelines or you don’t use a linear process, give your best guesstimate and then explain that in the answer, too. Tell people about your process. Explain why the drawings and/or design take so long because that’s far more valuable than promising to deliver something quickly that may be subpar in terms of quality.
This is an important question because it allows you to explain how the processes are interwoven and work together to create a complete project. Explain any involvement you have with builders and the construction process, as well as what the client can expect from it as they go along. You can also use this space to explain the construction part of the process to increase the knowledge base of your FAQ.
This may also be a good place to discuss the entire design process, reiterate what aspects your firm will and won’t handle, and remind people that this journey takes time and several different resources, but you’ll help them every step of the way.
Again, people like time. They want results. Thanks to the Internet, people live in a “faster is better” world and rarely want to wait for something that takes longer. However, if it is a big-ticket item like a building or home design, they might be more willing to allow the time needed to get the ideal result. Still, you want to answer this question in the best way that you can. If you want to explain how variable it can be, provide timelines from a few of the projects you have done in the past. Show them that because each design and job is so different, the timelines will be different, as well.
Reassure them that it won’t take any longer than necessary, but that your focus is on getting the best results, not just getting the design and/or construction completed. That way, you’re not being dismissive, but you aren’t pinning yourself down to finite timelines that probably never work the same way twice.
If you have a specialty, this is the place to list it. Some people do general architecture and design. Others might specialize in residential architecture, renovation and restoration, and so forth. Use your FAQ page to remind people of what you can do and which specialties you have to offer. Make sure that you cover all the types of design and architecture that you can provide here.
If you’re open to different projects, express that here and invite people to reach out to you to discuss the work that they need done. This way, you can get a glimpse of what a job is before you have to decide whether you want to (or are qualified to) take it or not.
This might seem like an obvious question for some firms, but we’re addressing this one to the firms that don’t explicitly list their service type in their name or tagline. If it’s not obvious what kind of services you provide (and it usually isn’t to at least one or two audiences), make sure that you spell it out. If you do a little of both, or you take projects on an individual basis regardless of whether they are commercial or residential, make that known here.
Not all architects and designers offer additional support like project management resources and other tools. However, some do. Therefore, people will want to know which side of the fence you’re on before they decide. Again, it’s less about telling them “No” than it is about giving them a transparent answer that helps them make an informed decision. Even if you don’t do more than design, let them know and consider this a way to share some of your peers that can help with other aspects of the job. It’s a great opportunity to help others by promoting their services and if you ask ahead of time, they’ll probably do the same in return.
Our first warning here is that you should offer this service to your clients. Secondly, however, we want to make sure that even if you don’t, you explain that clearly. This is the perfect way to do it. It allows you to address everyone and let them know what to expect. It also may vary depending on the location or municipal requirements—disclose that here, too.
The point is not only that you take care of all the details, but that you reassure people of it in every way that you can, including reiterating here on your FAQ page. When it comes to architecture and construction, permits and other regulations are often the biggest source of stress for clients.
This is important because people have budgets, and they like to know how they’re spending their money. When you give people a clear explanation of what they’re getting and how you charge rates, it will give them peace of mind. First, it gives them details. Secondly, it lets them know that you are a professional because you have a process, and they’ll trust you more because they know exactly what they are paying for and what they’re getting.
Make sure that you take this opportunity, too, to link to your fees page that explains all the costs and fees associated with your firm, including how services are charged and which services require a custom quote.
We’ve already covered making self-service easier for your audience. But what about making customer service easier for you? After all, you’ve got a firm to run and the last thing you need is more details on your plate. Save yourself the hassle and hire the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai instead. Our team of experts has the expertise you need to deliver 24/7 customer support via phone, live website chat, Facebook and SMS answering, and more.
We can also deliver assistance with lead intake and qualification, scheduling, payment collection, and so much more. And we’ll collaborate with you to come up with a strategy to manage all of it in a streamlined way that keeps you in the loop while allowing you to take care of other aspects of your business. If you’re trying to give your customers the best service solutions, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
If you want to learn more, schedule a consultation to find out how the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can field your calls and messages so that you can focus on designing your next great project. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 727-6484.