In the business of E-Commerce, taking care of your customers is a big priority. This is a highly competitive landscape, and it doesn’t take a lot to be outpaced by the competition and find yourself trying to scramble to get back on track. The best thing that you can do is focus on what matters to your customers.
Today’s customers want self-service options. They want as much information at their fingertips as they can possibly get. If they can’t get it, they want an explanation as to why. One of the biggest parts of your sales process, whether you realize it or not, is to gain the trust of your audience. Part of that comes in providing them with answers to their questions, perhaps even before they think of them in some cases.
Unlike an email response or live chat feature, an FAQ page is static and doesn’t require interaction. It will be accessible 24/7 and will save people from asking a lot of the same questions that you field regularly. Plus, it will help people feel confident in your brand and their own buying power in the customer experience, which ultimately only solidifies the relationship and the transaction in the long run.
An FAQ page could technically be considered a landing page, even though it’s in the help or support section on most sites. After all, if people search for relevant questions and return a result that sends them to your Frequently Asked Questions webpage, that makes it a landing page. No matter what you consider it, of course, it does require some special considerations when it comes to making it shine.
The great thing about an FAQ page is that it is often the first point of contact with your audience, and it can continue to be an ongoing point of reference that they can return to throughout the journey so that they never have a qualm about their final decisions.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to go about offering answers to your audience, per se, but there are some best practices that you’ll want to consider when you’re getting your FAQs organized—and there’s your first tip. Get organized. If you look at some of the best E-Commerce sites online, you’ll see that their FAQs are not just one list, but a collection of lists categorized by groups, such as:
Any topic that you need to provide a separate list of questions for should have its own link, section, or page. Separate it how you’d like, but make sure it’s organized and easy to follow. If your store or business is small enough, you may be able to get away with a single page of FAQs, but you’re still going to be better off to group things and categorize them so that they’re easy for your audience to find.
Too often, people take it for granted that websites and E-Commerce stores will ship to them. After all, if you can find it online, it would make sense that you should be able to buy it, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you’re only shipping domestic orders, or perhaps you only ship to certain countries, make sure that you spell that out for visitors ahead of time. The last thing you want is someone getting to the checkout before realizing they can’t get shipping to their country of residence.
Make sure that you’re clear about where you will and won’t ship so that there’s never any question. Even if people can’t order from you, they’ll appreciate that you were upfront and honest and remember you in the future in case things change.
Another pressing question that every retail brand is tired of answering: how do you handle returns and exchanges? In addition to having a dedicated section or page regarding the return and exchange process on your website (do you have one yet?), you should have a question and answer on your FAQ page that explains it to your shoppers.
Make sure that you’re clear about:
Another pro tip here: don’t make people pay for return shipping. They’re already taking the extra step of returning something. Provide a prepaid shipping label or allow them to drop it off at a shipper or the USPS location nearest them so that it’s as hassle-free as possible. In your FAQ section, tell them about this feature.
Everyone’s in a hurry these days. Thanks to giants like Amazon offering next-day (and even same-day) shipping, no one wants to wait. If you charge for shipping, consider offering people a few different delivery options. Regardless, make sure that you use this question to provide people with the specific details of how long delivery takes based on the type of order, as well as whether there is any order processing time.
While people love free, quick shipping, they are willing to pay and wait, if the reasoning is solid. Once you explain that you’re doing your best to ship things quickly and efficiently, but without costing your business (and in turn, the customer) a small fortune, you’ll get a much better response, even if the answer is that they have to wait.
There are a growing number of options for paying for transactions online. From credit cards and debit cards to electronic wallets, people want more and more versatility in their online shopping. You don’t have to offer it all, but make sure that you’re explicit about what you do accept. If you use a platform like Square or PayPal, make sure you let people know so they have that option in addition to others.
Using your FAQ to cover basics like this will free up your time to focus on more pressing issues that require your attention. It will also help your audience feel like you want to provide them with as much insight and reassurance as you can so that they can have the transaction that they desire.
People love buying gifts online, and especially if they can ship them straight to the recipient. Therefore, they’ll often want an option where the invoice is left out of the box or pricing is excluded. Perhaps they’re shipping it to themselves but want a gift receipt for the person getting it. You might even want to consider offering special packaging for gift purchases, but only if it’s within your means.
Either way, present all of this on your FAQ page so that people know exactly what they’re getting. This is a very common question, and you’ll find that you get a lot more interest from it than you might have initially thought.
Bear in mind this is different than shipping time. This question refers to the time it takes from when the order is submitted until it is shipped. For some businesses, that’s done on the same day. For major brands like Amazon and Walmart.com, it might even be done within the same hour. Your E-Commerce store might need a few days to process orders. That’s fine, but make sure that you let people know so that they’re not expecting an earlier shipment.
Companies used to like to try to hide these things and work around them, but it’s just not the right thing to do. Transparency is always better, even when people may not appreciate the answer that they get. They’ll at least appreciate you being honest and upfront with them.
This might seem like something that you want to deter, but it’s bound to happen in every business. Therefore, the best thing that you can do, again, is to be transparent and honest with your audience about how it works. Whether it’s because of a shipping delay, a change of heart, or even just an accidental purchase (which usually only happens with “one-click ordering”, but still needs to be considered), some people may want to cancel or change their order.
Provide them with an easy way to do it and the steps on how that’s done right on your FAQ page. Link to the right resources, too, to make it extra helpful. Spell out the process and make sure you give them contact information in case they need to reach out to someone for help. It’s all about making it easy for people to do business with you, even when it’s canceling a sale because they will remember that in the future and share it with others, too.
Another thing that people want to know is how to monitor their delivery. From distrust in delivery services to the excitement of their item arriving, people love to track shipments of what they order online. Make sure that you provide them with shipping information that they can track, in the first place, and then use your FAQ to explain to them how to do so.
Make sure that you include the instructions for how to find their order number and which shipping provider it was sent with, as well as timelines so that they know what to expect in case information isn’t available. Reassure them, too, that you’re always available if they want to check in with a live person on the status of any order that they may be looking for.
Another common concern that people have when shopping online is dealing with damaged goods upon arrival. If you take the time to explain that you will happily (and quickly) replace anything that arrives damaged or otherwise defective, you’ll not only be proving your value to people, but you’ll be addressing one of their most pressing concerns when it comes to online shopping.
Make sure that you provide people with a few different options here. A replacement is great, but if they’ve got a bad taste in their mouth or want another out, you should make sure that it’s available. Your willingness to resolve their issue in a way that works for them is going to go a long way in getting a good outcome for all.
This one we’re leaving more open-ended because it will be, depending on what products you’re selling specifically. This is a good place to answer the most common questions you get about the products that you sell. Perhaps you sell clothes and people have questions about sizing or materials. Maybe you sell snacks and people want to know about nutrition facts or gluten-free options. These are all worthy of their own Q&A on your website. If you’ve got enough product questions, give this a dedicated section, too.
What’s better than giving customers self-service options? How about giving them full-service support throughout every step of the buying journey, from lead intake and scheduling to live chat and phone call queries, and even payment collection, and so much more? When you partner with the dedicated receptionists at Smith.ai that’s exactly what you get.
We’ll help you craft a strategy to manage your communications so that we can field every chat, call, and other need you have, all while you’re taking care of other business. No matter what you have in mind, we’ve got you covered with a customized solution for all of your needs.
You can learn more when you schedule a consultation to discuss how the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can deliver 24/7 solutions for answering calls, chats, and more. You will also find us at email@example.com or (650) 727-6484.