I recently attended a spreecast where there was some griping about people (customers) who didn’t bother to read the FAQ at a site before submitting a support ticket to admin to get an answer. One solution discussed was to force the person,(customer) to use the FAQ section before they (the customer) were allowed to ask for support. It was assumed that the individual, (the customer) was too lazy to look for the information they required in that section first. So in other words the owner of the system was calling their customers lazy.
This was done without any real analytical thought about why people would rather go straight to support.
In reality FAQs belong in the same category as the canned phone response you get when you make a call to almost any business; “All of our agents are currently busy and will get to you as soon as possible. Your call is important to us….” Bullshit. (sorry).
Unless you have a very simple question, like how to get your commission, or where to find your affiliate link…FAQ data bases aren’t very intuitive. Unless you have a very good command of the English language and know precisely what you are looking for you will get the same run around as you get calling into a call center. You get a list of possible responses, and it’s your job as the “customer” to filter through the list and see if you can find something that is close to the question you are asking.
Meanwhile you are wasting your valuable time, money and effort while the business pushes those expenditures to you.
And they have the gall to call you lazy.
We as consumers have become so conditioned to lousy customer service we rarely complain about its lack.
Companies are so use to paying lip service to customer service, they believe their own bullshit on the issue.
I know I worked in retail for years and I can’t tell you how many times I was told the only real controllable was payroll. It was the only trick in the book. Cut payroll (people) try to create an illusion of service with smoke and mirrors and pat yourself on the back for a better bottom line.
Truth is real customer service is expensive and time-consuming.
The canned phone call should really say, “we don’t care about your business, it’s not important to us, but if you want to invest your time and money holding to get our next service representative then don’t bitch about the wait.” That at least would be more honest.
FAQs is in the same league: “We really don’t want to invest money and time handling your question we’d rather piss you off by getting you to search our data base, and if you can’t find the answer you need…it’s because you are stupid.”
It’s not that I think there is no place for FAQ, I just don’t think you should use them as a crutch for customer service.
If you want to stand out you need to be outstanding.