How the FAQ works against your software app

Posted by afranchimon • Aug 13, 2020 • 5 Minute Read

Software development is expensive. But this shouldn’t be a reason to leave your users in the dark as they find their way around your application. A common strategy that businesses use to ease the load off their support departments is to collect questions repeatedly asked and to share the answers to these online. This usually comes in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page or what some of you know as a searchable Knowledge Base.

Let’s take a sample use case:

You are the product owner of a mobile application that requires credit card payments. In your application, a user registers their credit card for the first time once they launch the app.

After some time, your user either loses their credit card and requests their bank to replace it, or they decide that they want to use a different card altogether for your app.

However, your user discovers that they cannot find any option to change their credit card details to their new card. As a result, they decide to contact your support department to help them update their payment details.

software faqs

Because this is not the first time your support team encounters this user problem, they add this situation to your FAQs or make this available in your Knowledge Base. Your support department is then released from the pressure of repeatedly answering this recurring problem on the assumption that your users are nifty and can find their way around your website.

Problem solved, right? There’s where you’re wrong.

FAQs, Knowledge Bases and Missed Opportunities for Improvement

Although the intentions behind adding to your FAQ or Knowledge Base are good, you may be ignoring a great opportunity to improve your application software. You can’t be sure if this issue is faced by just a handful of users or most of your client base.

In other words, you may be ignoring how many of your users aren’t utilizing your FAQs or Knowledge Base. You may also be distancing yourself from users and the opportunity to get good and honest feedback. And since user feedback is not measured, in the long run, your business loses awareness that an issue exists at all.

Consider reducing the load on Support by improving your UX instead

As a product owner, it’s your task to delight your users. Surprise them with ease of use and overjoy them with the accomplishment of navigating through your app on their own.

If you want your users to keep using your app, take on all opportunities to learn from them. Be open to their honest feedback.

software faqs

As developers, we need to own up to our mistakes. If a recurring problem is a problem in your application, it should not be the problem of your user. Instead, view issues experienced by your users as a data point to improve your application.

Many applications release new features or fix bugs in their new releases. Choose to approach issues as learning points and resist electing to just “adding these to the FAQ”. As a result, your team now has a metric for measuring the improvement of your software.

Own your application with a mindset that delights more users in your next release. You’ll know that you’ve struck off an issue based on the reduction in the number of queries for specific, recurring problems after you release your next version.

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Note: this was originally published by Alain F. for You_Source.