As a utility organization, one of your primary focuses is to serve your customers or members. In today’s day and age, this certainly includes have a website that meets their needs, can deliver some wants, and answers their questions in a clear and helpful way. Building such a website can also help with your internal processes by alleviating unneeded phone, email, and in-person traffic.

We often know that good copy or imagery can really help with clear communication, but what about going a little bit further? In some cases, removing the “fluff” and getting right to the point can significantly enhance your site visitor’s experience. One way this can be done is by building out a robust Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Library, which is also known as a database or knowledge base.

Where Should I Display My FAQ Library?

Many organizations opt to have a single FAQ page on their website. This can work if the copy elsewhere is very well written and well organized so that site visitors can easily find the information they’re looking for. When only one page is utilized, you’ll want to make sure that the questions are somehow broken down further by category or topic and that there are clear subheadings. As you explore further, though, you may find it’s best to have more than one place to find the FAQ.

Spreading your questions and answers throughout your website can have many benefits. It’s a more intuitive way for visitors to find the information they’re looking for, because they are likely to navigate to the page on that related topic first. As they are already gathering information about your services, your rates, your staff, or any other topic on your website, it is helpful to immediately answer some questions that may come to mind.

Using our Powerful Web Apps, you will be able to create your FAQ library and organize it by category or topic. If a question and answer applies to more than one category, you’ll be able to select more than one and have the entry appear in multiple places on your website. The entries can be found in one place in your content management system and can be filtered by category or by search for easier editing.

How Do I Know What Content Is Helpful?

Building out an FAQ library is an excellent opportunity to get other team members involved. You may already be able to come up with some great questions off the top of your head—like, “How do I sign up for new service?“—but some may involve working with your customer service department. Any team members who interact with the public may also have some ideas for topics to cover.

If you have Google Analytics or any other type of traffic mapping in place, it may be helpful to look at the most visited pages and consider whether those are also topics that you receive a lot of phone calls or emails about. If that’s the case, you may want to consider rewriting or refreshing some of the content, including adding FAQ.

When writing out the question, read it out loud and consider whether it is clear but not overly wordy. After you’ve written the answer, it may be helpful to reread the question just to be sure that the answer satisfies the question.

If you offer a service that involves a somewhat detailed process, perhaps setting up service for new construction, you can use the FAQ formatting to help customers understand the process. Like displaying FAQ, having step-by-step expectations or instructions on your website can help reduce phone and email traffic and can alleviate frustration for site visitors who are looking for this information.

How Should I Display My FAQ Library?

As mentioned, you can display them on a single page and use categories and subheadings to organize the content further. You can also display them on different pages, finding the ones with related information and hyperlinking between pages where helpful. With the Powerful Web Apps, you have a few additional display options on the page itself.

One of those options is a complete list view. This is a great way to display short questions and answers in full view with clear breaks in between. It’s also a good option if you have just a few questions to answer.

The second option is an accordion display. With the accordion display, each question is visible in a tight list view. When a site visitor clicks on a question, a box expands below to display the answer to that question. This is a particularly useful display option if you have a long list of questions on any given page but don’t want your visitors to be stuck scrolling through excess text or information.

When using a single page for your FAQ, you’ll want to organize the Web App entries by category or topic. You then have the option to display each of those categories with a title, such as “New Service Questions” and “New Construction Questions.” This makes for easy scanning on a robust FAQ page and helps clarify the content that will be found under that heading.

Conclusion

Having a website is a wonderful opportunity to better serve your utility customers or cooperative members, especially when you take the time to provide the information they are looking for. Providing answers to Frequently Asked Questions on your website can help clarify your services and processes, and it can build trust by showing a thoughtful approach to customer interactions.

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