How the FAQ may kill your App

Software development is expensive, but this should not be the reason your users are left in the dark trying to find their way around in your application. A product design sprint will help you test your ideas before you actually start developing. If you own an application that is used a lot – you will need some form of support.

Reduce the load on Support by adding it to the FAQ
In order to keep the load of the support department – a common strategy is to collect questions that are asked multiple times, and make the answer available online. This usually comes in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, or a searchable Knowledge Base.

Let’s imagine the following situation. You are the product owner of a mobile application that requires credit card payments. In this application the user registers his credit card – the first time when they launched the app. Now the credit card got lost, and it was replaced by the bank, but the user cannot find any option in the application to change the credit card. Since the user can’t find out how to do this – he calls your support department. Support helps him out, and your user continues using your app again. Great!

Now, because this is not the first time this problem occurs – This situation will be added on top of your FAQ or made available in your Knowledge Base. Your support department is released from the pressure of this recurring problem, as your users are nifty and can find their way around on your website. Problem solved, right?

Wrong.
Although the intentions were good, you are ignoring a great opportunity to improve. Since people don’t call in anymore, you don’t know if this problems is faced by just a handful, or most of your users. In other words – You ignore how many users you annoy. On top of that you distance yourself from your user, and the opportunity to get good and honest feedback. You not only may frustrate a lot of users – but since it is not measured anymore, in the long run you may even lose the awareness that this issue exists at all!

Reduce the load on Support by improving your UX.
As a product owner, it is your task to delight your users. Surprise them with ease of use, and overjoy them with their accomplishments. If you want your users to keep using your app, you should take on all opportunities to learn from your users and be open to their honest feedback. Let’s own up to our mistakes – a recurring problem is a problem in your application, it should not be the problem of your user. Use this knowledge to improve your application. If you don’t “add it to the FAQ” – you can measure the improvement by the reduction in number of queries you get for recurring problems. The numbers should go down as soon as you release your next version.

Many applications release new features or fix bugs in their new releases. Make sure you own the application that delights more users in your next release.

  • Ardee Aram

    Good point. An FAQ would create an illusion that everything is working properly. Best to add a “Report Bug” button where bug reports go to a bug tracking system.