Your customers have questions. You can only hope that your people have the answers. Not all of your prospective clients (or loyal customers) want to speak to a live agent, though, so they visit your website in search of a quick solution. Above and beyond the relatively generic content placed onto your website at its launch, how well is your website at delivering them answers? Chances are, rather poorly.
In countless other industries, websites are constructed with a Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ). Unfortunately, this common element is absent from the majority of dealer sites. A study last year from Blue Nile Research uncovered that 27% of all searches come in the form of a question. We like to believe that the text within our webpages answers those questions, but I can assure you it rarely does.
If a website content’s goal is to match up an online shopper’s search query with their intent, you must recognize what their questions encompass. The fundamental basis of a question starts with a “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Why,” “Where,” or “How.” Are those exact words written on your website? Not to sound like Alex Trebek, but you need to phrase that in the form of a question.
As Google looks to connect a searched question with that of website content, it is certainly in your best interest to actually have the full, written questions and their corresponding answers on your website. For that reason, you need to have a FAQ page on your website. The questions can be the sub-headlines on the page, and the answers can be either below them, or within an internal page linked by the question itself. (Talk to your Internet Manager if you have questions.) A FAQ page can improve time on-site, reward you with more search traffic/views, and earn you business if you do it right.
So how do you build a FAQ page? How do you know what customers want to see or are looking for? Crowdsource it.
- Distribute a simple questionnaire to each customer-facing employee (sales, service, and parts) at the dealership, asking them to write down the 5 – 10 questions guests asked them most regularly.
- Survey your in-store service waiting room guests, asking what the most pressing questions they generally have before a visit to the dealership.
- Set up a page on your website asking for the questions.
- Contact the OEM’s toll-free help desk number for customer service and ask them for their most frequently asked questions.
Once you have gathered all of the questions, simply pare them down and see which can be combined. Come to a collective agreement as to the best (and truest) answer to each question. If you determine that shoppers are wondering about a specific price for maintenance/service, make sure that you actually provide the pricing on your website. Know that you can support the pricing with any additional information you see fit.
“A FAQ page can improve time on-site, reward you with more search traffic/views, and earn you business if you do it right.”
Then, go one step further.
Whether you decide to have a FAQ page for each department, or one page that links down to internal pages (whereas each question could potentially have their own page), know that text-based answers aren’t enough. It is important to go one step further. Associated with each and every question, you should both have the answer written (in a very conversational language), as well as have that department head shoot a brief 30-second video answering the question. (You should post the video to YouTube with the title being the entire written question.) This way you have both a written answer and a video response with an answer. This will help tremendously with the search engines. Your video answers can exist both on YouTube, as well as the associated webpage.
One great bit of advice… “How” is the primary word that begins most search queries, so don’t forget to create How To videos as part of your FAQ pages. You can start with the basic questions your clients ask such as:
- “How do I check my oil?”
- “How do I change my tire?”
- “How much is an oil change?”
- “How long does a tune-up take?”
- “Why is my check engine light on?”
- “When will the New Model be out?”
- “What do I need for a down payment?”
and so on.
Each department will have their own questions, and the value for consumers to be directed from the search engines to your Frequently Asked Questions page is invaluable. You can still end every answer with a call to action to contact your dealership in some fashion. At DealerKnows, we even work with our dealer clients and their web providers to build Ask a Tech and Ask a Manager sections of the website to generate more conversations with shoppers. Live chat can certainly help, but if it is a managed provider, you are likely unable to answer common questions directly.
Think about what your website needs to do from a customer service perspective, and start answering the questions that are most advantageous, not just for the dealership, but for your customers. The who, what, when, why, where, how of our industry needs a digital refresh, and it starts with the often-under-utilized FAQ page.
Author: Joe Webb
Joe Webb is the President of DealerKnows, an Internet sales and digital marketing consulting firm specializing in the automotive industry. He maximizes companies’ online investments through on-site training, virtual consulting, and the industry’s first lead management coaching software. Joe has been called “the funniest guy in the car business” and passionately speaks and consults internationally. Email: Jwebb@dealer-communications.com.