When customers are accessing a forum community for the first time, it is important that they see content that will give them an idea of how questions are asked and answered, and ideally see answers to questions they had thought to ask and some even that they had not yet thought to ask. This is handled through the Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs mechanism.
You may choose to specifically denote FAQs as such, or you may just want to understand that certain questions are frequently asked and have a strategy to make those FAQ answers readily available. This post deals with some of the ways that you can make these FAQs available in customer communities.
The first way is through content collection and creation. When setting up or updating your forum manually, you will look back at support requests received through other media such as phone and e-mail. You then create a standard user account to post these questions in the forum as a customer has in the past and then answer it directly in the forum. If these are some of the first Q&A posts available in the forum, you would leave them uncategorized to keep the content looking open and easily accessible, however you might already tag the posts as FAQ for later easy searching and retrieval.
This leads us to the topic of tagging and categorization. As your content grows in number of posts, you may want to start categorizing the posts for easy access and promoting certain posts as announcements to pop them to the top of all threads. You can also tag them as ‘FAQ’ threads to be viewed from that tag list later.
Using the categories method involves two steps: (1) setting up a new category within the admin dashboard, and (2) making sure those related posts are added to that category. If there are posts that fit the category but aren’t added, you can change this by clicking ‘edit’ from within your content moderator options and add or edit the category as appropriate. You access your moderator options by hovering over an existing post or discussion.
Another way to promote good FAQ questions to make them easy to find is to change an existing question to an Announcement which will highlight it as such and keep it at the top of all discussions. You can access this Announcement feature by clicking on ‘edit’ from within your content moderator options and check the “Announce” radio button before saving.
You can also use the Announcement feature to create one summary FAQ post that will have links to all of the threads for different FAQ discussions. This is a great way to make the FAQ highly visible without the need for adding a category and splitting up your threads. You can continually update this post with new links to FAQ threads as they come in and encourage your customers to frequently check that thread. In order to keep this thread clean, you may want to lock this FAQ Announcement discussion to comments and instead open the comments up to the individual linked discussions.