Making customers happy is valuable. But your time is also valuable. Startups need every minute they can get to try to succeed.

So why the hell are we still wasting time responding to the same damn questions?

You know how this goes. Someone emails you asking about pricing plans, or an iPhone app, or whatever. You give the same answer you always give. Another 5 minutes of your (and your customer’s) life wasted.

It doesn’t have to be that way. FAQs should, and can, make your life easier.

support request funnel

We looked at data from a hundred companies using UserVoice Helpdesk, and their FAQs are answering an average of 15% of customer support issues a month (sometimes up to 40%), which turns out to be about 52 emails. If you assume every ticket takes 10 minutes to resolve (what with back-and-fourth), that’s 8.6 hours a month. You could get a whole work day of your life back every month.

But blindly assuming your FAQs are helping is just as wasteful. That’s why we’ve been on a mission to make FAQs more responsible. This week we launched reporting features that tell you how many support requests are being answered by FAQs, which articles are doing the answering, and how good your coverage is (73% of the customer support issues coming through the system came through because there was no matching FAQ entry). We want you to get these numbers as optimized as you can. We feel your pain. Nobody should spend time responding to an email that could have been answered with documentation. It sucks for you, and it sucks for your customers.

Would we like you to use our system? Yes, of course. Our customers like it, including Hellofax, Tellfi, and Zibbet. But use it or build your own – just stop wasting your valuable time answering things that could be answered by your FAQ.

Update – Some folks are assuming that we force your users to look at FAQs before sending a ticket. Ew, no. Here’s how our system works: