FAQ Rage

One of the things I’ve done since adopting my e-mail policy earlier this year is work hard at creating useful FAQ articles that I can point people to when they come to me with questions.

I’ve taken care to include pretty much everything I know that can be of help on a given subject in the FAQ and tried to make it as complete as possible. If the person reads the FAQ and still needs assistance beyond that, I help in whatever manner I can.

I’ve been surprised at some of the responses I get to these e-mails. My replies are personally written (sometimes with the help of MailTemplate), and I’ve manually selected the FAQ that applies to their question.

Note: this is quite a bit different than an automated e-mail system that sends out FAQ links it “guesses” may be related to your inquiry (and almost never are).

Some people seem quite angry that I’ve pointed them to content that is on a web page instead of copying and pasting that content into the e-mail reply. From my perspective, by pointing them to the FAQ I give them a chance to see other FAQs that are available and could be helpful – I guess they don’t see it that way.

So don’t get immediately mad when someone sends you to an FAQ. Chances are, that person may have spent a good deal of time putting everything they know on the topic into the FAQ and have little, if any, additional information to give you. Read the FAQ carefully, and if you still need help reply and let them know.

UPDATE: I’d say I get less than a 5% angry rate, and probably less than 2% from actual customers – but the angry ones are a loud vocal minority.