Questioning Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by AC Chillin on May 20th, 2008 in


I was interested in this post by Kevin Kelly about FAQs because it relates to BzzAgent’s goals for transparency and because the benefits of transparency are something many companies are still ignoring.

“Most organizational FAQs are written by the marketing or PR arm. I think that is fine. It’s actually okay to have the marketing folks write the answers. After all, why not have the organization present its best case? There might be nuances and selling points that should be covered. The problem is that the same folks make up the questions.” [Emphasis mine]

Having Marketing folks write the questions for a FAQ is not trying to be help the customer, it’s trying to spin. There are times when a company CAN’T answer its most frequently asked question(s) (For instance, “ZOMG!!!1!11! Shaloha! WHEN?”) for valid reasons. For the most part, however, if a question comes up again and again about a specific product, the producer of that product should try to answer it somewhere on their website.

Why is it important to have good FAQs?

* It forces you to face the problem.
* It forces you to face your answer.
* It’s an opportunity to sell (yes).
* It projects your character and brand.
* You can control the answer…

I tried to find BzzAgent’s FAQ to see what types of questions we considered frequently asked and whether we did a good job of answering them. What I realized is that the majority of the front end of is all about answering questions and providing information about what we do and how we do it.

What do you think readers, do most companies do a good job answering your questions on their FAQ? Does BzzAgent?

What questions about what we’re doing do you have a hard time finding on the website [besides rewards!]?


27 Responses to “Questioning Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Jenn says:

    Interesting post. Most companies do an excellent job of answering questions in thier FAQs. The problem is that a lot of customers don’t do a good job of reading the answers. Some companies on the other hand, have laughable or nonexistent FAQs. I think BzzAgent does an extremely good job of answering most potential questions agents may have in the website itself, and even more in the FAQ. One area in which I personally have had unanswered questions, and that I know others have also, stems from spouses or other family members having their own account. There’s not much to be found about this on the website, except that it’s not forbidden in the terms of service. It would be nice to see BzzAgent set down ground rules beyond “yes other family members in the same house can have accounts” which is basically the standard answer given if you email Bzz. There seems to be more to the issue than that, though. Can family members accept invites to the same campaigns without someone in the household being flagged? Can family members log in one right after the other? My husband always wanted to literally push me off the computer to check his account before he ultimately closed his account, but I was always concerned that he’d get one of us flagged because it would look like only one person was logging in. There are other questions that go along with this topic, but I’m having a hard time thinking of them right now. It’s early and I’m uncaffeinated. But that’s the gist. :)

  2. Scarlett says:

    How exactly are the reports scored?
    It would be nice if you could clarify EXACTLY how you score Bzz Reports. The general consensus now is it that scores are totally random and left to a Com Dev’s discretion. If the Com Dev had a good day you get a good score. People have written long detailed reports and submitted them thinking for sure they would be a 5 and have them turn out to be 3. They’ve written fairly short reports with no quotes and have them be a 5. How exactly are the reports scored?
    Why are you allowing new agents to sign up if there aren’t currently enough campaigns to go around? (Not that I’m being critical I just signed up in April)
    Did Dave REALLY resign or was that a practical joke?
    Ummm that about covers it…Oh yeah and why is the sky blue?

  3. Lottome says:

    I was always curious what we as agents were to do if we got a product that we just didn’t like. Thankfully I have not had one yet, but I know it can happen. How do we buzz it? I’m sure the manufacturer wants to know what we don’t like about it, but I’m also pretty sure they don’t want us telling everybody, don’t buy this item! How are we to handle this, and should an inferior product, or incompatibility hurt our status as a bzzagent by dropping our quality score?

  4. With respect to BzzAgent’s FAQ, I think there were a lot of questions unanswered. I actually put together a FAQ of things I got tired of hearing people ask Ad nauseam on the forums and put it in the forum Wiki. But the problem wasn’t as much about BzzAgent not providing the answer as it was people being too lazy to read to see if it had already been “asked and answered”.

    Thankfully, BzzAgent usually provides an answer once someone asks directly. I recall a question I had about how to get something other than a “3″ on a report and was delighted that a clear answer was given. Whether all the reviewers stick with that same “policy” would be the question. (Edit: Scarlett – Pete answered it in the Jumping the Shark post – My point is that aside from issues like this whole rewards thing, BzzAgent is usually pretty transparent.

    But I totally get what the writer was getting at… I’ve seen some of those corporate NAQ’s. They’re annoying and they don’t answer the questions we really want to know.

  5. brandy says:

    I think bzzagent does a good job with FAQ’s – you guys normally respond very quickly w/ emailed questions. With some companies, it drives me nuts that you can’t directly ask a person a question, you have to search and search and search through FAQ’s that rarely answer your question, then you cannot find a contact number or email. THen when you do find a #, you have to talk to a machine and push buttons for 20 minutes before a person gets on the line

  6. Ruth says:

    Along with Jenn’s post I too wonder about my husband being a Bzzagent as well. He see’s people everyday at work that I never do, so he wanted to join as well (and did join). I thought that was a great idea, till I was reading elsewhere on the internet that we could get “flagged”.
    Is that something we should be worried about?

  7. Scarlett says:

    Thanks Nicole (ia2ca) I thought I had read all the previous blog posts and comments. I missed that one.

  8. Scarlett says:

    How many ACTIVE agents do we really have?

  9. Stacymouse says:

    I think you do a great job of answering questions when you can answer them! Thanks for that! I do have a few though:

    Have you guys thought about revamping the system used for ‘grading’ the bzzreports we submit? Or at least getting people on the same page as to how to score them? It really seems to be an issue as big as the one with rewards. I realize that you have a set system and that 3 doesn’t mean average but it does seem like the 5′s are thrown out kinda randomly and not all that often. And I have to wonder, if two different comdevs read the same report, would they give the same score?

    Why are one line reports accepted?

    Would you consider creating a spot where we can see what campaigns are going on even if we’re not in them? Sometimes it’s just nice to see what you all are working on!

  10. fnz2thrght says:

    To answer your questions:

    What do you think readers, do most companies do a good job answering your questions on their FAQ? Does BzzAgent?

    I think bzzAgent has fallen into the same trap that many companies fall into, as highlighted by the article that you’ve mentioned. BzzAgent’s faq’s are more like PR than actual questions. I disagree with the reasons for having good faq though because they take into account the company’s needs rather than the consumer’s needs and isn’t that who a good FAQ is written for? The consumer. The FAQ should not be about an opportunity to sell and it should not be there to project your brand.

    However, all that said, no company wants to put a real FAQ on their website. If bzzAgent had the actual most asked questions on their front page, it would turn off many potential agents not to mention many potential clients (and don’t forget for a moment that a client isn’t reading the FAQ, the blog, the entire website before hiring bzzAgent to do their WOM). So basically FAQ when it comes to a website like bzzAgent isn’t really the correct term. I haven’t gone and counted the faq and categorized them myself but I’d suspect a good portion really fall under the category of “about us”, another good chunk fall under “contact us” and finally a small bit are really things that people want to know, but if they looked they could find spelled out somewhere else on the site.

    so the real question is, “do consumers expect an FAQ even if that FAQ gives them no real information?”

  11. Scarlett – I hope you didn’t think I my “asked and answered” comment was directed at you. I was referring to on the message boards when someone would ask a question that was already answered on the prior page or so. Just wanted to clarify that with you!

  12. Honey says:

    I have gone and reread the FAQ’s just now. The section is larger and more in depth than most sites. This is both good and bad. Good that most questions are answered there, and with a detailed answer for each one. However it is also bad, since there are so many questions, an agent can get overwhelmed with all there is to know and understand to be a BzzAgent and work the site properly. I think maybe they are not all read either because the section is so long. Many agents may just skim it or skip it altogether due to the size of it. Since meeting more agents online recently, I have found that most are fairly confused about how things work and have lots of questions, be they experienced agents or newbies.

  13. sati769leigh says:

    when i was looking for information that gave more detail on how tiering worked, it was not so easy to find as you might think. I dont remember either reading about any mention on how or why it takes longer for your quality points to get added on compared to bzz points. I like the Faq, but i do feel it is a tad PR. I have had several New Bzz Agents on another forum asking me all sorts of questions that can be found in the FAQ but the FAQ can go on and on and they get bored and skip to asking me instead. LOL i would like to to be able to find out exactly what percentile i fit into with my participation. i suppose with the new system its all going to change. I hope that if things like moving up tiers are dependant on percentages that we would have a way to know what ours are. so we know exactly how much harder we need to work.

    i had a question about our points for redemption. is there any way to “gift” a newer Bzz Agent with some points? could that be made an option? i would like to give some of my points away to some of the people i refered who signed up.

  14. Scarlett says:

    Oh no Nicole (ia2ca), I wasn’t offended at all by your answer.
    I was glad to get an answer. LOL

    I have learned more about BzzAgent from forums than I have from the BzzAgent site.
    Like Honey said I did just skim over the FAQs when I first joined.
    Today I’ve gone back & and thoroughly read them, I found the FAQs to be informative and amusing, but NOT all encompassing.

  15. jamazoo says:

    I personally think buzzagent has a great faq! It helped me alot when I first started.

  16. Susan Powers says:

    I am sorry but I don’t understand the frogpond, I can google sites myself. To me it’s sort of like a site that is there to keep online bookmarks

  17. Tara Skinner says:

    Well since it’s claimed you answer repeated questions (well except the ones you ignore)…. I’m going to go with Scarlett and ask this one again-
    Since you can’t keep up with the agents you have, why keep taking new ones?

    I’ve seen that one more than a few times, how many more until we get an answer? or at least a we can’t tell you that?

    I think your FAQ’s are okay, nothing spectacular but I find your info in them and throughout the site untrue. The golden keys… claim to unlock campaigns you normally wouldn’t get into. So why do some campaign offers come back as regular invites? this leads me to think that they do NOT do as they claim. Early invites… that’s another one that doen’t work as claimed.

    I wont even get into the rewards…

    I’m also guessing since the system is changing you will ( I hope) change the FAQ’s to reflect that, I’m hoping for more accurate info.

  18. chrissyjosh says:

    i just wonder how many points we are going to need for the new rewards? are they going to be the same as before? like will will we still be able to get rewards like the ones that were up the whole time? im hoping for old navy gift cards!or something like a gc too. but hopefully they are like 1,000 points per 10.00 gc

  19. sati769leigh says:

    hopefully they are NOT like 1000 points for a measly 10$ gift card. i would be a tad disgruntled if that was the case!!

  20. Tara Skinner says:

    100 points was equal to a $10.00 donation. 1000 should be worth $100 then.

  21. NYKaren says:

    Tara, That’s quite an assumption, that the value of points for charitible contributions is automatically the same as the points value for other reward items, not only here but anywhere, unless the site specifically states a points value. I don’t recall ever having seen anything saying what our points are worth in monetary terms at BzzAgent. Have you?? I’m just wondering, I’ve looked but never found any info on it.

  22. Missi says:

    I would think actual rewards should be worth more than a charitable contribution because as a company bzzagent would be able to deduct the total cost of an actual reward on their taxes vs. the deduction of a charitable contribution may be limited. Depending on how the business is set up, they may also fall into the category of only receiving 50% of the charitable contribution. Ok, there’s my analysis on that LOL. However, that does not mean bzzagent follows this logic and prizes may be equal, greater or less than charitable contributions.

  23. Tara Skinner says:

    Karen, no I haven’t seen it anywhere. I was simply stating that’s what it was, and in fact some rewards were probably worth more when compared price/points digital frames for 700 points, IPods for 8oo points… Simply pointing out what an incredibly crappy deal it will be if points go 1000= $10.00 compared to what it was.

  24. Unhappy says:

    Who did the math on the new points system? Smileycons! used to 400 points was worth 40.00 in prizes. Not on Mypoints. Now what should have been worth 168.00 worth of prizes is worth less than 100.00 in prizes. Geese I thought this was going to be a good thing. This stinks Smileycons!

  25. Unhappy says:

    Are you guys in the red?Smileycons! I think I read somewhere that you were in the black. Now here you go and take from us again.
    I am just sad. Excuse my fussing.

  26. masucci says:

    How can people say that bzzagent takes from us, when they give us so much for free? That has to be a kick in the pants to all of those who work so hard to maintain this site and try to keep everyone happy. I love trying out and learnng about new products! They pay the shipping and send us great products to try and learn about for FREE. I consider the points or prizes an added bonus. When we all signed up for bzzagent, we knew what it was about. They have thousands and thousands of members, and they can’t give us all hundreds of dollars in prizes. That would be the beginning of the end of bzzagent. I just don’t understand all of the complaints I’ve seen. I love this program and think they’re doing a great job. I just wanted to lend a voice of support for bzzagent, that’s all.

    Also, I wondered as well if my husband can have his own account? He’s expressed interest – he talks to many more people than I do in a week, and he’s excited about the possibility of having his own account. We’ve not tried to open one for him yet, as I’ve not been able to find a clear answer to that question, and don’t want to jeopardize my own account.

  27. mypointsspam says:

    Well, now I completly understand the super-top secret shahola. I do believe that bzzagent knew that being forced to spend our HARD EARNED points at MP was going to be upsetting to most.

    Remember, bzzz-agent would not have made it had it NOT been for the reports and buzz of the agents who agree to campaigns. Without our reports and buzzing, well, this company would not have been a success.

    You did not do good by us agents. Most of us realized LONG ago that MP is nothing but a spam program.

    I am seriously dissapointed.