FAQs - Dan J
HJ - I see you often get annoyed by the fact that people, often new ones, will come to your site and ask a question in the backroom which is answered quite obviously in your FAQ section.

I don't think the primary reason for this is anything to do with your website itself but because of several reasons which aren't your fault but create the problem you see.

Firstly, I'd guess a good few people who enjoy your column or have some motoring issue and have recently acquired a family computer spot your website address in the Telegraph and go for a look there. No doubt suitable impressed by the car-by-car breakdown etc but many people who rarely or are very new to the internet don't actually realise what the term "FAQ" even means (I know it isn't a "net" term as such but it only seems to get abbreviated here). Demonstrated successfully by my stepfather recently on introduction to the internet after suggesting the site he was looking at, whilst good, should have a list of questions that he and other people would want to know. A quick explanation of several net abbreviations and stepfather makes a few steps towards "connectivity". Maybe "Answers to your motoring questions"?!

Secondly and more importantly, I think you're a victim of your own excellent website. I can't tell you the number of times I've been looking round a site, very interested and thinking of all sorts of questions only to click on the FAQ and finding, say on a website about ignition problems,

1.Is it legal to breed penguins in the UK?

You get very used to FAQs being absolute crap and accordingly not bothering to look at them. In fact the one for my online banking appears to have been written by someone with a passion for penguins as well...

Perhaps that helps to explain why many people simply bypass your excellent and ever-expanding FAQ site - I'm just worried you'll come on here after a bad day and blow a fuse when someone has asked "Where can I buy cars in the UK at close to mainland European prices? Also tell me import warranties and import finance."!!!

All t'best

Dan J
At a slight tangent, can anything be done to the search facility so that it doesn't ignore words shorter than three characters? With so many car models now being two-character 'words' - Audi A4/A6; Citroen C5/C3; Mazda M2/M6; Rover 75 etc. - it can be difficult to find specific information on such cars.

A minor quibble, however, on a truly excellent site :-)
FAQs - Flat in Fifth
May I suggest that one solution to this additional to the link on the LH navigation bar could be as in one usenet forum where a "sticky" post or thread is always up near the top of the first page and is titled something like "newbies read this first; ignore it at your peril"

The disadvantage is that with the BR unless it could be made truly "sticky" then it will disappear so regularly onto page 2 as to be worthless.

The one I'm thinking of on usenet contained a link to the faq's page which actually answered every single one of my questions. Its the one on skytv actually.

BTW Penguins!... pah. Kit Kats are far better ;-)
FAQs - eMBe {P}
Assuning "newbies" come first to the home-page, they should see HJ's text explanation of what the FAQ's page is for.
FAQs - volvoman
Methinks this problem is unavoidable. I spent many years designing, revising and enhancing my client documentation and found that there is always a proportion of people whose mindset means they simply NEVER read the instructions or just WON'T follow them.

e.g. A few years ago the phone rang and I was confronted by an extremely annoyed man complaining loudly about the fact that he was still waiting for his final documents and demanding a refund. After several minutes of serious earache I managed to ask him his name (you see he thought I was a mindreader & new who he was). I looked at his records and discovered that his final draft had been sent 2-3 week previously but he had not yet responded and hence the delay. When I told him this he admitted he still had the final draft in front of him and then all went quiet on the line as he realised he'd not followed the instructions which were oh so clearly on the bottom of the reply slip!
The conversation then went something like this:

V - so you've still got the final draft ?
C - ..... errrr ... yes.
V - so you havgen't actually informed us that you've accepted the work and want the final documents ?
C - errr.... No.... ?
V - Well that could be why we haven't sent them yet !
C - I want to speak to the Manager !!! I want my money back !!!
V - I am the Proprietor and you can't have your money back because it is you who haven't followed the instructions NOT us !
C - $$%^$$ ..*&^£"$ &^)*@ ...tard ! I'll %$*&%$ &^%$ &**^£ you !!
V - When you manage to follow the instructions we'll complete the work. Goodbye !

Sadly there are many people who are either just stupid or just want to do things their way. Fortunately, as the boss I decide who I work for and if/when I do it so people like that get short shrift from me. It doesn't stop them trying it on though and telling me how to do my job.

Whatever HJ does about the FAQ's, it won't solve the problem - there are some people who always know best and if, it were me, I'd rather not waste my time with them !
FAQs - smokie
V - this shows the other side of the coin to MBs urgings for us to complain to the prop if we are not happy.

You are in the fortunate position of being able to tell stroppy customers, who are not ALWAYS right, where to go, whereas it's perceived that larger companies will always fold under pressure (justified or not) from dissatisfied customers.

And there is NO doubt that although the MB approach is correct in the right circumstances, peoples' expectation of redress is often disproportionate to any inconvenience they may have suffered.

Still, a litigatious society is what we are becoming...
FAQs - eMBe {P}
V - this shows the other side of the coin to
MBs urgings for us to complain to the prop if we
are not happy. .....

Still, a litigatious society is what we are becoming...

Smokie: On the contrary. I think you may have misunderstood me.

I urge people to raise their problems with any business (large or small) in a polite, firm, assertive manner - but not to walk away in silence nor to be agressive and stroppy. Without talking politely and positively to each other, both parties are likely to become losers.

The client who phoned V is demonstrating precisely how not to go about complaining; although even then he did learn where the problem actually lay and V learnt why he had not had feedback from that client. A little positive outcome from a nasty ill-mannered client.

A large Company with lots of staff ("customer-facing-support") might be expected to phone and chase up the client with the kind of service Growler gets in Phillipines (Did Sir receive the draft we sent 2 days ago? Has Sir any comments or amendments? Can we be of help and pick up your amended copy?). But then that would cost a lot more in fees and you would whingers posting here that they had been fleeced for this service.


Value my car