White goods, TV and Hi-fi retailer Hughes Electrical has implemented new online customer service software to boost its Hughes Direct website.
The family-run business made £50m in sales from its 33 shops and internet arm last year. But 40% of its annual online turnover is generated in between mid-November and the first week of January.
Hughes has installed Ask a Question software from Transversal to improve its customer service and lift sales in the crucial peak months.
The software allows website visitors to tap into the company’s expert product knowledge by providing instant responses to online customer queries and has already led to a 40% reduction in customer email enquiries.
Hughes Direct customer staff are now able to update, revise and expand the information on the site easily and have already created a bank of 500 online questions and answers.
Simon Cox, managing director at Hughes Direct, said: "Meeting the surge in demand we see at Christmas is critical for our business. In previous years, our online customer service team has been flat out answering the sheer number of enquiries - and we expect 2007 to be even busier.
"As best-selling electrical products such as flat panel and HD-TVs become more complex we needed a solution that made it easier for our customers to find the information they want immediately."
The new software had released customer staff to deal with more complex enquiries, he added.
Hughes website development bucks the trend for smaller businesses, which often have a poor online presence. A survey earlier this year found that six out of 10 SMEs did not believe their websites reflected their corporate brand.