Electronics retailer smooths online Christmas rush

Electronics retailer smooths online Christmas rush

Customer email enquiries are down by 40 per cent due to improved web site information

Electronics retailer Hughes Direct has invested in online customer service software to help meet the demands of the busy Christmas period.

The internet arm of the business has cut customer email enquiries by 40 per cent using Transversal’s Ask a Question software to make it easier to find information.

The system has also boosted sales and reduced costs.

About 40 per cent of the company’s annual online turnover is generated between mid-November and the first week of January, and the firm’s customer service team is traditionally overstretched by the surge in demand.

The company was determined that it would not repeat the experience of last year, according to Hughes Direct general manager Simon Cox.

“Over the past four Christmases the online arm of the business has grown and the pressure of dealing with email enquiries has become worse.

“After last year we knew we could not go through another one like that,” he said.

The enquiry software allows customers to receive instant responses to questions entered on the site. It went live in September, and so far Hughes Direct has created a bank of more than 500 answers.

‘We have a win-win situation ­ customer service has improved, as has our efficiency, and we can manage the business better,” said Cox.

“If we maintain the 40 per cent reduction in email enquiries it will make this Christmas period much easier,’ he said.

The system allows the service team to spend more time focusing on improving call centre performance. While 90 per cent of calls are answered within 30 seconds during the summer, that drops to 65 per cent in the festive season.

With the new system up and running, performance is now running at about 89 per cent, said Cox.

"Answering the phone in a timely manner is a big thing for us," he said.