Midlands-based mail-order and retail group Software Warehouse will launch its own nationwide on-site technical service in April, dispensing with its third-party maintenance company Misys.
Software Warehouse On-site Technicians (Swot) - will be a chargeable service covering installation, training and technical support. The scheme aims to increase customer satisfaction, cut support costs and reduce returns - currently at six per cent of orders.
Customers who buy PCs from the company can take them to one of 15 stores to install peripherals, software and upgrades.
Steve Bennett, Software Warehouse MD, said he expects charges through the Swot system will be similar to now, but will include a call-out rate of about 35p per mile.
However, to achieve an affordable service for home users, the retailer will have to maintain an army of nationwide technicians.
'We'll be recruiting part-timers for the areas where we don't have stores,' said Bennett. 'We can train them at Coleshill and then guarantee them however many calls a week they can manage.' He is considering a recruitment drive at the Windows Show next month.
The move follows an initiative last year by Dixons Stores Group of a #29.99 installation service for PCs bought from its stores. In November 1997, it began piloting the service for free.
'Mail order is more than shifting boxes - it's becoming a service industry,' said Bennett.
Software Warehouse will also launch a 330-page, A6-size catalogue aimed at corporate customers. It will be mailed to 50,000 businesses next week as well as be available in retail outlets.
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