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East Anglia: Electricals retailer Hughes celebrates success of ‘Smart Home’ service

12:12 14 April 2014

Hughes Smart Home manager Ashley Shorey-Mills.

Hughes Smart Home manager Ashley Shorey-Mills.

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East Anglia-based electricals retailer Hughes has hailed a successful first year for a new service aimed at the home entertainment market.

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Hughes, a member of the EADT/EDP Top100 listing of the leading companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, launched ‘Smart Home’ to help people who are confused or unsure about the array of home entertainment equipment available.

Hughes manager Ashley Shorey-Mills, who was tasked with getting the new service up and running, said that while there were similar services targeted at the wealthy nobody was catering for the mass market.

“The concept was very simple; send one of our experienced team to a customer’s home to discuss with them what they want from home entertainment, look at the layout of the house and then come back with recommendations,” he said.

“There are lots of people out there who are confused about what is available, not sure exactly what they want or simply do not have the time to find out.

“We offer good old-fashioned customer service where we visit the customer at home at a time convenient to them, and come back and see them to discuss our recommendations and it also gives the opportunity for us to demonstrate that equipment.

“People really do like this kind of service and it is for everyone, whatever their budget. We helped a retired couple with a new wall-mounted TV, DVD and soundbar which gave them much more space in their living room.

“Another customer was a lady who was renovating a cottage from a shell and we worked with her to ensure all rooms were wired up, with cabling hidden and the property ‘future proofed’ when it came to technology.”

He added: “This led us to talk to house builders because we can ensure any cabling is hidden before the new buyers move in and everything is ready for them to plug their equipment into.”

The service is free to the customer, with no obligation to buy. Hughes Smart Home now has three full-time employees and vans in its own livery and will soon have its own dedicated website, with other marketing initiatives to follow.

“While we were optimistic there would be a demand we knew there were no guarantees for its success,” said Mr Shorey-Mills.

“We have been delighted with how the new concept has gone over the last year and are looking forward to the future with confidence. Over the next 12 months we plan to double the turnover which will inevitably mean us taking on extra staff.”

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