Online Handbag Retailer – Case Study


Manufacturer and retailer of quality leather handbags, selling to both retail units and more recently to the end consumer via their new website. Renowned for the vibrant colours of their handbags, they recently expanded their range to include leather purses, makeup bags and sunglass cases.

A family business, based just outside of Manchester, they have been manufacturing handbags for over 10 years mainly to retail outlets. The whole manufacturing process from start to finish is done from their UK unit and nothing is outsourced abroad, this allows them to focus on quality, unique design and quickly responding to the ever shifting styles and fashion.

Online sales growing but customer service suffering

Up until 2019 they had focussed mainly on selling in bulk to retail units but with the growth on online competition they decided to also start selling direct via a new website. This had been a fairly long-term project, however with the Covid outbreak and subsequent lockdown in early 2020, events overtook them and their largely unfinished website suddenly became their main source of new business.

As demand from their usual retail buyers dried up with lockdown, the development of their online business went into overdrive with all focus being on making it user-friendly and accessible via Google and other search engines.

By late summer 2020 their website was starting to attract more and more visitors and sales started to pick up. What they hadn’t accounted for was the added level of customer service needed for dealing with the end consumer; from general enquiries about their handbags, to delivery questions and problems ordering online. They soon realised that they weren’t equipped to deal with this in-house and searched online for a solution.

Having come across our website, they contacted us and found that not only do we offer telephone answering but also outsourced customer service duties.

Stitching a leather handbag

Outsourcing to a virtual receptionist before the Christmas rush

By October the level of customer service their online sales were requiring was starting to cause real issues with many complaints stemming not from the quality of their product but from their inability to respond to clients. With Christmas fast approaching they contacted Connect and a free trial of our call answering service was quickly set up.

Our team worked with the client to put together a bespoke script and instructions for how calls were to be handled by our professional virtual receptionists.

Connect operators answer calls, place orders and track deliveries.

The first thing we did was set up an IVR menu on the client’s telephone number. The reason for this was threefold:

  1. Being greeted with a menu asking the caller to “press 1 for sales”, “2 for accounts” etc gives the impression of a far larger business- exactly what our client had requested.
  2. By asking the caller to tell us, or at least tell the automated menu system, which department is needed it allows our systems to get the caller to the correct person as quickly as possible.
  3. Planning ahead, if after Christmas our client feels able to answer more calls themselves, or a particular type of call (already filtered by the menu) then they can be sent to them first, if unanswered then calls can still come through to Connect.

Our receptionists were able to track and place new orders, answer frequently asked questions and provide callers with the confidence that they were dealing with a reputable online supplier of quality leather handbags.

The free trial only actually lasted 10 days before our client signed up early on our CS:250 tariff (Customer Service:250), keen to have everything in place for the Christmas rush. It’s expected that at some point in January or February they will drop down to a lower tariff, exactly why we offer a monthly rolling contract.

Page Last Updated: March 8th, 2023