Independent Thinking

When it comes to customer service, local independent opticians like us lead the way. That was the conclusion of a detailed report published recently by Which? – the UK’s leading consumer body. The report’s findings were based on a survey completed by over 5,400 Which? members, rating their experiences of eye tests and purchasing glasses or contact lenses over a three-year period.

Conducted in spring 2014, the Which? survey invited members to rate satisfaction with their current practice based on their most recent visit. It also asked whether or not patients would recommend the practice to a friend. When the survey’s results were analysed, local independent opticians emerged as clear winners with a customer satisfaction score of 88%! By contrast, the best-performing high street chain only attained a score of 72%, while another received just 59%.

Significantly, independent opticians were the only practices to achieve the highest ratings in customer service and staff skills, and were unbeaten in the areas of product quality, timekeeping and product choice. Independents even came out on top in terms of aftercare, as Which? reported that local practices were most likely to fix a problem with glasses without accepting any payment.

Another aspect of the Which? survey considered where to purchase new or replacement glasses. The conclusion was that patients should always buy frames and lenses from the practice that conducts their eye tests, as it can be harder to resolve eye care issues when patients divide their custom between different practices. This was acknowledged by the Optical Confederation’s chairman Don Grocott: “The eye examination that determines the correct glasses and contact lenses… provides the essential precise measurements to ensure that new glasses and contacts are always right”.