If you have been following me on twitter @MyGlassesAndMe then you would have known I was on a secret mission today and now I can reveal what it was… drum roll please… I was a secret shopper for Specsavers to test out their services and their eyewear. When I was contacted regarding this I definitely wasn’t going to turn it down because I was intrigued to see if they have changed because from my memories (about 10 years ago) I was very let down by them. Also I do like to get random eye tests done at various places just so I can compare, this seemed like a great opportunity.
High street chains, I have never been a massive fan but not because I think they are rubbish. It is simply because I have had some not so great experiences with them. I have been to Vision Express, Boots and Specsavers- basically pretty much all of them! However, my brother is actually a strong believer of high street chains as he has never had a problem with them, he still gets his eyes tested at Specsavers. Totally shocking… I know, I bet you wonder how do we get on? Simple really, both independents and chains have their pros and cons. Just like a coin, there is always two sides.
So… how did I get on today?
When I first walked in there my first impression was wow! This is a bit busy and I wonder if I was going to get a good service or not. I was about the 4th person in the queue waiting at reception to let them know I was there for my appointment but I literally waited about 10 seconds and someone came over to ease the queue, from then everything was very efficient. I had a quick look at glasses before my sight test and a lovely gentleman came to see if I needed help, I believe he was the store manager.
Now… I have had many sight tests and I have been to many different opticians so I do know what to expect. Since I have never been to this store (Colchester branch) it was very normal for them to ask me a few health questions and what my concerns are with my sight. If you only go for an eye test every 12- 24 months then I think it is a must to ask you those questions anyway because you can detect a lot of health related issues from a sight test. My concerns were that my vision doesn’t seem as sharp anymore and my eyes get quite dry- so the test began.
The machines they used were quite high- tec, none of this putting you in those hideous and heavy glasses whilst they flick different lenses infront of your eyes. However, before the test started they needed to check my glasses so the optometrist took them away into another room and I HATED siting in there and not being able to see much. For someone who needs glasses and not being able to see much, in an unfamiliar environment, even for only a minute it feels like a lifetime. I felt a bit vulnerable too- or is that just me? So maybe it’s a good idea to test the glasses in the same room too? Not sure how easy that will be.
Apart from that the sight test was good and thorough, they even checked if I could read things close to me which I never had before and each step was explained to me. Then they tested my eyes for dryness and they were dry. However this time they have offered me a solution as to how I can make it better whereas before with any other optician I have just been told “they are dry” and that’s it- no solution because my eyes have been dry for about 4-5 years. Now thanks to Specsavers I know how to make them better! It was a miracle moment!
The last thing which I was rather impressed with was a camera which takes a photo of the inside of your eyes then you get to see it on screen and it is explained to you (I never had that done before either). My eyes were healthy- thank god! Every patient will get this photo taken each time they visit and it is kept as a record so if there are changes to your eye health in the last 12-24months they will know about it which is good since a lot of things can be detected.
Overall I actually had a really good experience with Specsavers during my secret shopper visit and they have proved me wrong today. They have changed and improved sooooo much from the last time I went and the customer service was great, friendly and welcoming. They maybe still miss the “personal touch” compared to an independent optician but I guess Specsavers must see so many customers each day that it is hard to remember individuals. Another thing which bugged me was the choice of glasses, it was a bit dull but hey, maybe because I am a bit of a glasses snob. Saying that I was impressed with the Gok Wan range, they were definitely the most exciting and fashionable range going and also at a good price point.
I loved how every single staff member was wearing glasses too because nothing bugs me more than people working with glasses that don’t wear glasses- it is my pet hate! The staff were also very knowledgeable about all the collections available and knew what style suited me best which is exactly what you need! All in all the service was fab and if you don’t mind about the personal touch then go. If you want frames that are more exclusive and exciting then maybe it is not for you. It’s like fashion, if you see it in TopShop then thousands of people have probably got the same top!
Feel free to comment below on your experiences with a high street chains or with independents.