I am now halfway through my summer school placement with Boots, and learning more and more every day. Over the last couple of weeks I have had some challenging but constructive criticism, met last years summer school student and been to cover in a different store.
The great thing about the placement and the job is you never know who or what is going to walk through the door of your practice every day. The store I am at has a wide ranging customer base, lots of over 60's NHS patients (often with cataracts, glaucoma or another age related condition), to middle aged people who like the range of styles available, to people on benefits and children coming in for first few eye tests with a few emergency cases thrown in for good measure. Because of the wide range of customers it is important to be able to adapt your questioning style when doing check-ins and how you talk to customers when they collect glasses, I'm glad I've got 10 years retail experience as otherwise it can be very daunting.
I have started dispensing, just single vision at the moment, but everything has to start somewhere. Dispensing is that final stage in the customer's first visit to the store (second visit is collection) and the point when all the lifestyle questions and the recommendation from the optometrist all come together. This is when a good demonstration of all the upgrades is key, and whilst I haven't sold any yet I have done well with glasses cover. Whilst some people may see these upgrades as pushing unnecessary products to make money I have yet to see anyone promote anything that wouldn't be of use to a customer. I am really glad I can say that as pushy sales staff who slam customers with unnecessary products to hit targets or lie their own pockets really annoy me and I've seen a few.
Going to cover another branch was a good experience as it showed the consistency of approach throughout the company, even if the other branch did have an even more temperamental NCT than my usual one. Those things really are the bane of my existence at the moment. Port Talbot was small and quiet with just 2 of us and a locum in which was vastly different to Swansea with 2 optoms and about 6 of us on the shop floor. I made the most of it by having a look at other parts of the systems that I hadn't used before, like Glasses Studio, which I look forward to using soon.
Next week I have a visit to another Boots store planned, this time to see the links between a pharmacy and the opticians, and hopefully I will get a chance to speak to an audiologist as well so really see how the one health idea all comes together. I also look forward to dispensing multifocals, which at the moment seem a little daunting but then so did single vision before I did that.