Olivia Booth is an Optical Assistant who recently moved from a department store retail role to join us. She’s loving using her fantastic people skills to have a more direct and positive impact on her local community
What interested you most about the Optical Assistant role?
A lot of people over the pandemic found themselves in the same position as me, working in retail during a really uncertain time. I was also at the point where I wanted to try something new, something that would challenge me compared to my previous retail roles.
When the Optical Assistant job came up, I was intrigued. Both my parents are from medical backgrounds – my mum’s just celebrated 40 years working in the NHS – whereas I’m a performing arts graduate so I went in a slightly different direction. But I’m very much a people person. It was explained to me when I was going through the interview process that being able to communicate with a wide range of people and deliver great service for them is an important part of the role.
It’s been a big step up for me, not only with the clinical knowledge but with applying my people skills to a new setting, and I’m loving it.
Why did you choose to join Specsavers from your previous retail job?
I’ve worn glasses since I was about three years’ old. Me and my family have always been with Specsavers, we’d always found them extremely reliable and friendly, no matter which branch. It’s a name you can trust, and it has that reputation behind it, so that was the first box I checked when I was initially looking for a job.
And the technical side of things is something that really, really intrigued me. The role is a balance of the customer-facing side of things, which is what I’d got in the bag already, and the clinical and technical aspects.
How much have you thought about your own career progression here at Specsavers?
I’ve only been here for about four months but I’m already at the stage where I’m confident in terms of dispensing. The team here are really encouraging. They say, ‘Right, OK, do you want to try this? Do you want to progress? You’ve learned this so far, do you want to move up to this level? Go for it’. They’re all behind me.
Looking ahead, I’d love to become a dispensing optician. There are a couple of guys who I’m working with who are at different stages through that journey, so it’s really encouraging to see that you can progress your career at Specsavers with incredible suppport. If you want to learn and you want to go further, everyone here is behind you.
At Specsavers you know the team, you know your fellow Optical Assistants and the management team really well, even at director level. You’re working in what seems like a family.
How does your role impact your local community?
What we do at Specsavers makes a difference to people’s lives. I noticed pretty quickly how my role is much more meaningful than what I’ve done before.
Even though I’ve only been here a short time, people come back to me and you get to know familiar faces who trust you. For older patients who’d been shielding during the pandemic and had been cut off from their community, it means the world to them – and to me – that we’re there for them.
In terms of making a difference in the community, it can be the simple things. Obviously helping someone with their eyesight is the number one priority but it’s often the little things, particularly after the tough time people have had in the pandemic. As long as we’re meeting and exceeding customer expectations, it really does make such a difference for them. We have a store communications group chat where we get feedback from the day’s reports. It’s such a nice way of finding out how what we do can make a difference, from the small things like changing a nose pad to completely fixing someone’s sight.