Going the extra mile: Graeme’s story

Back in October, Graeme Mckenzie, a domiciliary optical assistant from Dundee, won the Dame Mary Perkins award for Outstanding Clinical Customer Care. He’s proud of what he does although he admits his journey to Home Visits wasn’t straight forward.

Graeme Mckenzie, domiciliary optical assistantSome people know what they want to do from an early age. Others, like myself, take a few twists and turns before finding their true calling. 

After finishing school, my first job was delivering beer for my father’s business. That didn’t go too well for me (or Dad). Then I started working on the hot food counter in a supermarket. I got to know the manager of the in-store optical service. He could see that I had a way with customers, but I was bored. So, he offered me a retail role in his team.

I really enjoyed working there and eventually moved on to an independent optician. While it was lots of fun working on the high street, I got to a point where I wanted a change. I was looking for something new, but I didn’t know what that would be until it came along.

I joined LinkedIn and started building my network. I kept seeing more and more ads about Home Visits. It was around this time I connected with Colin, a domiciliary partner for Specsavers in the Dundee team. I got in touch with him wanting to know more. We had a chat and I ended up going on a taster day. I loved it and decided it was for me. Thankfully I got offered the job and took it with both hands.

Home Visits is the perfect fit 

It’s been almost a year since I joined and it’s going great. We cover the city and the surrounding Tayside area, which is good because I enjoy getting in the car and exploring the countryside.

Working in domiciliary is different to being in store. When you have a consultation in a high street practice, you make judgements based on what the customer is telling you.

When you’re invited into someone’s home, you’ve got more time with them and can see for yourself what their needs are – whether that’s reading, knitting, playing the piano, video calling family or just watching the telly. You’re able to see how things are set up and what equipment they use. This more personalised approach is much better for them. Plus, I can bring more of who I am to the role which is better for me. I provide the kind of service I’d want my gran to get.

A rewarding experience 

I love the fact I make people happy every day at work and I don’t expect anything back. So, I was really surprised when my boss told me he’d put me forward for the Dame Mary Perkins award for Outstanding Clinical Customer Care.

Graeme Mckenzie and Dame Mary Perkins

I was nominated after helping a customer with cancer. He was scheduled to receive his glasses at his home address, but unfortunately had to be taken to a hospital 20 miles away. When his wife told me this, I decided to deliver the glasses to him. His eyesight wasn’t great and there wasn’t much he could do while he was being treated, so I knew how important it was for him to be able to read. I was shocked when I won and received the award from Dame Mary herself. After all, I was just doing my job. 

Looking ahead, I’m not sure if I want to be a partner or work in the head office. In the meantime, I’ll continue to make sure my patients have a good experience – which is the Specsavers way.

Watch film