Overall Excellence Customer First winners - Abi's story

Posted in Stores on April 03, 2017
Author: Lifeatspecsavers

Overall Excellence Customer First winner #2

Dame Mary Perkins has selected her Overall Excellence Customer First Award winners for 2016.

Every December Dame Mary Perkins will select one or more Customer First winners from throughout the year to receive a special prize, to be recognised as the best of the best of the best.

In 2016, Dame Mary selected three individuals:

  • Amelia Kendrick from Chorley
  • Hayley Lythgoe from Haverfordwest
  • Abi Ballentyne from Middlebrook Hearing Centre

These three winners each received a personalised trophy, a £50 Amazon Gift Card and a certificate signed by Doug, Dame Mary and John Perkins. They were also invited to the support office in Guernsey to receive their awards from Dame Mary and John, have a tour of the office and meet some of teams.

Dame Mary said: ‘When Specsavers started, it made sense to have a vision and values which were to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself. It’s quite a difficult thing to do with the volumes of people that come into our stores. To go one step further is absolutely incredible, because that is exceeding customer expectations.’

The retail communications team spoke to Amelia, Hayley and Abi about their inspiring examples of customer service, and about what it means to put the customer first. In the second of three interviews, here’s Abi’s story.

Abi was nominated by hearing aid dispenser Tina Saxton and originally won an Excellence award in round 2 for her personal care and culinary skills during a home visit.

Tina tested an elderly gentleman as a home visit but due to other commitments she sent Abi to do the hearing aid fit. This was arranged as her last appointment of the day, but when she arrived at the customer’s house, she realised that it wasn’t going to be a quick visit.

Abi said: ‘The customer must have been in his 90s. His daughter is usually at his house, but she was sick so she couldn’t be there. I first went to her house to pick up the keys, then drove to his home.

‘When I got there, the TV was on really loud and I couldn’t find him at first. I managed to get his attention while he was in the kitchen and I could see he was in the middle of making his tea. His daughter would normally help him with his food but she obviously couldn’t be there. He was only making fish fingers and chips, but I knew it would have taken him quite a long time, so I helped him.’

After the fitting, Abi stayed with him to make sure he was safe and could hear well.

She said: ‘I did get home quite late but I didn’t mind. It’s not often I do home visits. It’s just what you do – the patient comes first.’

Abi had been nominated for her Customer First award in secret, and only found out she’d won when she was told at a team meeting.

Although she’s based in Middlebrook, Abi also works at the Chorley, Bolton and Leigh stores, but states that her trophy will take pride of place in the Middlebrook store. She also relished the chance to visit the Guernsey office. ‘It was very exciting,’ she said. ‘You don’t normally get an opportunity like this. It just shows hard work pays off.

‘The trip was great and I felt privileged to be part of the special day. It was nice to see and meet the “behind the scenes” teams and to be awarded by Dame Mary herself!’

Abi has been at Specsavers almost five years. When she joined she worked in optics, but has been a hearing care assistant for almost three years, and believes in the importance of integrating the optics and hearing sides of the business. She said: ‘I was asked if I wanted to do the HCA course as I was one of the only dispensers who would touch a hearing aid! I did the course and I enjoyed it.’