Peter Taylor is store director of Specsavers in Elgin. Read on to find out more about Peter and your local opticians.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I have three kids (ages six, three and one) so that’s pretty much all my free time taken up right there! Although I do spend the odd evening on some woodworking projects which I’m teaching myself. I started off with some garden furniture and I’m now onto desks and beds - the design aspect in particular is great for focussing my brain after a long day.
How did you come to run a Specsavers store?
I’ve been in retail for 25 years now and after moving to Ireland in 2000, I managed a Specsavers store in Limerick for a year. My wife was an optometrist in the sister store and they wanted a new manager so I applied and got the job.
The vision and values just blew me away in terms of a ‘customer first’ business model that puts the customer and its colleagues at the heart of the whole operation.
On returning to the UK there weren’t any similar opportunities but the experience stayed with me and in 2010 I successfully completed stage one of the process of becoming a Specsavers director of my own store, after deciding that was the way to go.
Then in 2013, after waiting for the right opportunity to come along, we found out about Elgin becoming available and it wasn’t difficult to decide on moving up from Glasgow after falling in love with Moray.
Do you wear specs, and if so, what is your favourite style?
I don’t wear specs but love helping patients with frame selection. I have a real soft spot for some Gant aviators with a tortoiseshell side and gold metal front – they look amazing as sun specs with a brown tint. I’m also a big fan of Karen Millen as they’re such classic styles with subtle but striking design.
What does your job at Specsavers involve?
My role involves being a jack of all trades, I’ve unblocked toilets and I’m the go to IT guy in the store as well as pretty much anything else. Every day presents unique and interesting challenges that mean you’ll never get bored.
Most of what I do is interacting with patients and colleagues, you never waste time getting to know your patients and colleagues better and it never ceases to amaze me the stories they have to tell. It’s a very satisfying role and one I feel I’m well suited to.
What does an eye test involve?
It starts with pre-tests done outside the testing room to check for inter ocular pressure and a basic prescription, then you are in to the optician who, in Scotland, not only finds your prescription but conducts a wide range of general and ocular health checks. Other aspects can involve colour vision, filling out forms for medicals and DVLA to mention a few.
The optician has to take the time to listen and understand each patient’s needs and then share that with their colleagues. They then help the patient with frame selection or any other checks they might need, such as peripheral vision checks. We also have dedicated clinics for our contact lens patients.
Why is it so important to get your eyes checked regularly?
Regular eye tests can pick up a patient at risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts to mention just a few conditions. The earlier these are diagnosed and managed the better the outcome for the patient and this also puts less pressure on acute NHS services. So it’s not just about updating your prescription but a valuable and free health check.
Does your store also offer hearing services?
Yes, since February 2014 in Elgin, and we also now serve Specsavers stores in Dingwall, Inverness and Nairn. Two of our hearing team have just completed their HAD training which is great as we are getting busier by the day.
Who should consider getting a hearing test?
Anyone over 40 that feels things aren’t as sharp as they were, often it’s friends and family that start pointing out the TV volume is creeping up or you might have noticed you are struggling with conversations in larger groups.
We offer a free 15 minute screening appointment to conduct an initial assessment and discuss your concerns and decide if a full free 60 minute test is required. Under 40’s are still very welcome to come and talk to us and we can offer some advice.
How can patients book an eye or hearing test?
You can book over the phone or in store, our high street location means that a lot of our patients book in person. We’ve also added online booking now at https://www.specsavers.co.uk/book/elgin which is proving very popular.