Another year of record-high customer retention rates and overall growth will be the focus for Specsavers in Mansfield, as they enter the New Year with plans to continue building on their ambitious business plans.

Partners in success

Specsavers at 55 Westgate has seen their market share growing at a rate of 12% year-on-year since they opened the store in 1992. Store director, Imogen Hoyle, explained: ‘We have seen a period of rapid growth for the store, and much of that has been down to the unique nature of the Specsavers Joint Venture Partner (JVP) scheme.

‘This allows us to manage a locally-run business while offering very affordable optical and audiology services to the Mansfield community. We then have the benefit of being able to tap into support from specialist offices when we need it for, say, marketing or IT help.’

This JVP structure, pioneered by Specsavers founders Dame Mary and Doug Perkins, ensures that the store directors can concentrate fully on delivering the best optical and hearing care to their customers. For the team at Mansfield, this has been reflected by increasing customer retention rates, currently at 93% at the end of 2016.

Planned expansion

The store’s ambitious growth plans include an expansion next year, which will create five additional test rooms and a dedicated audiology test room, incorporating the very latest technology. They have also won some NHS tenders.

‘It’s a testament to the resilience of the business model that we are able to continue to offer high quality services to the community during a turbulent financial period,’ continued Imogen.

‘For us, it has meant that we have been able to offer an extended service to our customers, including NHS eyecare appointments for people suffering from minor eye conditions. We are very proud to have achieved this, taking our clinical expertise a stage further with the added benefit of helping to reduce the pressure on our local GP surgeries and other NHS services.

‘Hand-in-hand with this, we have been able to expand our team and support staff through enhanced training to gain higher qualifications, nurturing home-grown talent in our local community. Some of our team members have been with us for 20 years, while others like our hearing assistant, Tiffany, started at the store aged 18 and recently qualified in her new role. We are now sponsoring her audiology degree to become a fully qualified audiologist.’

Staff development

The team were recently recognised for their focus on staff development, by being awarded Platinum Employer status. The store was externally assessed against five benchmarks in different areas of the employee experience, including talent management, recruitment and induction, and performance management and reward. 

Specsavers director of HR, Mark Moorton, said: ‘The Platinum Employer scheme is an exciting new addition to our extensive portfolio of training and development programmes, helping our staff to benefit from the opportunity of a full-career journey from entry-level to store owner.’

Looking ahead

‘Looking forward into 2017, we have a lot of momentum to continue achieving our business goals,’ said Imogen. ‘While we achieved some key objectives last year, we will by no means be taking our eye off the ball, and will be aiming to continue growing as a business and serving our local community.’

All Mansfield store information