Optician Awards: A well-oiled machine

Andrew McCarthy-McClean speaks to Nisha Rach about how the roots of great care stem from the family tree

Optometrist Anil Rach, second from left, collecting the Optical Assistant Team trophy

Front of house staff are the face of any optical practice and the Optical Assistant Team of the Year category in the Opticians Awards recognises those who create a welcoming environment for patients. Nisha Rach, director and dispensing optician at the award-winning Rach Optometrists in Glenrothes, tells Optician that teamwork comes naturally at the practice.

‘We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. The whole team and I feel that this is an amazing achievement. As a small, family-run business, we work hard to make sure we are all providing excellent customer service and winning an award like this just makes it hit home how well we really do that,’ she says.

Perhaps the secret to Rach Opticians’ successful teamwork stems from being a family practice. Rach’s parents, Alyson and Kirit, started the business in 1987. Rach joined as an optical assistant in 2012 and qualified as a dispensing optician in 2016, which was also sadly the same year as when Kirit passed away.

‘I know that Kirit would be proud of everything we have achieved in the last eight years. My brother, Anil qualified as an optometrist earlier this year and now works with us full time and my husband also helps when required. So, when we say “family run”, we really mean it,’ Rach adds.

The family feel extends to the members of the team who are not related and Rach says they, and their patients, are treated like extended family members. ‘Having a team that works well together is imperative to being able to provide the level of customer service that we provide, and our team operates like a well-oiled machine.

'This is down to regular communication, regular updates and just generally treating each other with respect. I don’t think there is much to it when it comes to working well together, but maybe I’ve been lucky with having such an excellent team,’ Rach explains.


Ongoing service

Rach says the optical assistant team aims to provide perfect customer service from the very first point of contact, whether it is a phone call, an email or when someone pops in to see them. ‘They have excellent knowledge, endless patience and a desire for everyone to leave the practice delighted with their new eyewear. And if they are not, we fix it.

‘The service is continued throughout the patient’s entire journey with us. It doesn’t end once they’ve left after their eye test, or after they’ve collected their new glasses. This is something that should be ongoing. Regular communication with loyal customers is essential to keeping them loyal.

‘We always work to our strengths and learn from our weaknesses. I have undertaken training to become an eyewear stylist, Anil has worked hard to create a myopia management clinic and is currently working on opening a dry eye clinic, two of our optical assistants are currently doing some training to become dispensing assistants. We are always looking for ways to improve so that we can provide the best services for our customers.’


Continued excellence

Unfortunately, only Anil was able to attend the Optician Awards in London as it was a couple of days before Rach’s wedding. Thankfully, Anil did not experience any problems travelling back to Scotland to celebrate his sister’s ceremony with the rest of the practice team.

‘The whole team were at the wedding and we managed to have a little toast and dance to celebrate winning. There has been a lot happening in the business since December, so we are still planning to have a more official celebration soon,’ Rach says.

Rach adds that the practice will continue to work on providing excellent eye care, customer service and products. ‘We are always looking for new, niche eyewear and are always up to date with our lens knowledge. As Alyson slowly looks to retire, Anil and I plan to take over the business and continue the legacy our parents created and hopefully continue to be award winning,’ she says.

Rach says that entering the Optician Awards was an excellent way to boost team morale and shows patients their dedication to the profession. ‘I think it’s a good way to recognise your team and show them how much you value them. It’s certainly got our patients talking. We have also gained some new patients since winning the award, and it has boosted our reputation further in our area,’ Rach adds.