New Which? research reveals the best and worst places to buy glasses, with independents coming top – closely followed by a well know chain that may surprise you.
Independent optician shops topped our survey with a customer satisfaction score of 88%, with wholesale co-operative Costco not far behind in second place, on 86%.
Our survey revealed big differences between major high street brands and supermarkets. Specsavers came near the middle of the table with a customer score of 72%. But Tesco Opticians, Scrivens and Optical Express got our worst customer scores, with the lowest at 59%.
The survey is based on the views of over 5,409 Which? members in March 2014. Which? members can check out the eleven best and worst optician shops and learn how their customers rated them in areas from value for money, to price, to product quality.
The top-scoring stores are all about convenient appointments, punctuality, great products and value for money. And if budget is your main concern, we had two stores getting five-star ratings for price.
But value can mean more to customers than price and special offers. One optician store was rated only average for price, but good value for money overall as customers praised it for staff skill, communication and customer service.
And only one was rated as excellent for customer service, staff skill and communication. Its staff were more likely to fix a problem with glasses at no extra cost (54% of those who complained, compared to 47% of stores overall).
To see find out more, head to best and worst optician shops.
Worst optician stores
Optical Express, Scrivens and Tesco were the worst rated opticians, with the former two rated poorly on value for money and price.
One Scrivens customer said: ‘I was “sold” far too much, persuaded to buy glasses when I was looking for contact lenses and only then given vouchers which would’ve discounted my glasses.’
And Tesco Opticians lagged behind all others in the survey for its customer service.
Which? magazine editor Richard Headland, said: ‘Not all optician stores are the same and we found big differences between them. The best one for you will depend on what you are looking for – whether it is value for money or the quality of the overall experience.’
Buying ‘extras’ at the optician
Four in five of customers were offered ‘extras’ on their visit to the opticians – for example, additional coatings or digital retinal photography. Of these, 9% felt pressured into accepting extras and 25% felt the extras made the cost more than expected.
To make sure you get a good deal at the opticians, from choosing quality frames to whether you really need to spend on extras, read our top five tips from expert optometrists on buying glasses.