A trip report from John, a new friend of ours.
John left a review online for us a few months back and we were so encouraged that we reached out to him to hear a bit more about his experience and what moved him to write the review. We hope you enjoy it.
Admittedly, I am not usually known as “Mr. Review Leaver”. The thing is, while good reviews are a necessity for businesses, they often fall into the realm of being ridiculous tirades. I’ve seen reviews written by people for Mobil gas stations in Monroe NY, and Wendy’s drive-thru’s in Pembroke NH; I’ve even seen reviews written for rest stops. If you read through the Yelp reviews of a corporate business, or somewhere as obscure as the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, chances are it’s a complaint lobbed by a disgruntled customer who needs to have their grievances aired. They may think they’re doing the world a service, but for a company as large as Mcdonald’s, business will continue as usual, regardless of two-star experiences. The same cannot be said for small businesses that need good reviews in order to stay alive.
Working in the customer service industry myself, I do understand the value of reviews. After my first appointment at BSDA, I wrote one for them. I did it because the experience genuinely left an impression on me, and also because I wanted to be an encouragement to them to keep doing good work. Their philosophy of becoming “dental friends” changed my view of what a dentist experience could be.
So, when they reached out to me to elaborate on my experience, I did it without hesitation. I hope you enjoy it and experience the same welcome and friendship at BSDA that I did.
A Newcomer’s Homecoming
My family moved from Philadelphia to the Biddeford Saco area around the new year. Being originally from Maine, returning after a lifetime away was a long looked for homecoming. Most of my career was in the military, which took me all over the country and world, but that’s another story. Even though I grew up in Maine, we still had to go through the process of setting up shop and making this new town home, finding the right grocery stores, schools, doctors, and, yes, a dentist. In Philly, for the past 10 years, that was an easy question because we happened to find the best dentist around, and they were literally 50 yds up the block from our house. So I doubted finding a new place here was going to be so easy. To make things harder, I moved up to the area with one of our kids to get things established 6 months before my wife came up with the rest of the family. She’s usually the one that takes care of this stuff, so I had Man-Up and bravely set out in search of dental care!
From online reviews to the exam room
So, I did what everyone does and bravely powered up my laptop and jumped online to look for a place with a significant number of good reviews to see if it’d be a place we’d like. BSDA popped up, and what they said on the website about friendship was appealing. But marketing slogans are so often designed just to give a feeling but don’t actually relate to reality on the ground. However, when I went for my first appointment, the friendship thing was in the back of my head. It sounded great, but we’d see if it wasn’t just slick marketing.
Scene two, I’m sitting in the waiting room watching people come in. As they did, they were literally, to a one, greeted by their first name and chatted with as if they were known. I felt like the new kid in a club where everybody’s been friends for life. I was the only one that they didn’t know . . . yet. The thought that came to mind was, “This isn’t just what they say on the website; they actually mean this friendship thing!”
Heading back to the exam room, it was what you’d expect, a thorough and thoughtful conversation with the Doc. She was already conversant with my history (not the greatest due to a chronic sweet tooth), which she had reviewed from my record transfer which was smooth and easy. She got a good sense of the situation, looked at my teeth, and we had a relaxed conversation about the various issues and options for taking care of things.
As the plan came together, I felt totally involved in the decision-making; she wanted me to be comfortable with the course of action. They even went in and looked at my insurance and figured out what coverage looked like, given the new job and insurance plan. They came up with a time frame that would make sure it all got covered. Again this is something that “Mrs. Review Leaver” usually handles. I’m clueless on that front and was grateful I didn’t have to call her on my way home to help sort it out.
I needed a follow-up appointment to get to work on a few things. I almost got whiplash from what they offered. I was there on a Monday or Tuesday, I think. They had availability on Friday, and could have my work finished within a week. Their level of efficiency was astounding. Working in customer service, I know the value of a quick response. The time until the next appointment availability is a crucial piece of the equation. Making it happen takes organization, efficiency, and enough staff working together smoothly to handle the workload. BSDA obviously has all three of these.
One more little story to sum it up:
Heather was my hygienist and was great. She was efficient, competent, and just pleasant to be around. Throughout the appointment, there was the normal chit-chat while she was doing everything she needed to do, x-rays and such. I told her I was new to the area. She has kids; I have kids. We hit on common themes. It’s a bit funny to say, but she was so friendly that when we scheduled my next cleaning and she offered the first date available with another hygienist, it felt wrong. I felt that there had been some rapport built and that a “dental friendship” had started. So I (half) jokingly said, “Hey, I thought we were friends. Shouldn’t I come back and see you, not someone else!?”
She laughed and gave me her next available slot. It was a funny moment, not one I’d have expected at a dental office. It was striking because usually I’d never give a thought to who my hygienist would be on the next visit, but even more so, that I’d feel like that would be appropriate to even half-jokingly request it like this. But hey, they really mean this friendship thing, and, after all, our family is new to the area, so we could use a few new friends.