Stoneham is a unique, customer friendly town. I say this because the two times I’ve been there, I enjoyed it.
The town is modern, yet retains a quaint feel. It is full of all the restaurants I would want along with real grocery stores.
And I had two Golden Rule experiences in one hour.
I went to see Dr. Pizzarello. This was my first time there and I was nervous because I never know what I will get in a professional the first time. Even my initial experience on the phone with his receptionist could not tell me much about being “in the chair.”
I should have known better. His receptionist (and I really should call her something like “Pre-Dental Experience Expert”), helped me more than she needed to. When I first called for an appointment, she asked about my insurance. I realized I had never received my insurance card! I thought I was covered by one company. She offered to call them and deal with it for me. Wow.
Most medical offices make it clear that billing and insurance is my problem, especially if I don’t have my card. I was prepared to call them myself, of course, but she took care of it within an hour. It was bad news: I wasn’t covered. I said I’d call her back once I figured it out. And I did a few days later, because she practiced the Golden Rule: helping me as she would want to be helped.
The day before, I mapped it out and saw that driving to Stoneham takes 30 minutes. What was I thinking? That’s far for a dentist. I had made the appointment and was going to go through with it.
When I arrived, I used their bathroom, conveniently in the foyer. Fantastically clean. That’s a good start for any medical professional. Then, the receptionist shook my hand, introduced herself, and said how great it was to have me there. As I looked around the waiting room, I saw iMacs running Windows, a clean organized office, and a clean practice. This was reassuring without being obvious. A dirty or disorganized office is a fast indicator of a potentially poor practice and a poor dentist.
While my teeth were being cleaned, the hygienist asked if I knew about Dr. Pizzarello’s practice. When I said I did not, she told me the history of the practice and their philosophy toward customers. Dr. Pizzarello’s story is easy enough. The fact that the hygienist took the time to share it with me is unique, even if I thought it was something she was trained to do.
Why share this story? Stories help build emotional connections as well as recall. I remember it well: Dr. Pizzarello and his wife started the practice in 1995 and then bought the house they are in now, they live above. They had kids and hired another dentist. The unspoken part, which was increasingly clear, is how much they care about their patients.
I did my best to avoid the x-ray. All dentists want (need) to do this the first time. Instead of just telling me to deal, the hygienist suggested putting salt on my tongue to help ease the gag reflex during the x-rays. Wow. That made this visit so much less painful and stressful. The entire time she explained exactly what she was doing and why. She put me at ease with stories and questions about the town.
Dr. Pizzarello then examined me and offered some helpful advice and asked for feedback on his waiting room. Since my teeth were doing well, he did not spend much time with me, however, his manner made me feel that I was in good hands.
Dr. Pizzarello and his wife clearly hire for the golden rule attitude with friendliness unmatched by any other dentist or hygienist I’ve encountered.
At the end, I was given travel toothpaste, a brush, and floss in a real bag. So I learned a new use for salt and gained free dental care tools. Wow. This is the Zappos of Dentists. I recommend this practice to anyone in the area.
Oh but there’s more.
So I stopped at the Dunkin a mile down the road. Of course, in Boston, it’s hard to walk ten feet without finding a Dunkin. Usually Dunkin is what it is: coffee and donuts, fast, sometimes efficient, rarely remarkable.
The Stoneham Dunkin closest to the town center was different. It was busy with people enjoying their friends. There was no line and I was greeted in a friendly manner by two cashiers. They both helped and were quite apologetic when they did not have a sugar raised and quickly offered other options. They smiled the entire time and made me feel welcome.
That’s how a franchisee should run their business. They made me feel the way I would want others to feel in my store: welcome. They were friendly and efficient.
Stoneham is a great place to practice the Golden Rule. Drive on over.