What you need to know about cannabis & customer service

Long gone are the days of underground meets, and swaps, waiting for the plug to roll up. Now, the cannabis market is growing more rapidly and legally than ever before. Today’s world of cannabis has quickly transformed into a legitimate market, with guests to serve and cannabis compliance to follow, putting business owners at a unique crossroads of implementing superior customer service while adhering to nuanced and sometimes complex regulations.

In order to boast a successful cannabis business, you must remain diligent when it comes to security, hiring and training a professional and efficient staff, and reducing industry risks, especially considering that these factors all contribute to top-notch customer service which keep consumers coming back for more. We’d like to help improve your dispensary’s customer service – as a start, here are 5 ways of enhancing the guest experience.

#1: Education Matters

For most medical cannabis or recreational customers, they’ll be making first-time purchases or visits to cannabis shops. So, not only will education be vital for their understanding of cannabis products, but their experience is even that much more important. Top cannabis dispensaries integrate cannabis education into their customer strategies to nurture comfort for possible purchases and for providing overall brand value.

To put education at the forefront for your cannabis store, it’s best to begin the information flow from the start, especially considering that 90% of shoppers research products online before purchasing. That could mean revamping your website to include product descriptions, blog articles on product recommendations, or posting about specific products on your social media feed.

In-person, the more you know about a product, the better your marijuana dispensary can help a customer with their wants and needs. Most cannabis products and brands now supply product information booklets or pamphlets (or will happily supply them upon request). Again, many customers will need help choosing which product type is best suited for them, so arming your staff with extensive knowledge is crucial.

#2: Frontline Staff 

Speaking of staff…a frontline of friendly, smiling faces is a must for providing a comfortable and pleasurable experience for cannabis customers. As we all know, first impressions go a long way in any industry, and cannabis is no different. For marijuana, a dispensary’s budtenders can make or break a customer’s chance of returning. So, supplying these employees, and other in-house staff members with the information and morale they need to provide exemplary service is paramount.

From hiring and ongoing training, to boosting a brand culture to which they want to contribute – you’ll want to treat your staff with extra TLC. Ensuring you have a diverse and welcoming environment will help customers feel comfortable in making their initial purchases, and walk away feeling like a part of the “family.” This needs to happen whether it’s their first-time or 99th time shopping.

Because you’re helping to sell an “experience,” or medical cannabis effects, a professional appearance, mannerisms and tone can help set customers at ease. Additionally, it is paramount that compliance – from check-in, ID verification and point-of-sale – is simple and seamless. Making this process efficient and painless for your customers will instill further trust and security with the purchases recommended and made. If you’re doubting the strength of these systems for your marijuana dispensary, mystery shoppers or professional third-party assistance is highly beneficial to your bottom line.

#3: Welcoming Aesthetic 

Marijuana dispensaries are quickly veering away from stereotypical designs, and implementing welcoming aesthetics that have been successful in other retail industries. In fact, cannabis shops are more modern and aesthetically pleasing than ever before, with many of the top dispensaries rivaling the Apple Store and other top retailers with their sleek design. Beyond just the initial design, in order to promote a positive experience for your customers, cannabis security and discretion can also go a long way.

This includes an inviting lobby, warm and comfortable designs, and even offering private areas for customer consultations. Remember, not all of your customers will be as confident with their knowledge and decisions as others, so including a store traffic flow fit for private conversations is ideal. Designing a space with a warm ambiance can help customers feel more at ease, and want to return for yet another satisfying experience. For security matters, exterior is just as important as interior since most purchases in the cannabis market are cash-based or cash-only.

#4: Communication & Presence 

Once a customer is a “part of the family,” or even prior to their visit, communication and presence can improve the overall experience and service. Most of the top dispensaries in cannabis states are now implementing customer interaction protocols like getting guest feedback, and providing outlets for communication online, or even on social media.

Establishing an online presence and open communication can nurture lifetime value from current or potential customers. This includes keeping your online menu up-to-date, being clear with hours of operation, procedures or policies, and making sure you’re easily searchable via Google. By capturing customers’ email addresses or cell number for texting, you can improve your post-purchase strategy by checking in to see if they have any questions, or reminding them of your presence with helpful tips or promotions.

#5: Elevating the Cannabis Customer Experience 

By elevating your marijuana dispensary’s service, you’re enhancing a unique and likely first-time experience for your cannabis customers, not only increasing their chance of returning, but also spreading the good word by mouth, or leaving an online review for positive promotion. This has a direct impact on any successful operation, and higher profits, too.

It’s no surprise that every new business owner has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Whether customer service is your “forte” or not, it’s always advisable to connect with a consultant or group who are experts in the field. Coyle offers unique quality assurance programs that have helped brands like MedMen, Cookies and MedCare better connect to the pulse of their customer, for improved service, experience and growth. Check out how we can help and connect with us, today.

© 2020 Coyle Hospitality Group. Reproduction of any material without written authorization is strictly prohibited.

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