Budtenders have a lot to do; keeping back of house organized while maintaining an encyclopedic knowledge base around the products carried, and marrying it all together with amazing customer service. Managing every element of the balancing-act can be difficult, but with the influx of stores opening across the country, memorable customer experiences are key!
Here are some of my tips from half-a-decade in cannabis retail.
The Name Game
Poor memory is a bit of a professional hazard with all of the product tasting that can occur, leading to awkward interactions where a client remembers you, but you certainly don’t remember them - this can be off-putting for clients who had an amazing experience that stuck in their mind but may not be so memorable to you
Customer Profiles are an amazing tool to aid this; be sure to ask each of your clients to sign up so you can save the receipt alongside notes to aid your memory (or even allow colleagues to pick-up where you left off)! With the option for Direct Marketing to be turned-off(AKA turning off the emails/texts), there should be no reason why a client wouldn’t want to be entered in the system!
They really don’t want to sign up? Carry a small notebook where you can write down their name and a few basic descriptors after they leave to add a personal touch to your new regulars’ visits
Explore with Them
Customersoften come in with some sort of “Ask” - an idea of what they’re looking for. Maybe that’s “an oil without THC” or maybe that’s “the strongest joint in the whole store”. Most budtenders will simply show the product fitting the bill and hoping their first recommendation sticks. The issues arise as most clients may not be well versed in the legal market offerings or cannabis in general, they’ve been guided by other people’s testimonials about cannabis products and assume the same product that worked for their friend will work for them - but that just isn’t how cannabis works!
Taking time to ask a customer why they’re asking for the specific format gives the Budtender the opportunity to make sure the customers’ base knowledge is correct, and to be sure the product is going to provide them with the intended experience. A prime example is clients who ask for cannabis oil - many don’t know the difference between THC & CBD (or mix them up) which, as we all know, can lead to dramatically different effects.
With how much the industry shifts day-to-day, keeping up with the most recent knowledge is the key to maintaining amazing experiences. While the previous tips focused more on your customers who are new to the cannabis space, those who are more experienced will be coming to you for specific knowledge. The best way to keep up to date is through conversing with your teammates, the appropriate subreddit for your province, and the Budtenders Association website - which hosts events to gain hands-on experience as well as product specific information found in the Brand Library to learn more about what your store offers.