In just the last few years, the cannabis industry has been entering what some would consider a Golden Age. As cannabis use is gradually de-stigmatized as the kind of criminal culture seen by many in the mainstream, there are still many challenges to overcome. As we know, there is more to cannabis distribution and use than what many might think. No longer is cannabis just for recreational use. Many people rely on it to control their pain and in conjunction with their doctor’s direction it has many therapeutic applications. As the benefits of cannabis become more well-known, people need an experience that is different from what they perceive as the drug culture of yesterday.
Even people familiar with the uses of cannabis, both medical and recreational, are still very much unaware of its vast assortment of applications and uses. The best way to educate and guide new users and old is through open communication. By actively listening, you can quickly gauge someone’s level of experience, from novice to even someone who might cultivate their own crop. Communication puts people at ease, and not being condescending or too scientific when talking about your product. Mastery of this comes with practice.
We experience customer service everyday. As the budtender, you are going to become the face of the cannabis industry to many people you encounter. Whether or not you are the first and last budtender they work with is widely dependent on the quality of your customer service. Always remember to be kind, open, and not making assumptions on someone’s comfort level of discussion will help you determine what their needs are and how they can be met. Remember too that even though you might have heard the same question a hundred times that day, it might be the first time your customer has asked it.
Knowledge of the product
Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you can reach customers and instill confidence in them that this is not some kind of dangerous activity. Overcoming the misconception that cannabis use is illicit and dangerous can only be done by dispelling ignorance. Any substance is dangerous when used to excess. From exercise to ibuprofen, information is key in providing a safe and enjoyable experience, if not one that is medically beneficial.
A common question customers want to know is THC levels. This is especially important when discussing edibles versus smoked and inhaled products. Many first time users will unwittingly try edibles, not knowing that the impact of the THC molecule is often stronger due to how the body metabolizes it, in contrast to inhaled use. In other words, the 75 year old grandmother is going to have a bad time if their first experience is too intense.
All those different jars of buds has been cultivated to do different things. Like a sommelier, you need to know the distinct notes and subtleties of the different varietals of bud and what they do. Knowing the difference from one varietal to the next can mean the difference in lowering someone’s risk of paranoia or being able to address something like appetite control.
Knowing more than just buds
When people first walk into a dispensary, they might be overwhelmed by the variety of things that can be found. Jars of buds, resins, oils, therapeutic creams, ointments, edibles, drinkables, and a constellation of pipes, containers, and other products are here. The sights, sounds, and multitude of things can be distracting. So get to know your dispensary and how to better accommodate the needs of your clientele. There might be a lot of things they never knew they needed, much less existed.
By maintaining a professional demeanor and developing a good presentation, you will become a first time customer’s guide to what you both should hope is a positive and enriching experience. Your language, intelligence, patience, and positive attitude will demystify what goes on in a dispensary and work to undo a century of demonization of what is truly a wonderful and versatile product. You will also earn the trust of your customers. Have faith in what you do and be a guide and a mentor to every person that comes in and you will see amazing results!
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