The cannabis industry is one of the most dynamic and rewarding places to be at this moment in history. As a member of a licensed cannabis retailer, you are one of the front-line faces of this new industry, and at times, the first-person customers will encounter.
You represent the licensed cannabis retailer’s values and should aim to excel in providing excellent service, knowing your licensed cannabis retailer’s product selection, and sharing your knowledge about how to use products wisely and safely.
You are responsible for a variety of customer-oriented tasks that also help support the day-to-day licensed cannabis retailer operations: you will interface with clients, promote sales and specials, and help manage and maintain the licensed cannabis retailer inventory.
A Dispensary Technician must be knowledgeable about the medical benefits of cannabis, provide product and industry knowledge, and help people find products to meet their personal needs. It is essential to have excellent customer service skills and a passion for learning about cannabis.
Primarily, you will be providing quality customer service to all customers by listening to and understanding their needs. You will never provide medical advice, but you will share relevant information to help individuals make informed decisions about their purchases.
In each interaction with a customer, you turn these values into action, this training contains general information about cannabis and best practices for handling products.
Do Not Give Medical Advice
The law is very clear that you must not act as a medical provider by providing medical recommendations. This means there are certain things that you can and cannot say, get very familiar with the following. You can do the following for customers:
- Assist with product selection.
- Share anecdotes and the experience of other customers.
- Describe the risks and benefits of administration methods and provide instruction on proper use.
- Describe strains, cannabinoids, and terpene profiles.
- Assist in reading laboratory tests.
- Explain how to calculate dosages and read product labels.
- Advise on safe handling and storage of products.
Here is what you cannot do:
- Diagnose any medical conditions.
- Provide medical advice including making medical claims.
- Guarantee how something will affect the body or mood.
- Suggest modifying or eliminating any treatment in place of medical cannabis.
- Open and use actual products when demonstrating use.
Use Proper Non-Medical Language
What You Can Say:
- “In my experience…”
- “People have said…”
- “Anecdotally I hear…”
What You Cannot Say:
- “I recommend…”
- “Buy this…”
- “This really works, it is the best for…”
If you do give medical advice, even if inadvertently, you will come perilously close to practicing medicine without a license, which is a criminal offense. This is another reason that training is valuable: it protects you from avoidable problems.
Customer Service Best Practices
- Know What You Sell. Know your products and what’s in stock.
- Be Clean. Excellent hygiene is essential. Wash your hands, especially before and after handling cannabis products, or wear gloves. Clean your nails. Be aware that your personal odor (perfumes and colognes included) may affect the aroma of the cannabis.
- Be Courteous, Efficient, and Friendly. Refrain from using a condescending tone, especially with inexperienced users. These people took a leap of faith walking into your licensed cannabis retailer and a negative experience with a rude dispensary technician might turn them off from returning.
- Don’t Be Stoned. Duh! Even if you use cannabis and your employer allows consumption, be alert and fully present when speaking to customers.
- Respect! Respect your customers, your coworkers, and your products.
- Keep Learning!
This should help you to understand the very complex, legal nature of medical cannabis so it is merely an introduction, but rest assured that being truly knowledgeable will go a long way toward legitimizing you as a trustworthy source among new people and earning your respect from others in the cannabis industry.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Comply with government laws and regulations as they relate to the cannabis industry.
- Listen to and work with customers to meet their specific needs.
- Describe strains, cannabinoids, and their different effects.
- Offer customer service that exceeds customers’ expectations and inspires confidence.
- Drive sales and ensure a positive customer experience.
- Dispensary Technicians (aka Budtenders) need to be familiar with all stocked products.
- Maintain inventory tracking procedures and seed-to-sale tracking system.
- Ensure that the licensed cannabis retailer area is properly stocked and well maintained.
- Understand how to handle and store cannabis to ensure safety and hygiene.
- Maintain a tidy, safe, and professional work environment.
- Promote a positive work environment as a team member.
- Support other dispensary projects as assigned.
Your skills and abilities as a dispensary technician should include:
- Exceptional verbal communication skills.
- Depth of knowledge regarding medical cannabis and applications.
- Computer literacy; experience with Point-of-Sale (or POS) software and social media a plus.
- Organization and supply management skills to support inventory management.
- Strong work ethic and attention to detail.
- Fun attitude and a team-player mentality.
- Ability to cultivate long-term relationships.
- Ability to creatively deal with problems and resolve them in a professional manner.
Talking to Inexperienced Customers
With first-time customers, begin with the following basic questions:
- What effect are you looking for?
- Are you willing to try Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), which may cause you some psycho-activity?
- Are you willing to inhale even if in a vaporizer and not in a pipe or a joint?
- Are you willing to allow yourself 60 – 90 days to find the optimum delivery system and dose for you?
- Then guide them to define their condition. Are they seeking relief from pain, nausea, or headaches? Is the condition chronic or acute? Does it happen concerning a particular event or is it constant?
Some people are more articulate than others, so a little gentle probing will help you understand the condition better. At the same time, be aware that a person might not want to discuss medical ailments in detail. Don’t push them; instead, ask what they’re hoping to accomplish with using medical cannabis and base your recommendations on that.
In the same vein, not all customers want to discuss conditions publicly at the licensed cannabis retailer counter with other patrons behind them in line. Offer to go to a quiet space to talk about such matters. It will go a long way toward establishing trust and customer loyalty.
Let us know what you think.