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Customer Service Horror Stories In Cannabis

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The cannabis industry is known for its customer service… just not in the way we would hope. 

Just about everyone has a story about an unexpected and/or unfortunate experience with cannabis. In fact, having a bad experience with edibles is basically thought of as a rite of passage within the cannabis community. Yikes! 

Unfortunately, a big reason why these experiences are so common is because the professionals that are supposed to help people navigate the cannabis experience let them down. In other words, there was a failure of customer service. 

If we want the cannabis industry to become as big and respected as it should be, it’s important that we take responsibility for ensuring that every cannabis consumer is confident in their products – which includes understanding how cannabis works, which products are best for them, and how each unique delivery method is going to make them feel. Helping a client get to this point is the core of customer service in the cannabis industry, and when this doesn’t happen, you get customer service horror stories.

  • First time cannabis consumers, who are just looking to experiment with a nice edible, are given a syringe of RSO and told to eat a “small amount.”
  • Someone is looking for a nice “energetic” flower to enjoy on a hike, and the budtender sells them a joint that is sedating because “they don’t smoke sativas.” 
  • An experienced customer is looking for the best extract in the store. They are given a vial of distillate because it has the highest THC percentage. 
  • Someone taking an edible for the first time, and being recommended a “small” 10mg dose.
  • A client is looking for a topical cream that won’t get them high. They are sold a transdermal patch because they last longer than topical creams. 

As you can imagine, none of these clients had a great experience with their cannabis product, and it is kind of maddening to think how easily it all could have been avoided. All that was required was a standardized approach to customer service by a trained cannabis expert – a cannabis sommelier – a Ganjier, and every one of these customers would have had an amazing experience rather than hours of disappointment and fear. 

The Ganjier Customer Interaction Protocol

As a way to ensure that every customer received the highest level of service, Ganjier has developed “The Customer Interaction Protocol” (known as The CIP). The CIP was designed to function more like guidelines than rules, as every client interaction will be unique; however, each guideline is designed to do one thing – help the customer have a great experience with cannabis.

The first steps of The CIP involve getting to know the customer. What brought them in? What have they heard about cannabis? What has been their experience with cannabis? What is their preferred method of consumption? What are their goals for using cannabis? Do they have any health concerns? Do they have a plan around when they will be consuming? 

It’s important to ask these questions upfront, as they will provide you with the necessary information to guide them to the right products for them. Without this information, you’re just guessing!

For example, getting a grasp of their experience level with cannabis will be an immense help when it comes to suggesting a correct dosage. Asking about their cannabis knowledge will give you clues as to what educational information will be most relevant to their current situation. And asking about their preferred consumption methods will help you curate products that are specifically designed to meet their unique needs. 

After the customer feels like their needs have been recognized, you can start showcasing specific products that meet their criteria. This naturally leads into a discussion about quality standards, as most people are still unaware of the characteristics that separate a top shelf product from its bottom shelf counterpart. This is when you can really let your cannabis knowledge shine!

How To Guide People On Their Cannabis Journey

Cannabis attracts connoisseurs of every different age, race, gender, and intent. As a result, you can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to cannabis service. Every interaction is going to be unique, and you need to develop skills that will help you navigate this space.

Pulling directly from the Ganjier cannabis sommelier training, here are some tips that you can use to help you bring your cannabis service to the next level!

  • If you are going to offer amazing customer service, you need to think of yourself as a guide or mentor – not a salesperson. As a guide it is your job to help them get what they want, not for you to try and sell them on something you want for them. So take the time to listen to your clients, and offer guidance that helps them get their individual needs met.
  • You are bound to run into clients that have an inaccurate understanding of cannabis. Instead of challenging their knowledge, peak their curiosity. Appreciate the effort they have put into their cannabis journey, partner with them in this effort, and try to steer them in the direction of a product that will meet their needs. Offer correction only when it is necessary.
  • It is important to meet customers where they are at on their cannabis journey. Cannabis is still new for a lot of people, and it often comes with a lot of baggage. It is important to take the time to make sure that your clients are comfortable and following along. If they aren’t asking questions, you may be speaking over their head.
  • Do not, under any circumstance, give out medical advice to customers. You are not their doctor, and it is illegal for you to offer them medical advice from your position. You can give guidance on products and talk about general symptom management – pain, sleep, etc; however, you cannot say a product will help with a disease state. This will help you stay employed and out of trouble with governing bodies. 
  • Do not rush the customer! There is a lot to know about cannabis, and science seems to teach us something new everyday. Customers also have been treated to decades of propaganda that have painted a very negative picture of cannabis. So be sure your client gets as much time as they need to feel comfortable in this unfamiliar space. 
  • Lastly, enjoy your work! You are working in the cannabis industry – one of the most exciting and fastest growing industries in the world. If you are lucky enough to live in a place with a legal market, be sure to take the time to truly appreciate the privilege. There are a lot of people out there still fighting for their right to have access to the plant. Do them a favor and make sure you are making the most of your opportunity! 

It’s Sacred Work

The cannabis shop is the face of the cannabis industry. It’s the place where consumers and cannabis converge – in many cases, for the first time. If quality cannabis is going to have a future, it is vital that there are well-trained professionals in these places to help guide people into a positive and enjoyable experience. 

As you already know, the cannabis plant is a wonder of nature. Throughout human history, it has proved time and time again just how valuable it is to us. It has been used to feed us, clothe us, and heal us. In other words, there are reasons why humanity took this plant with them as they traveled the globe. It doesn’t need your false claims or misleading exaggerations to be great. Cannabis just needs educated people that are willing to steward it well. 

Cannabis service involves so much more than just being a good salesperson. It involves honoring the plant by taking the time to understand the truth behind it, and honoring the clients by listening to their stories and helping them have a meaningful encounter with the plant. 

In this way, becoming a Ganjier will not only train you to understand the truth about cannabis, it will also teach you how to facilitate a space for humanity and cannabis to converge in a meaningful way – a way that honors and elevates every plant and person involved. 

This is what it means to practice exquisite cannabis service and to be a Ganjier. 

Are you prepared for the journey?

Enrollment for the first certified Ganjier class will open in Winter 2020. Capacity is limited. Join the interest list if you want to be among the first Ganjiers to transform the cannabis industry as we know it.

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