The Importance of Customer Service in the Cannabis Industry
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is booming. With the global legal marijuana market expected to reach $73.6 billion USD by 2027, it is more important than ever for companies operating in the cannabis space to look for ways to develop a competitive advantage and differentiate themselves from the competition. One of the many ways that dispensaries can set themselves apart from their competitors is simple, yet often overlooked, and that is understanding the importance of customer service in the cannabis industry.
An Analytical View of the Importance of Customer Service in the Cannabis Space
In the Microsoft 2018 State of Global Customer Service Survey, it was found that 95% of respondents found customer service to be very or somewhat important when choosing, or being loyal to a brand. In the United States, that number jumps to 98%, where 62% of respondents have stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, and competition in the space increases, it is more important than ever to not lose customers and patients to poor customer experience.
Despite the fact that there is so much riding on providing a great experience, many cannabis companies struggle with finding accurate and effective ways to monitor the level of customer service they are providing. Fortunately, over the years, many proven methods have been developed that can be tailored to best fit the needs of the business and help collect valuable feedback directly from customers and patients when they visit a dispensary.
Ways to Measure Customer Service in The Cannabis Industry
There are many ways that customer service can be measured in dispensaries, and it is important to find a way to collect actionable and accurate data. The most common measurements that can be used are CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) surveys and NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys. While each form of collecting customer service data appear to be similar and are in many ways, it is important to understand the key differences in each method so that you are collecting the most useful data when a customer visits a dispensary.
CSAT is the most basic and common method used to measure customer service. Typically, a simple survey is sent to customers after they visit and are asked to rate their most recent experience. A question such as “How would you rate the level of service received on your most recent visit?” could be asked followed by the ability to rate the visit on a scale of 1-5. Open-ended questions seeking general feedback can also be included to better capture the voice of the customer. Customers may also take the time to provide specific feedback for an employee based on their interaction. For example, they may have had a question about a specific strain that was available, and depending on how well the Budtender handled the question, feedback could be provided here. This is also a great opportunity to collect testimonials from customers that could potentially be used in marketing campaigns.
NPS is another common measurement for customer service. While it is similar to CSAT in many ways, the primary goal of collecting NPS data is to answer the question, how likely are my customers to recommend my business to others? The question asked is not specific to a recent visit but instead looks to measure the overall perception of a dispensary.
Collecting Customer Service Data
While there are many ways to measure customer service, dispensaries also need ways to efficiently collect this information. The easiest way to perform customer service surveys is via email or by sending the request for feedback by text.
Leafbuyer Loyalty is a great way to collect valuable customer information which allows you to communicate with customers via texting and email. It is also important to incentivize customers to return to your dispensary by creating a customized loyalty program. Providing an incentive, such as earning points in a loyalty program by responding to a survey is a great way to make sure customers want to provide feedback. A well-crafted loyalty program is a great way to retain customers and keep them coming back again and again.
Measuring Employee Satisfaction
Budtenders are the face of a dispensary in every customer service experience and stressing the importance of customer service in the cannabis industry should not be discussed without also discussing employee satisfaction. While it is important to constantly monitor customer satisfaction, being aware of employee satisfaction is equally important. It is not reasonable to expect someone to deliver a world-class customer experience if they are not happy with their job.
When measuring customer service, if scores begin to slip, it is important to take a step back and look at how happy employees are. A great budtender may be able to answer every question from how long edibles last to the difference between terpenes and trichomes. However, if they are not happy at work, they will rarely deliver the best service they can.
Overall, the correlation between customer service and employee satisfaction is significant. A great leader should have their finger on the pulse of their dispensary, spend time on the front lines, and understand what issues and barriers budtenders face. Delivering a great customer experience always starts with great employee satisfaction.