Budtender etiquette can easily make or break a visit for a customer or patient. As a recreational adult consumer, a bad experience with staff often means losing a customer and in an industry where every sale counts, losing a repeat customer means losing a valuable source of revenue. For those who rely on cannabis as medicine, to have inexperienced or ineffective staff is beyond a simple annoyance; it undermines the importance of their visit and being recommended the wrong product can have serious consequences.
We asked you what budtender qualities make you turn away from a dispensary and Leafly readers had a lot to say.
“Not knowing the attributes of strains to give advice for therapeutic purposes. Get poor recommendations frequently.”
Whether the cannabis is being purchased for therapeutic or recreational purposes, budtenders should be knowledgeable about the different types of cannabis and their effects. Budtenders can also avoid making a poor recommendation by asking questions of the consumer, making it easier to find the right product for the right person. If they are looking for a sleep aid, don’t recommend a high-energy sativa. If they’re looking for a boost in productivity, don’t recommend a heavy indica.
“Uncaring people who can care less that you’re there because you’re in pain or haven’t slept well because of illness. All they’re interested in is squeezing every penny they can get out of you.”
A little bit of compassion can go a long way, especially for a patient who truly relies on cannabis to treat their symptoms. Yes, revenue is important for those who are trying to make ends meet in a tricky industry, but keep in mind why these patients are in your store to begin with. For a medical cannabis patient, having access to proper medicine is about much more than money. It’s about their personal well-being.
“Condescending budtenders. Or the ones who show low effort towards minor sales. I’ll take my stuff right out of there and go somewhere else.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of quality customer service. Every customer, whether buying an ounce or a gram, should be treated with the same respect reserved for any patient or customer. In the same way that a condescending waiter can sour a dining experience, feeling disrespected during a dispensary visit is more than enough for a customer to take their business elsewhere. Remember, even small sales can add up to big sales over a long period of time. Invest in your customers and they’ll keep coming back.
“Basic lack of education about what strain is best for what. And I gotta say, it would be very comforting to see one who is older than 20-something and has experience. Many if not most actual patients are older.”
There’s no reason for age discrimination when hiring (except, of course, for making sure to hire employees of legal age to be handling cannabis products), but no matter the age of your employees, keep your clientele in mind. In this new era of breaking the stigma behind cannabis consumption, there is a new generation of canna-curious baby boomers. When catering to older clientele, be mindful that they may have tons or no experience with cannabis and, once again, this is where tactful questions can come in handy. Some boomers have been smoking for decades, while others are just dipping their toe into the waters since legalization.
It’s also important to note here that medical patients may be sensitive about their ailments. When asking questions to discern their needs in a strain or product, be cognizant of that sensitivity. If they offer up information, use it to help them find the right product, but don’t pry into their background. This is not only uncomfortable for patients, it can be seen as rude, insensitive, and even insulting. Tread lightly when it comes to medical issues.
“Forgetting my exact change, forgetting to pack the actual medicine in the bag before I leave the place, acting stupid. I get that you’re running a dispensary, but at least your budtenders can be at least somewhat responsive when I’m purchasing my meds. Judging by more than a few times this happened, at many different dispensaries.”
Is this a no-brainer or not? Cannabis consumption during work hours is clearly up to the discretion of the company, but if it’s affecting performance and leading to bad experiences with customers, maybe it’s time to reconsider your policies. This is no longer an era of “anything goes” like it once was in the past days of unregulated cannabis, and unprofessional behavior can be a huge turn-off for customers.
When it comes to proper budtender etiquette, generally it’s safe to say you should trust your instincts. Be polite and unassuming and make your customer as comfortable as possible. We’re working in a new and unique industry, and, as you guide your customers through uncharted waters, you can help break the stigma. Your influence has the potential to make or break a customer’s cannabis experience. Take your responsibility seriously and treat every consumer with respect and sincerity.