What Do You Fu**ing Want?

Let’s get the facts straight. I wasn’t intoxicated when I left my passport in...

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Jamie Bonthron
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Let’s get the facts straight. I wasn’t intoxicated when I left my passport in...

Let’s get the facts straight. I wasn’t intoxicated when I left my passport in ReLeaf, 2244 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas.

But, my rookie tourist error (that I hasten to add has never happened before) was thankfully thwarted by the quick thinking and customer-focused attitude of a budtender whose name I wish I asked for so that I could thank her again here.

Thing is, when you go into a dispensary for the first time – you’re blown away by the lights, the product, and the sense of excitement that this is all really a thing. At that moment you need someone to support and guide you. 

That’s something US customer service is more than capable of. But on this side of the pond, I worry what our state of customer care might do to put off newbies to the whole cannabis space. 

Let me explain.

Red Sauce Or Brown Sauce?

For those of you unfamiliar with UK customer service – or are so traumatised by it that you’ve repressed the experience – let me just say that in general, it sucks. I am of course painting with an extra wide brush because there are brilliant in-store experiences available. But by and large, it’s not something we’re very good at.

The idea of someone smiling, looking intently into our eyes, ready to serve your needs as a consumer is such a rarity in the UK that when it is experienced, particularly with trips to places like the US, it feels uncomfortable. Great in-person salespeople are enthusiastic about their job, and the good ones can pretend. However genuine any given interaction with a staff member in a store doesn’t really matter because – even when faked – it makes being a customer so much better. And that’s critical for cannabis.

When you visit a burger van here in the United Kingdom, with the aim of securing a meaty treat, you might luck into experiencing the wonderful phrase, just before you are handed your food, “red sauce or brown sauce?”. It’ll likely be delivered with an indifference reserved for things like lint, and it’s the perfect microcosm for describing service in this neck of the woods. (For anyone who doesn’t know what brown sauce is, here you go)

While that lack of care and interest in the customer is certainly suboptimal, burger vans will continue to exist, and people will continue to put up with that service because it’s what they’re used to. But the same can’t be said for cannabis – particularly for those who aren’t au fait with the green giant.

Feeling Dumb

Having recently left my passport on the counter of a dispensary while talking all things terps, I’m deeply familiar with that specific feeling where you’re the odd one out in a retail setting. In my case, it was masterfully handled by the kind member of ReLeaf who handed me my way home and left me feeling great about the whole thing.

You might have had that feeling yourself. You walk into a shop where you don’t understand the product or service and you feel dumb. Everyone there knows everything and you’re so stupid. This feels like a projection. But you get what I mean. For you, it might be a car dealership where you don’t know your piston from your push pin, or a builders merchant where a nut and bolt are interchangeable terms to you. For a large group of people on this planet, cannabis is that void of knowledge.

If we don’t treat those people with respect, welcome them in, and help them to understand what this is all about, we’ll lose them. 

Essentially, if you’re thinking of opening a dispensary in the UK once rec is legal, for the sake of your business and the consumer, put the latter first. There’s no escaping the fact that customer experience can have an enormous impact on brand.

What do you think?

Blog Author
Jamie Bonthron
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