Budtenders are the heart and soul of the customer experience. They are the friendly, energetic and adaptive folks that serve the individual needs of all our customers. With recreational marijuana now legal, Budtenders have the additional responsibility to stay up to date on all regulations. Despite the extra work, they like the rest of the team, remain eager to educate and facilitate the cannabis needs of all its customers.
So, let’s take a look at what the experience is like from their perspective.
Profile of a Caliva Budtender
“What we keep in mind and have always held true is to stick to higher standards at Caliva,” Caliva General Manager Erika Henika notes. “We keep that in mind when we’re hiring.”
Caliva’s budtenders come from all walks of life. From varying ages and backgrounds, they come together to embody Caliva’s ethos. Each day with each customer, they bring the energy, positivity and passion that it takes to meet the needs of every person. Budtenders need to provide a safe, comfortable and easy customer experience. Often, they pivot from medical to recreational customer and have to give the service that particular user needs. In short, they need to be able to provide next-level customer service at all times.
“Even when we opened two and a half years ago we had this higher standard in mind,” Henika adds. “We’re not a local pot shop looking to make a quick buck. We want to be here for the long run. And since we’re vertically integrated, we want to be a key player. To do that, you have to have the right people working for you.”
In 2018, the job gets a bit more difficult for budtenders, just as it does for all aspects of a dispensary in California. With state and local regulations due to change at any time, they need to be on their toes. If any rules change, they must be the ones to relay the information to the customers, so everyone stays on the right side of the laws.
Head Budtender Harrison Miller’s favorite part of the job is educating people about cannabis’ benefits. “Cannabis is a daily wellness option that many people are unaware of,” Miller says. “From topical creams and balms to regulated and precisely dosed vaporizers, cannabis presents an array of wellness options.”
In addition to educating, Miller and the other budtenders love to answer the bevy of questions they hear throughout the day. Many inquiries are about rising products in the market, like CBD. Others are classic strain related questions like the differences and effects of sativas and indicas. Often, customers seem on the lookout for something that leaves them happy and energized, or relaxed and sleepy.
Walking into a dispensary for the first time can be overwhelming for a customer. If that’s the case for you, Miller suggests firing away with questions. From a rundown of the dispensary’s offerings to consumption methods, every question is worth asking.“It’s very important to find the dose of milligrams that works best for you.” Other questions you might want to ask are:
- What is the budtender’s favorite product?
- What is the budtender’s favorite flower strain right now on the shelves?
- What is CBD, THC, CBN, THCV, THCa, CBDa?
- Is there anything unique about this dispensary?
Caliva customers’ buying preferences vary. For every person that enjoys a joint, there’s another that prefers an edible or flower or something else on the menu. Miller notes that many of his customers opt for easy-to-consume products like prerolls and edibles – with the Super Session and Dogwalkers being particular crowd pleasers.
With recreational marijuana use now legal in California, some buying trends are shifting. Before legalization, Miller recalled selling large amounts of vape cartridges and prerolls. These products are still top picks, but edibles have now joined the conversation as well. “With adult sales, we are seeing that lots of people love eating their cannabis,” he elaborates.
In fact, Caliva was often close to selling out of its edible supply during the first three weeks of adult use sales. However, Miller explains, prerolls still remain the hotter item. Even though the joints were popular prior to January 1st, Purchasing Specialist Omar Ortiz notes a surprising jump in sales post-legalization.
Just like its products, the customer’s experience is optimal to Caliva’s success. Their feedback is valued and welcomed. In lieu of cash tips from customers, Miller says, “We ask them to submit a review of our store and their experience with the budtender that helped them.”
Mantras often help shape the culture of a team and it’s no different at Caliva, where they include “Happy Plants, Happy People,” “Grown Here, Tested Here, Sold Here” and “Consistency, Transparency and Accessibility.”
Regardless of the phrase, the focus is always on providing each customer with the experience that they need to trust Caliva as their go-to destination for marijuana products. Whether it is a long-time medical patient, or a first-time adult use customer, it’s our job to provide them with the high standard of customer service we committed to since our opening in 2015.
– By Andrew Ward