Patient experience is critical to dispensary success


The experience that a patient has when visiting a dispensary can make or break a return visit and potentially make them an advocate or a naysayer.  While the entire patient experience encompasss more than just the face-to-face interaction they have with a brand, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll be focused strictly on the dispensary portion of the patient experience.  We’ll be featuring the end-to-end experience in our September issue – watch for that in print.

Here are some important things to remember in terms of patient dispensary experience:

1. Build awareness of your dispensary 

In order to get patients to visit – they need to be aware of your dispensary. There are a number of ways to build awareness with your potential dispensary patients.

  • You need an effective social media and content strategy
  • You can gain exposure by engaging in public forums and when social distancing is over – public events
  • Register your brand with cannabis-specific directories / online providers
  • Engage in thoughtful partnerships with cannabis communities through sponsorships

2. Help clients discover you

Patients may have noticed you, but they may not be fully on-board with cannabis or what you have to offer. A lot of first-time cannabis users will have a lot of curiosity and apprehension about what specific cannabis products can do for them. When you take the opportunity to integrate thoughtful and thorough cannabis education into their discovery phase, through your website, social media, and in-store materials, you can get ahead of that curiosity and bring them to action.


3. Cultivate that trust

The ability to grow your dispensary business lies in the ability to build trust with potential patients, and show them that they bring value to your brand. Pay attention to your patients, ask questions to understand where they are in their cannabis journey, and be a credible source of education to them.  Cannabis can be a new, and intimidating journey, and having a helpful and friendly guide through the cannabis experience is essential for someone to want to engage with a cannabis retail environment.

4. Advocate for your customer’s needs

When you are working with someone interested in purchasing cannabis, whether it’s their first time or not, don’t assume they’ll know what they are looking for. When you’ve taken the time to create an effectively trained budtender team, your customer service approach should be to serve as the advocate for customer’s needs. Understand what your customer is looking for in their cannabis retail experience. What are they looking for in a cannabis product? How can your advanced strain knowledge be the key to enhancing their experience with cannabis?

5. Make sure they return

You’ve done all the hard work to engage your prospective patients. You’ve built trust and they are confident in what your dispensary has to offer them and the role your products will play in their lives. The patient experiences doesn’t end conclusion of the sale. The point of sale is that critical time to reinforce that you value their business and ensure that they not only come back to you but share a great testimonial about their experience. A dispensary patient’s value shouldn’t be measured on that single initial purchase, but the likelihood they’ll come back to you, the goal to have them purchase more from you, and to have them coming back time and time again. This is the lifetime value of your patient. How do you make sure your patient wants to repeat their patient dispensary experience? Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a loyalty program where there is some incentive to make X amount of purchases in order to get something for free or offer discounts for repeat purchases;
  • Provide “swag” that will help them value your brand and develop your brand recognition.
  • Get personal. People love it when you take the time to learn their first name and some details about them. Use their name in your interactions to set that tone of familiarity.
  • Again, make yourself available. Let your customer know that your dispensary is there for them for any questions or needs for further products.
  • Invest in their experience by putting yourselves in their shoes at every step of the way