Retail CX

AI Budtender

When shopping at a cannabis dispensary, you often have the option to place an order yourself via a kiosk or ask a budtender for recommendations based on your preferences. For many inexperienced shoppers, chatting with a budtender is usually the preferred choice.

However, some dispensaries now get over 70% of their purchases from online orders, meaning chatting with a budtender isn’t an option. Instead, customers often find themselves navigating an AI chatbot, wishing for a real person to talk to.

With the rise of AI chatbots, I’ve encountered this digital wall more often than before – totally frustrating!

There’s a risk when companies depend too heavily on AI without considering the customer experience. It’s clear that AI can streamline operations, but its real value in customer service comes from supporting, not replacing, human teams.

How AI Can Support the Human Touch

When AI is used as a support tool, it can handle mundane tasks, giving human teams the bandwidth to engage more meaningfully with customers. For example:

1. Accessing Customer Data Quickly: AI can give budtenders a quick read on a customer’s past interactions or preferences, turning a standard reply into a personalized conversation.

2. Recommending Relevant Strains: AI can analyze customer preferences and medical needs, suggesting strains that best suit their unique requirements.

3. Speeding Up FAQs: AI chatbots can quickly address frequently asked questions about strains, terpenes, or dosing guidelines, freeing up budtenders for more complex inquiries.

The Human Element in Dispensary Retail

Despite the efficiencies AI brings to the table, the human element remains irreplaceable in the customer experience. Empathy, creativity, and nuanced understanding are essential traits that only humans can provide.

A budtender can:

🌿 Offer Personalized Recommendations: Listen carefully to a customer’s needs and provide recommendations that cater to their wellness journey.

🌿 Build Trust and Rapport: Establish a personal connection that encourages loyalty and repeat business.

🌿 Educate on Cannabis Products: Answer in-depth questions about cannabinoids, terpenes, and dosing that AI may not yet be capable of handling accurately.

Blending AI and Human Teams for a Superior Experience

Relying solely on AI for cost-cutting could backfire if it means compromising customer experience. Instead, the goal should be to blend AI’s data-driven capabilities with the irreplaceable human element.

– AI Enhances Efficiency: Automate routine tasks, provide data insights, and make relevant recommendations.

– Humans Add Empathy and Connection: Listen to customers, build relationships, and offer tailored advice.

Finding the Balance

The perfect blend of AI and human interaction can transform the dispensary shopping experience. Think of AI as a tool that brings insights and efficiency to the table, while your human team members add empathy and personal connection.

By combining the best of both worlds, your dispensary can streamline operations, deliver personalized service, and create a seamless, satisfying customer experience that keeps shoppers coming back.

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