Even though cannabis dispensary patrons tend to be mellower than your average retail customer, conflicts can and do still arise. Here are five steps you can take to defuse in-the-moment conflicts:
Stay Composed: Pause before you do anything. Stay calm, take a deep breath and acknowledge that you are hearing the person, even if you disagree completely with what they are saying. Doing these things will help you get your rational brain back online if you are feeling fight or flight. Very few good things get done and said in the heat of the moment!
Actively Listen: Allow the customer to express their concerns without interruption through active listening. People often just want to be heard and seen. Letting them vent is part of that. When you deal with their emotions first, they are way more likely to come to rational resolution with you. Acknowledge the customer’s feelings by using phrases like “I understand how you feel,” especially if you wouldn’t feel the same way in their position—that is empathy.
Apologize: If the customer is upset due to a legitimate issue, say that you’re sorry. A genuine apology can go a long way in diffusing tension. Refrain from ascribing blame to anybody or anything; focus, instead, on finding solutions. Be prepared to negotiate the best outcome by addressing the legitimacy of what each party has to offer as a resolution.
Seek Supervision: Be familiar with company policies and procedures—and know what you don’t know. If the situation escalates and/or a proper resolution is out of your purview, involve a supervisor or manager who has additional authority.
Follow Up: After resolving the issue, follow up with the customer to ensure their satisfaction. This demonstrates your sincere commitment and that your approach to customer service has legitimate integrity.
Each customer interaction is unique, and flexibility in your approach may be necessary. The goal, of course, is always to turn negative experiences into positive ones. Join us for the next Rockin’ Your Supervisory Role , during which we will discuss specific ways to handle conflict in general and more about regulating our triggers in real time.
Guest Blog by John Mancuso
ps. Did you enjoy this article? Check out our library of articles on leadership in cannabis.