Solving the Customer Wait-Time Dilemma

customer wait times mg magazine Sept 2018

Faced with long lines during peak hours, The Green Solution in Denver was both blessed and cursed. No business owner objects to brisk sales, but protracted wait times can send customers looking for less-frustrating experiences.

In places where legal cannabis is no longer a novelty, it’s important to identify and solve issues quickly before competitors seize market share. Even The Green Solution, a successful chain that has opened sixteen locations in eight years, can suffer damage to its bottom line by allowing challenges to fester.

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“We did our best to hire, train, and staff all locations adequately but have experienced difficulties with crowd control and line management as popularity increased,” Creative Director Jordan Bryant said.

Bryant said part of The Green Solution’s success is due to a particularly customer-friendly attitude and one-on-one service, but long lines threatened the chain’s reputation. Clearly, The Green Solution needed…well, a solution.

“We began offering online ordering in February of 2015,” Bryant said. After logging in to MyGreenSolution.com, customers may view menus and up-to-date inventory at all The Green Solution locations. While most [competitors’] shops have menus available online, they are not necessarily updated in real-time or reflect how many product units may be in stock. Many shops wait until the end of the day or even longer before updating their menus, which can be frustrating for customers.”

The Green Solution offers more than just online ordering. Customers also may request the stores alert them by text message when their orders are ready to be picked up. The system saves time for both customers and dispensary staff.

“Our ability to offer order status online for customers has drastically cut down on wait times during high-volume hours,” Bryant said.

Express checkout lines also help reduce customer wait times, Bryant noted. Similar to Starbucks, customers may place an order online and pick it up at an express counter in a store.

“We’ve noticed an increasing number of people taking advantage of our online ordering, express checkout, and rewards program app,” Bryant said.

As expected, decreased wait times increased customer satisfaction. “We regularly receive positive feedback about our efforts to increase efficiency in our stores,” Bryant said. “Our customers have really become part of our family.” Some have gone out of their way to show their appreciation, including ordering pizza for the entire staff at one of The Green Solution’s locations, she added.

Besides online ordering and real-time inventory, express checkout lines, and text message alerts for customers, The Green Solution also utilizes a tried-and-true approach to decreasing wait times: hiring additional staff. “We have added a tremendous number of staff to compensate for our busiest times,” Bryant said.

Like the chain’s customers, staff members, too, are pleased with the efforts to keep customer lines flowing. Serving an endless line of customers that never seems to dwindle can take a toll on budtenders’ friendly, upbeat dispositions. “Our employees appreciate being able to put together the online orders in advance without a rush,” Bryant noted.

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