This special presentation from Trulieve comes from Benzinga’s Virtual Cannabis Capital Conference that took place on August 18. Click here for more coverage of this event with presentations from some of the top CEOs, investors and lenders in the cannabis space.
CEO of Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE: TRUL)(OTCQX: TCNNF) Kim Rivers joined the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference to discuss how to continue delivering a positive customer experience during COVID-19.
Trulieve currently has 58 dispensaries nationwide with 56 locations open in the state of Florida. This is a state that is used to hurricanes so at the earliest beginnings of COVID, they got their preparedness team together to start planning across the entire organization. Clearly, this is a big effort. So even before all 56 stores were deemed essential, the Trulieve team asked themselves, ‘How can we, as a company, maintain our brand promises and relationships with our customers during this time?’
“One of our mottos is to foster authentic and reciprocal relationships with our customers,” said Rivers. “So, when all of this started, we really had to pause and ask, how do we do that?”
The Importance of Data
In her presentation, CEO Kim Rivers discusses two main ways that the company was able to maintain authentic customer relationships during the pandemic.
“The first is data. We all have access to data and it’s important to look at that data often and know what those measurables are, and what those metrics are, that really are indicators of customer behavior,” said Rivers.
The company saw its basket sizes start to increase. The volume of calls they received increased from 25,000 calls per week to 65,000 calls per week. And Rivers added, “the questions were changing.”
The questions went from, “I want to place my order” or “I have a question about a product” to “Are you going to be able to stay open?” “I’ve never placed a delivery order before but now I’m concerned about going and walking into a store, how do I do that?” “Can you walk me through the online ordering process?”
Trulieve uses the information from that data to recognize trends and make impactful decisions. In order to address the new data, the company created response plans. One thing Trulieve did was they made sure that the customer’s needs were met and that customers knew the company cared about their health and safety. In order to achieve this, Trulieve’s team made sure their stores were fully stocked and they increased their inventory to meet demand shifts. This ties into the second way Trulieve achieved authentic customer relationships, which is by creating what the CEO referred to as, Tiger Teams.
Tiger teams are cross-functional teams that think about concerns such as logistics, delivery, and technology. The delivery team was tasked with how to tackle a shift to 100% delivery if the need presented itself and the technology team made sure that the back-of-house support systems were accurate and evolved.
“And finally, we had to communicate those changes to the customers and patients. I think the biggest lesson that we’ve learned during COVID is to overcommunicate, make a decision, tell people that that’s the decision that you are going to make, implement the decision, communicate it again, listen to the feedback to the decision that you’ve made, tweak it, then thank them for their feedback and tell them how you’re changing that policy on a go-forward basis,” she said.
Rivers refers to this communication method as a 7-step process.
“You feel like you’re repeating yourself, but the one thing we have come to learn throughout this period of time is that folks are so thankful just to have the information. Everyone’s level of anxiety is so heightened during this time that really communicating, and communicating, and communicating some more becomes key.”
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