So you’re good with people, have a solid customer service background, and a passion for medical cannabis? Congratulations – you’ve got what it takes to work in customer care for a licensed producer (LP). To help you get the edge on competitors who don’t read Lift (if you can even call them competitors) we spoke with Guy DeGrace, concierge customer service representative at Hydropothecary, and Marc Provost, customer care manager at Tweed.
Talk the talk
Customer care reps at LP’s provide frontline service, dealing with everything from customer registration and administration, to liaising with doctors’ offices, to educating clients. They might spend their days responding to customer calls, answering client emails, or filing registration forms and confirming prescriptions with medical providers. Prospective employees can expect to be trained in the necessary legalities of the licensed producer/patient relationship, but a previous understanding of the cannabis plant and a passion for its medical properties are key, says Marc Provost.
Of course, knowing cannabis and knowing medical cannabis are not necessarily synonymous, and Provost cautions prospective customer care reps to err on the side of professionalism. “Don’t be too casual about it,” he says. He sees cannabis experience as a plus: many of Tweed’s reps have prescriptions themselves, and that experience is invaluable. But never forget that LP’s are in the business of medicine. “It’s just like any other job – you should come in here prepared for a professional interview. We need customer care professionals that are going to be able to take care of our customers.” DeGrace agrees. “Do treat it like a medicine, and don’t treat it like a party drug,” he says.
Prospective reps must be serious about helping others, and comfortable speaking with a wide range of people. There’s no typical medical cannabis user, says DeGrace — patients come from a range of backgrounds, experience a variety of ailments, and have varying previous experience with marijuana, and reps must be ready to address them all. Even better if they can address them all en Francais, says Provost. “Because we’re a national company, bilingualism is definitely a huge asset.”
Show your stuff
Medical cannabis is a new industry, and neither Provost nor DeGrace started there, but they both bring extensive retail, sales, and customer service experience to their LP careers. So don’t worry if you’re lacking previous industry experience – almost everyone is. Having a few certified cannabis courses under your belt is a definite bonus, but hiring agents know these programs are few and far between, and it’s not expected.
The important thing is that your customer service background comes paired with enthusiasm. “Anybody who comes to us with previous customer service experience and a passion for cannabis is definitely going to get a hard look,” says Provost.
Get out there
You’ve got the knowledge, the passion and the experience – now the next step is getting the job. Like any other field, knowing the major industry players will help you score the position you want.
Both DeGrace and Provost cited Lift as a solid source for keeping abreast of industry trends (we promise, we didn’t even prompt them). Provost also recounted the story of how he hired a customer service rep after she introduced herself at a Lift conference and told him she wanted to work for Tweed. “Spark up a conversation, go to the expos, go to the shows,” he says. “The community is still very small, so it’s easy to make a name for yourself and get to know people quickly.”
Make personal connections, but don’t forget to work the web, too. Tweed and Hydropothecary post job vacancies online, and so do other LPs. The same tools that would help you find a post in any other field apply here: keep your eye on your favourite LP’s careers section, watch out for jobs on LinkedIn and other career sites, and ensure your LinkedIn profile or online CV are up-to-date.
Featured image via Flickr.