Breaking the Bottleneck: Lowering Patient Intake to 90 seconds!
“How important is time,” I wondered to myself the other day, twiddling my thumb while waiting in an elongated line at a Bay Area-based dispensary mid-day. I watched in angst as ten or so new patients scrambled to fill out first-time patient forms anxiously.
Skimming over club rules and precariously balancing clipboards on their knees. One after another, they began piling in front of the door where their application would be finally reviewed for approval.
Amidst this waiting game, several patients in line decided to call it quits, and my guess is that they most likely will not return again.
Glancing at the sales floor on the other side, I saw about twelve restless patients, eager to get in and out. If only the rather chatty first-time patients, engrossed in a rather educational and enlightening conversation with bud tenders, would hurry up.
But there was no real incentive to rush them, and the bud tenders were gladdened to spend time singing the praises of the variety of products in the dispensary. Amidst this waiting game, several patients in line decided to call it quits, and my guess is that they most likely will not return again.
This is an all too common problem at dispensaries, and one that should be addressed with the utmost urgency. If a dispensary loses, say, 10 customers a day, and those 10 customers would normally purchase an 1/8th of flower on average, the loss is equivalent to $500. That’s $500 a day left on the table.
Extrapolate this scenario further and you’re talking about $15,000 a month, or a staggering $180,000 a year, that could be in your pockets if only you were to fix some of these critical bottlenecks correctly.
The ability to handle high volume traffic, quickly and efficiently, is imperative to gaining the trust and loyalty of your patients. So let’s look at a few ways you can throttle your queue and get your dispensary flowing again.
Crush it at Patient intake
If your patients are spending over 2 minutes to sign-up at your patient intake station, it’s definitely time to review your process.
Let’s face it: there’s hardly anything more frustrating to a patient than having to fill out gobs of paperwork just to be able to purchase from your dispensary. Yes, compliance demands it, but there’s no reason it has to take an inordinate amount of time, let alone involve paper at all.
If your patients are spending over 2 minutes to sign-up at your patient intake station, it’s definitely time to review your process. The right combination of hardware and software can help improve your process by eliminating paperwork, simplifying the gathering of patient information via barcode scanning from driver’s licenses, and digitizing the entire patient agreement.
Not only will these speed up your intake process, they will ensure the accuracy of patient data by reducing human error as a result of manual entries, and provide valuable information downstream to budtenders. With the right combination of these tools, you can serve up to 900 patients a day with just one employee on intake and a security guard.Not too shabby, right?
Make it Scannable
Does every product in your shop have a barcode? Are your budtenders able to scan each item, or do they have to hunt and peck through extra steps on your POS, making and correcting entry errors along the way, just to add products to a ticket?
If your answer is the latter, it’s time to get up to par with modern day technology. It may seem like it only takes a few more seconds to press a few buttons, but those quickly add up to minutes that your customers definitely care about.
In a world where customers expect instant gratification, transactional delays can be lethal to customer retention.
We’ve all observed budtenders fumble through keystrokes via security cams in our retail spaces as the queue gets longer and longer, wishing they could just scan it, right?
In a world where customers expect instant gratification, transactional delays can be lethal to customer retention. The least you can do is to use barcode scanning to speed up the check-out process as well as minimize manual entry errors.
If you shave off 20 seconds per transaction, your can service 20 more customers a day per station. With an average spend of $30 per patient, this adds $1800 a day to your bottom line.
If you could improve only one facet of your business, we would recommend pre-packaging your flower.
As previously mentioned in this post, one of the largest time drains in any dispensary is serving flower, deli style. If you could improve only one facet of your business, we would recommend pre-packaging your flower. Although this may garner complaints from some patients, we’ve found that the increase in check-out speed more than makes up for it.
Those who want to be ‘in and out’ quickly are happier while those who desire longer conversations appreciate the extra personal attention given as a result of saved time. There are other upsides to pre-packaging flowers as well, such as increasing your profits per flower sale by 30 percent, that we covered in a previous article you checked out here.
Most of your patients know what they want when they walk in the door, and having them wait behind chatty customers who take their sweet time at the counter is not recommended. If this is a common occurrence at your shop, you may want to consider opening an express lane.
Devoting a specific queue for express orders is a surefire way to satisfy both the fast and slow shoppers.
Devoting a specific queue for express orders is a surefire way to satisfy both the fast and slow shoppers. In addition, using technology to organize and fulfill orders can significantly reduce your labor costs by eliminating one or more of the front-of-house positions.
Get Your Branch
At Treez, we actively study retail flows of the most successful dispensaries and have designed our software to work with and improve upon their systems and processes. For instance, our patient intake process typically takes no more than 90 seconds.
Treez reads existing manufacturer’s barcodes or can generate barcodes, reducing transaction times by a minute.
Our self-service kiosk and eCommerce ordering solutions take your already speedy express lane and turbocharge it. Treez reads existing manufacturer’s barcodes or can generate barcodes, reducing transaction times by a minute.
In short, we think hard about helping our customers help their patients save time and get what they want quickly and efficiently. At Treez, we’ve helped dozens of dispensaries shore up their systems and maximize their profits by providing them with the most forward thinking software platform on the market along with a host of best practices that are baked right into our products.
Interested in learning more? Give us a call for a free, live demo at: 1-888-318-6162 or email us at: email@example.com