No matter the level of quality control in manufacturing a product, occasionally some things can slip through the cracks. Product recalls are a nightmare, but how you handle the situation is what matters to your business’ reputation.
Washing machine giant Whirlpool recently launched a recall of more than 500,000 machines in the UK, which are sold under the Hotpoint and Indesit brands. When the recall was first announced, customer’s were left frustrated as they found they could not get through to Whirlpool’s customer service line and to add insult to injury; the dedicated recall website, which had been set up, was down for a number of days. This led to a range of negative media attention and a lot of angry, confused and inconvenienced customers.
How to handle a product recall and protect the business’ reputation:
Speed is of the essence in this instance, failing to respond quickly can aggravate customers and gives them the impression that you are not completely customer-focused. Failure to respond quickly and in a transparent manner to the issue can also result in legal proceedings should the product defect be a danger to a customer’s health. The best thing you can do is be honest, own up to mistakes made and avoid passing the blame onto a third party. Take responsibility and avoid denying the problem as this only casts a bad light onto your company and can damage how customers view the business.
Acting swiftly in compensating your customers is an effective way of preserving trust in the company. Profit should not be your main focus here, in this case, it is worth taking a hit to revenue in order to retain customer loyalty. Following the business’ extensive recall procedures is an effective display of responsibility and demonstrates that you respect their time.
“CEOs need to remember that the public expects them to do what’s right, not just what’s required” Jonathan Bernstein, Founder of Bernstein Crisis Management. As told to Business Insider.
Educating customers on why your company is recalling a product will assist in involving them and limiting the panic that can ensue with a recall. Inform the customers on the circumstances around the recall along with the models or batches that are affected and how they can find out if the product they own is involved in the recall.
Communication is key when it comes to handling product recalls, it’s important to remember that your brand’s reputation is on the line. Customers can feel isolated and in the dark, if you don’t actively keep them in the loop. Make use of all possible channels such as social media, email, press releases and TV/Radio placements to notify customers of the recall. Once they have been informed of the issues, they will expect to be notified of any updates.
Setting up a dedicated recall team with either a phone line or email system where customers can direct their queries to is a great way to open up an allocated line of communication. Customers will be reassured that the issue is being taken seriously whilst making it easier for your business to keep track of all communication and respond efficiently.
See how outsourcing your customer service line can relieve the stress of a product recall and help you stay in control.