It’s a situation that no business wants to deal with: a product recall. Products can be recalled due to health concerns, defective operation or even inaccurate marketing. While it can be a blow to your brand’s reputation, you’re not alone in your plight. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued 410 recalls in 2015 alone.
Product recalls are important, even if they do hurt a brand. They prevent accidents and help brands improve or change their manufacturing procedure. More than 250,000 children are injured and killed each year due to defective toys. Recalls can help lower these numbers and improve safety in the toy industry – as well as other industries – moving forward.
But how should your brand handle a recall? The steps you take during and after can mean the difference between restoring your reputation and losing your customer base for good.
Be Transparent and Communicate with Customers
Be as transparent as possible about the recall, and keep the lines of communication open with customers. In the event of a recall, your customers will likely be confused about what to do and may have questions they want answered.
Be ready and willing to answer these questions. It may be worthwhile to hire additional customer service representatives to handle the influx of calls and emails. Implementing a live chat feature can also be helpful for those who would rather communicate electronically.
If nothing else, make sure that you prioritize customer service. If customers don’t get the answers they want, they will walk away with a negative opinion about your brand and may never come back.
Offer Full Refunds
Many companies make the mistake of prioritizing their bottom line when a recall is issued. Taking this approach will only cause you to lose customers, which may ultimately bankrupt your business.
It’s worth it to take the revenue hit to preserve as much of your customer base as possible. Offering full refunds when possible demonstrates that your brand only wants the best for its customers and is taking responsibility for its mistake.
Don’t leave customers in the dark if your product is being recalled for health and safety reasons. It’s natural to be concerned about the potential risk of explaining the dangers of your product, but doing so will help restore customer trust in your brand. Mistakes happen, and customers know this. But failing to communicate the risks can only hurt your brand in the long-run
Educate your customers about the dangers of continuing to use your recalled product. Release this information through the appropriate channels, including social media and through email messages.
Being upfront and transparent about the risks may also save your brand from future legal action.
Be Cooperative with Regulators
If your brand has to work with a government agency or a third-party mediator as part of the recall process, be cooperative. Keep in mind that your brand is in the wrong. You will gain nothing by being uncooperative. Working with the agency or mediator will help make the process go as smoothly as possible.