A dedicated recall response database eliminates the need for complex, manually updated spreadsheets and other paper documents.
What’s the first thing that pops into your head when someone mentions the Samsung Galaxy Note? You’re likely thinking about the massive recall that was issued for the company’s 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in 2016. Product recalls have a huge impact on both people and brands. In addition to lasting financial effects, poorly managed product recalls can have devastating consequences on a company’s reputation, market share, and bottom line.
Moving with the Times
With so many aspects of organizations moving away from paper and into the digital age, it seems that the management of product recalls hasn’t quite kept up. Product recalls are serious tasks for any company to undertake, which is why they can’t be managed with outdated processes such as spreadsheets and paper responses.
Modernizing recall management process results in: Accurate and up-to-date customer data stored on modern customer relationship management (CRM) systems; fast and inexpensive notifications; easy response options for customers and automated response reporting dashboards to show performance and hopefully conformance as a result. So how can businesses utilize digital platforms to make product recalls more efficient and manageable?
Dedicated Recall Management CRM System
Product recalls can be managed seamlessly and efficiently on a dedicated recall response database. This eliminates the need for complex, manually updated spreadsheets and other paper documents, and provides an accurate system to produce up-to-the-minute reports at the touch of a button. All of your customer information is stored in one centralized place with access available across departments for internal key users. This is then updated automatically as customers are notified and when they respond.
Consumers often take to social media to voice their concerns over a product’s safety. Social media posts can quickly transform into headline headaches in traditional media outlets. When a recall occurs, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) typically requires that social media notifications be included in corrective action plans. Steps for a product recall digital response include:
- Provide a dedicated URL in your notifications to allow your stakeholders to respond securely online
- Allow these responses to be automatically added into your dedicated recall database, and attached directly to each contact’s record
- Avoid the potential risk of human error when manually entering data from paper responses
- Build up a seamless workflow, from notifications to responses and follow-up thus simplifying the whole process of managing recall communications
When a recall occurs, companies not only have to face the public, but they typically have to report to a government agency. Recall authorities often request that companies dealing with a recall submit status reports biweekly (or at least monthly), making automation a priority. Automated reporting can include:
- Number of consignees notified of the recall, and date and method of notification
- Number of consignees responding to the recall communication and quantity of products on hand at the time it was received
- Number of consignees that did not respond
- Number of products returned or corrected by each consignee contacted and the quantity of products accounted for
- Number and results of effectiveness checks that were made
- Estimated time frames for completion of the recall
When using a dedicated recall response CRM database, this information is available to view and download quickly, whenever the authorities require it.
Proactively Partner with an Expert
Because recalls are often complex, many companies are proactively partnering with experts to help them prepare for the unexpected occurrence of a recall. This has the most dramatic effect on the performance of any recall. An expert will help you:
- Determine responsibilities: Define terms and assign roles and responsibilities. Managers from across the company will be available to handle operations, production, purchasing, customer service, marketing, and finance.
- Develop an online recall flowchart which becomes the core ingredient of every aspect of recall management.
- Messaging: Prepare a variety of messages for each recall class and divide them according to customer, stakeholders, and media. Have templates on hand with a choice of messages, which can easily be modified in a crisis.
- Identify the product locations: It’s the company’s responsibility to know the quantities in production, distribution, and which consumers have them and where they are. This links back to a Recall CRM database, and is without doubt, the number one cause of recall announcement delays.
- Notify all affected parties: During a recall, it’s important to follow the appropriate regulatory agencies’ procedures in a timely manner, typically in this order: Agency; distribution chain; and then consumer.
- Commence the recall and monitor its stages:
- Remove: All efforts made to remove the product from the market place
- Control: Ensuring recalled products do not re-enter the market
- Dispose: Follow agency or other protocols for disposing of the item
- Measure recall effectiveness: Check all appropriate actions have been taken and all parties notified, and whether consumer feedback is neutral, negative, or positive
- Recall termination: Only once all regulatory parties have authorized it
- Mock Recall: Should be conducted, practiced, and modified on a quarterly basis, as follows:
- Choose a product for the mock recall
- Trace the product from the source to the finished product
- Verify communication systems: Emails, address, telephone numbers
- Document each mock recall and modify the strategy to correct any aspects not factored in
It’s important to remember that all crisis communication strategies should be revised on a regular basis. By making sure that you have digital channel experts in place as part of your crisis management team, your company is already in a good position to defuse any potential damaging situations.
About the Author:
Peter Gillett is Managing Director of Marketpoint Recall, an international recall agency with locations around the world. It handles many languages across all time zones and has carried out national and international recalls for companies in many sectors.