For many organisations, at least one of these tests will come in the form of a product recall.Whether the company will suffer irreparable damage or ultimately strengthen its brand identity hinges on how prepared the organisation is to handle all aspects of the recall. This type of crisis has many components that must be handled expertly – such as communication to customers and distributors, liaison with regulatory bodies and product retrieval and destruction.
The need for speedThere is no room for error and little time for manoeuvring during a recall when even the slightest misstep can have dramatic, lasting repercussions. Particularly in today’s hyper-connected world where customers, the media and other influencers can communicate via social channels in real-time, brands cannot afford to be unprepared in the event of a recall. Speed and efficiency are of the essence and the best way to achieve them is through a solid plan of action. Companies that lack a recall plan or try to manage all of the logistics of a recall in-house risk prolonging the process, and often take their eye off other key business objectives in order to deal with the crisis.
It’s all about the communicationThe cornerstone of a good recall preparation plan is a solid communication strategy. There are numerous stakeholders affected by recalls, all with different needs and communication preferences. Companies that take stock of these needs, determine the respective communication strategies and channels, and delegate responsibilities in advance of a recall event are the best prepared to respond efficiently and mitigate any risk. Due to the regulations that guide recalls, it’s critical that all affected parties receive notification. Of course, the specifics of recall messaging cannot be determined until an event occurs. However, in the preparation stage companies can determine the pipelines through which they want information to flow and how they will scale quickly to manage the logistics of a recall.
Customer trustOne key in designing a communications pipeline is ensuring customers are involved early. Wielding the latest innovations in consumer technology, customers can connect and disseminate information in real-time. This sets the stage for misinformation to spread rapidly and cause tensions to escalate quickly. If that happens, the employees handling the recall are putting out fires instead of focusing their attention on important steps in the recall process. Ideally information should flow both ways in a pipeline. It’s important that the designated recall coordinator and management team are listening to customers throughout the process and being mindful of their feedback. After all, their safety and trust are two of the critical components of an effective recall.
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