A product recall can have many negative impacts on a business. With the brand’s reputation already on the line due to the public nature of recalls, it’s important to make sure no additional errors are made which could exacerbate the situation.
Here are five common mistakes businesses make during a recall:
1) Losing Focus on Business Operations
When a company tasks existing employees to execute a product recall, they become less productive in their normal duties. That’s because a recall crisis demands a great deal of attention on top of their normal workload. That distraction during a recall could prolong recovery due to lost opportunity and revenue. By relying on internal resources to handle a recall, companies not only lose revenues associated with the recalled product, but also from other business lines that suffer from a lack of attention.
2) Documentation Oversight
Proper documentation across all aspects of the business, from manufacturing and shipping data to consumer complaints and paperwork required by regulatory bodies, is a crucial part of executing a successful recall. As a rule of thumb, companies should maintain records of complaints, production runs, distribution paths, quality control and product registration cards. Keeping detailed records can help businesses diagnose products with the potential for a recall and sometimes help to limit the scope of a corrective plan when a recall is necessary. A company can quickly fall out of compliance and accrue regulatory penalties and fines if even the smallest piece of data is overlooked during the documentation process.
3) Underestimating the Potential for Escalation
Recalls are challenging enough, but many businesses also overlook the potential for things to get worse. This can happen when the full scope of a recall isn’t realized at the outset. If a company executes a partial recall only to subsequently learn it needs to cast a wider net, it can prolong both the management process and duration of time the organization is in the media spotlight. Without the ability and resources to scale up recall efforts at a moment’s notice, a company may find itself in hot water with regulatory agencies and the public.
4) Aggressively Disputing the Powers That Be
Even if the decision for a product recall may seem unfounded, putting up a fight with the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is unwise. Public acts of defiance can result in court penalties, fines or greater regulatory scrutiny, and may further hurt the brand’s reputation.
5) Not Taking Accountability
If it looks as though a business is shirking responsibility for a recall, it could cause irreparable damage by harming consumer trust. After all, a brand’s reputation is a fragile commodity during a recall. Working with an experienced recall expert partner to create a recall plan and messaging campaign can both showcase the company’s eagerness to take responsibility and a brand’s concern for its customers’ well being. Having an established plan to correct the issues surrounding a product, and articulating those corrections, is crucial in ensuring a positive public image.
The mistakes outlined above are avoidable. With proper planning and recall expertise, any organization can maintain focus on the business, retrieve all the necessary documents, scale recall efforts, and receive PR guidance during the recall process. Partnering with an expert can help alleviate the added burden to make sure business continues to operate successfully despite complicating circumstances.