Consumers trust the products they use will be dependable and safe, which unfortunately, is not always the case.

Several recent product recalls have shaken the reputation and weakened the confidence of the consumers who purchased the products involved in the product recall. As the details of the product recall reaches the consumers’ ear, some question the reputation, reliability and safety of the brands involved. Brands that connect with consumers during these tense times have a better chance at resuming business, once this crisis has been managed and put to bed.

Safety First, Reputation Follows

The purpose of a product recall is to remove potentially dangerous products from the population. To reclaim defective, contaminated or otherwise unsafe inventory from households and organizations in order to protect and save the public from harm or death. When a product recall focuses on food safety, consumers perk up, listen closely and are compelled to take action. Product recalls are disruptive for business and families – especially when the product recall involves products that children, elders or people with special needs use religiously. In the business world, adaptability is extremely important during a product recall – there is no time to waste when products or produce threatens the lives of consumers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) works to protect the public from “unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products”, according to CPSC’s website.

Consumer Response

It’s normal to expect consumers will spread the word about any product being recalled. You can also expect consumers to share what they know online and many times, some of the language used may diminish the brands reputation.  It doesn’t really matter if the product recall is mandatory or voluntarily, unsafe products must be recalled. 

As much as consumers appreciate being made aware of potential threats to their health and livelihood, how consumers respond online (e.g., knee jerk reactions) alters the way brands and the organizations behind the brands are perceived. Public and private organizations can track what is said online about their brands, leadership and gauge how the public perceives how they are managing the product recall.

Organizations can also use this unfortunate opportunity to:

  1. apologize for any inconvenience the product recall may have caused
  2. guide consumers to places where they can learn more about the product recall (e.g., Twitter, press release, blog)
  3. become more visible online
  4. speak directly to consumers on their own social media channels
  5. provide ongoing updates
  6. remind consumers of their ethos (who they are/what they stand for)
  7. frame the situation
  8. share why a product recall was necessary
  9. connect with consumers on the social networks (who are sharing how the product recall has altered their lives)
  10. remain open to criticisms
  11. accept and act on feedback.
  12. release updates about the process and progress of the current product recall

A product recall can severely distort brand awareness if you don’t involve yourself in the conversations happening online. This unfortunate event is another way to demonstrate how much you appreciate and value consumers. Don’t miss this opportunity to keep consumers safe and reveal your character.

For real-time information about product recalls follow @FDArecalls, @OnsSafety, @recalls on Twitter.

Has a product recall caused you to distrust a brand or discontinue using certain products?

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