Recalls are difficult, complex events for any company to manage on their own. In many cases, recall partners are necessary to support one or more stages of the recall life cycle. So, how do you know when to reach out to an outside firm for recall assistance? Here are some factors to consider:
1. Recall size – Does your recall involve a few hundred units? While you’ll want to be ready in case new information comes in that forces you to widen the scope, you may be able to manage that internally – especially if it involves a low safety risk (more on that below). Does it involve 50,000? 100,000? A million? You will likely need some assistance with a recall that large in order to avoid legal liability, fallout with regulatory agencies, and blow-back from consumers.
2. Customer Contact information – Do you have direct contact information for all the stakeholders who currently have your product? Is that contact information up-to-date? If you do, notifications may be straightforward. If not, a recall partner can help update that data for direct notifications.
3. Hazard level – The higher the hazard, the greater the attention level. The media and the public are acutely aware of food contamination and consumer product hazards that could cause serious harm. Even if the recall involves a limited number of lots or units, the response from consumers who purchased a wide variety of products may be intense. This is especially true if children and pets are involved. If your recall was based on a technicality that won’t raise alarm, it probably won’t have a major impact on resources. Otherwise, outside help may be essential to providing a good customer experience and maintaining brand loyalty.
4. Expertise – Is someone on your team familiar with the expectations of your regulators during a recall? Agencies often have specific requirements on many details you may not have even considered, and failing to follow them can mean having to do things over again, which can lead to frustration and increase costs.
5. Complexity – Does your recall involve hazardous materials such as lithium-ion batteries? Are there multiple regulatory agencies involved? Will you need data collection and documentation for regulatory reporting? Factors such as these add layers of complexity that can be difficult to manage alone without harming day-to-day aspects of the business.
6. Internal resources – Do you have space to store affected product in a way that ensures it isn’t mingled with non-affected product? Do you have reason to believe the recall announcement will bring about a flood of calls from concerned customers and, if so, do you have a contact centre that can scale up quickly? If not, you may need help with one or more of these steps.
Experienced recall partners can fill in the gaps wherever they exist. And when companies find themselves in a situation where assistance is required with each step of the recall, it is helpful to work with a single source provider to ease the burden on internal teams and minimise the potential for miscommunication. By taking these factors into consideration, companies can mitigate the damage to their brands and get back to business more efficiently.
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