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Top Ways to Combat Recall Fatigue

By Stericycle Expert Solutions

Recall fatigue is one of the biggest challenges companies face when it comes to recalls. It often leads to low response rates, which can mean regulatory fines, legal liability, and brand damage. We’ve already pointed out the top signs of recall fatigue. Now it’s time to look at the top ways to combat it.

1. Over communicate. One press release and a few in-store posters won’t cut it. To really raise response rates, companies must use a variety of channels to inform customers of the issue. Social media is an increasingly common method that can be very effective, although it is crucial to have a dedicated team ready to respond to questions and misinformation that may circulate. For companies that have customer contact information available, such as returned warranty cards, it is important to reach out directly. In the automotive sector, repeated multi-channel notifications have proved effective in raising repair rates.

2. Make your message clear. Now is not the time to use flowery language or sugar coat the situation. Doing so could cause confusion and frustration, and it can leave the impression that the recall is less significant than it is. Without being alarmist, make the urgency of the situation clear – as well as the actions consumers and consignees should take.

3. Make it easy to respond. Even if there is widespread understanding of the issue, some won’t take action if they perceive it as too cumbersome. Establish a dedicated recall hotline and website. In some cases, it makes sense to set up an email address that can be used to respond to questions, especially if call volumes are too high or communication in multiple languages is required. Using a service that can perform repairs and provide remedies in the field can also increase response rates by making it more convenient for customers. Medical device and pharmaceutical companies may request a reply form from healthcare providers and pharmacies. These forms should be as simple as possible to encourage timely response.

4. Offer a remedy that goes above and beyond. Typically, consumers will want reimbursement for a recalled product. In some cases, companies may choose to offer a credit or coupon instead. If the affected product is a high dollar item, they may opt for partial reimbursement. Business leaders understandably want to reduce the costs associated with a recall, but it is also important to think about the big picture. Lost customer loyalty, legal fees, and regulatory fines are much more costly in the long term. If recall fatigue is a major concern, it is wise to consider offering a remedy that surpasses the industry standard.

5. Be ready. If a recall strikes when a company is unprepared, odds are, there will be crucial steps that are either missed or not executed properly. For example, depending on the industry, data on current retailers, hospitals, and customers may be out of date, making notifications less effective. With so many recalls making headlines, that notification may be their only method for finding out about the recall. Make a plan, update it regularly, and hold mock recalls to find the gaps.

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