Despite a company’s commitment to safe production and distribution practices, food recalls and other crisis situations can and do happen.
The CDC estimates that every year in the U.S. alone, food-borne illness sickens 48 million people (or 1 in 6), sending 128,000 to the hospital and resulting in 3,000 fatalities. With these sorts of statistics, it’s evident that being prepared for a recall or other crisis is of the utmost importance.
Here are 3 keys to handling a product recall:
1) Be Ready
It’s important to maintain a constant state of readiness. Don’t wait until the crisis occurs to develop your readiness strategy — start developing it today.
The goals of your strategy should be to educate consumers; demonstrate commitment to your key stakeholders; and mitigate risk to your brand and business. It should include well-defined product return and refund processes, and a clear communications plan.
Put a team in place to execute the strategy when needed and most importantly, don’t forget to continue to test, measure, and make improvements to your plan.
As with all communications, keep in mind frequency, timing and your audience. Be sure to clearly define the scope, including the product being recalled and helpful information about the issues at hand. Messaging should convey that the health and safety of your consumers are top priority.
Assure that contact channels (phone, chat, email, social media, automated messaging, etc.) are covered to ensure a seamless multi-channel experience. You’ll be dealing with some disgruntled customers, and the last thing you want is to further aggravate them with a disconnected, less-than-stellar customer experience.
3) Partner for Success
An experienced contact center partner can be integral in developing and executing a product recall readiness strategy. When evaluating potential partners, be sure to consider the following:
- Experience: Does the company have industry-relevant experience, proven best practices and knowledge of regulatory and compliance needs?
- Capacity: Does the company have 24/7 scalability? Can it properly recruit and train reps, in the proper language? Does it have retrieval, special handling and remedy management capability?
- Technology: Does the company have multi-channel capability? Does it have data collection and documentation solutions available? What about report management?
With food recalls in the forefront of the public mind, it’s more important than ever to have a plan in place to respond. Keep the health and safety of your consumers in mind and provide a seamless process for response, retrieval and multi-channel customer service. Partner with a contact center vendor with the right experience, capacity and technology to mitigate the potential damage to your brand’s reputation.