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A (Cautionary) Tale of Two Product Recalls

A (Cautionary) Tale of Two Product Recalls

Has any product that you’ve owned ever been recalled? Most likely, yes – as everything from tech gadgets and car parts to baby gear and food, regularly make headlines for safety issues or other defects.

In the past few years, two products I purchased have been recalled. While the scenarios for the recalls were not entirely unique, the customer experience during both could not have been more different. The first recall was for a tablet with battery issues. Upon learning about the recall, I called the contact number and spoke to a live person who told me I would receive a new tablet in the mail, along with packaging and shipping labels to send my old one back. An email with tracking information came quickly and I continued using my old tablet until, just two days later, my brand new one arrived. The entire process was simple, fast and very consumer friendly.

The other recall was a small air pump with a faulty hose fitting that could possibly fail and break under pressure. Upon calling customer service, I had to speak with multiple representatives before I got through to someone who was aware of the recall and able to answer my questions. Though they did ultimately agree to send a repair kit, there was no confirmation for tracking, and when it arrived 10 days later, the instructions for fixing the hose fitting were complicated to follow. As you might imagine, I now highly recommend my tablet maker, but definitely, don’t recommend the pump manufacturer.

If your brand was faced with a recall scenario, where on the spectrum of the examples above would your customers rank you?

Though recalls are common across the entire universe of products in the market, they are rare to an individual brand, which is why many brands opt to outsource the process to a partner that has experience dealing with recalls across industries, and the globe.  If you are assessing partners to have at the ready should your product be the next one recalled, look for those that have:

  • A contact center and online returns management platform. These make it easy for customers and channel partners to initiate a recall transaction and allows the customer to track the status of the recalled product, including shipping.
  • Reverse logistics capabilities. This will ensure they can handle all customer collections, swaps, and advance replacements, as well as facilitate reporting.
  • Inventory management. If your brand will be doing replacement or repair services to make the fixes necessary to the product before returning it to the customer, then robust inventory management capabilities are essential.
  • A value recovery plan. In order to maximize the value of returned products, you need to have a clear plan in place and ready to execute, whether value is recovered through refurbishment and resale, component recovery, recycling or liquidation.

As a leading global provider of digital and physical supply chain solutions, ModusLink combines a globally integrated supply chain with infrastructure, technology and operating expertise in repair and recovery, customer contact centers and e-commerce to streamline returns management and provide the best customer experience in the industry. Click here to learn more about our returns management services.

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