As the growth and transparency of recalls become more known and an opportunity for companies to show their commitment to safety, managing recalls publicly has become another element besides the returns logistics themselves. What was once taboo and hidden is on the front line for consumers, so controlling the information and conversation is no longer an option, but an requirement.

It is a known fact that in certain spaces we face more frequency and volume of recalls especially in particular fields like medical, pharma and foods. As recently released by ExpertRecall’s Q2 Recall Index, recalls are on the up and up for medical devices and food (60% due to undeclared allergens). So what should companies do once they realize there is an issue? Setup a website for recall information? Open up an 800#? Try to hide completely?

We help companies manage their recalls online and here are our seven steps tips to running a recall right and setting your team up for success:

1)         Add a Notice or Link to Your Homepage

While this might contradict “common sense” including a link or recall notice on a website homepage can show responsibility, create more visibility and gently assist SEO to drive traffic or concerned consumers to your site versus another blog post or link on the web mentioning your recall. Seen above, even IKEA – a global brand in their right – posts links to recalls on their homepage without fear of repercussions. Own the recall, post it, and allow people to become educated.

2)         Setup a Temporary Site for FAQs

This question comes up often, create a new website or not? It depends on the brand and how many recalls you might be seeing in the future but if the IT bandwidth is there having a separate site is also a good idea for SEO reasons and containment- meaning giving an central source and place to communicate a recall. You may need to add lot numbers affected, dates manufactured, or other brands affected as recalls often expand into other areas especially if it is related to a manufacturing or assembly issue. Have all the FAQs or common questions in one place and you will be sure to see 800# or helpdesk volume decrease.

3)         Include the Recall Notice in Email Campaigns

Again, counter-intuitive to initial thought, working with already existing emails that are going out can be another helpful way of getting the word about a recall out to consumers while also increasing the response rate. Marketing and Sales often already have built templates or scheduled email newsletters to go out to various databases or lists, so having an icon or small note in an email about a recall can increase “click throughs” or interactions for campaigns as well as reach more potential people affected by the recall. We try to always list a few recent recalls in newsletters from ConsumerBell and we find most moms and bloggers find the information useful (as a value add) and not scary.

4)         Cross-Sell to Potential Product Buyers

Something we specialize in and believe in our core business is that a recall can often be a “conversation starter” meaning you can use it as a tool to be in contact with customers and get feedback while showing them other items you are selling that are similar. Just because one particular product had a recall does not mean all hope is lost, it means there is a chance to showcase your company’s strengths as well as highlight another product within the organization. We have a mantra around the lines of “Always be selling or teaching” that genuinely applies for most non-lethal consumer recalls and prove to be a win-win.

5)         Use the Same Keywords, Hashtags and Phrases

Another important note is to make sure the same phrases and keywords  are used for easy searching and adding exposure that comes with word-of-mouth type of viral affect. Can someone verbally give keywords to another person in conversation quickly? Also creating a recall hashtag for twitter can be useful as it creates a sense of ownership in social media and allows others to quickly reference tweets and retweets noticing the support around a recall. Effective hashtags tend to include nor more than 6 letters and 2 numbers so for example: “recall13” or “CPGrecall” Attorneys like this as well, as they often have to approve legal phrasing so being consistent makes risk managers happy too and brand managers breathe easier.

6)         Contact Top Authors in the Recall Space

Another way to gain a fan rather than a foe is to contact writers who cover recalls or the vertical in which your product recall applies and give them the “lowdown” of information. Tell them about it, send them links and get them inspired to feel as though they are getting more of an exclusive then then trying to “uncover” something that is being hidden. This can easily add more media coverage exponentially (meaning it will likely get picked up elsewhere) as well as make friends that can be called upon should the need occur in the future. Most businesses are built upon relationships so make some more happen.

7)         Work with the Marketing Team on “Voice”

One complaint that comes from companies, especially in the pharma and medical spaces is that it is not fair the amount of resources that marketing and sales have versus compliance and operations. Many marketing teams have well planned out calendars and strategy roadmaps with resources available for last minute or urgent items and are happy to help. Besides having the right people on staff to understand regulations, try to gain someone from marketing who can help pick the right tone for all communications so that any recall information going out can be as close to the brand as all the marketing and sales managers have worked hard to get. Remember a brand takes years to build up but can quickly be demolished in one wrong turn in communications.

If you need more tips on how to effectively run a recall or other help feel free to ping us, we are always here to help and love keeping consumers safe while do it.

Commonly used within our company we like to help everyone stay safe and do the right thing, we enjoy “Making Safety Easier.”

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