Samsung recall puts brand on verge of PR crisis
Boom goes the battery. That’s the issue facing Samsung as they recall their popular Note 7 flagship mobile device. Reports vary, but customers are saying everything from the battery catches fire for no apparent reason to them actually “exploding” during or after charging.
Samsung wasn’t about to split hairs on the issue. When flames are involved, the rest is semantics, so they immediately announced they would offer a full “swap out” option for any customers who already purchased the Galaxy Note 7.
This is a bold but necessary move for the Korean mobile company. They don’t know which of the 2.5 million units already sold might be dangerous, so they are taking the step to collect them all. It’s a difficult and expensive step, but not a tough decision.
Samsung’s president of mobile business, Koh Dong-jin, told reporters, “There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process, so it was very difficult to figure out… It will cost us so much it makes my heart ache. Nevertheless, the reason we made this decision is because what is most important is customer safety…”
While Koh is certainly not fishing for sympathy with those comments, it’s a good bet the company will get some. After all, customers may not like the fact that there could be something very wrong with their phone, but they will certainly appreciate the swift and decisive action the company is making specifically to protect their safety.
The next step is fulfilling the promise. The company may need a few weeks to get all the units built and ready to send. Even that would be a marvel of engineering and manufacturing. After all, they need to have other phones to sell along the way.
In the meantime, Samsung’s PR team needs to work overtime on two fronts. On one end they need to reach out to current customers and connect with them in as many ways as possible. On the other hand, they need to counter rival Apple, who is teasing the release of a competitive unit right about the time the recall should commence.