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The fourth quarter of 2012 reached a two year high of recalls, with approximately six food recalls being documented every day and affecting just over 18 million products. For companies that have faced time-sensitive recall communications challenges, multi-channel product recall communications offer an approach that can significantly impact costs, reputation, and brand loyalty.
Recalls are too important to remain tethered to direct mail notifications. Days are lost as notifications go through the mail, and they could be thrown away without ever being read. Today, organizations, especially those in the grocery industry, need a better, more efficient way to communicate time-critical product recalls. Using faster and more personalized delivery methods helps to minimize health or danger concerns while providing a better customer experience and building stronger customer relationships.
While many companies notify consumers of recalls via postal mail, there are more immediate channels such as voice, text, and email messages that enable quicker and less expensive recall communications that still meet the necessary regulation documentation. Grocery retailers that capture consumer contact information through loyalty programs and build text opt-in programs that can leverage that information quickly to send notifications of recalled products.
When food and CPG products are concerned, recalls can have a more immediate health impact, so it’s important for members of the grocery industry to reach their consumers quickly for product recalls. Using consumers’ preferred channels, or the way they request to receive communications, can make recall communications more effective; increasing open rates and the chances that these critical messages are received and read in a timely fashion. By implementing an automated voice message, text message, or email to reach affected consumers during a recall, national, regional and even local chains can quickly deliver vital information to ensure high levels of consumer awareness while also receiving reports on successful notifications.
Grocery retailers should develop a plan for issuing recall notifications:
- Prepare your database team to pull customer records quickly in the event of a recall
- Work with a data list services provider to append missing phone numbers
- Have a communications platform in place or work with a partner to reach out to consumers in a prompt fashion
- In order to assure an optimal customer experience during these recalls, we recommend you provide to consumers the below information as a best practice:
Critical information regarding the impacted product
- A toll-free number to call for additional details
- The opportunity to transfer to a live person
- A link to a website where information has been posted for further details
Besides reaching consumers via their preferred channels, a multi-channel approach to recall communications can provide grocery retailers with the required reporting information about message delivery status. This includes which customers were reached, how many were answered live, and the duration of each interaction. Armed with this knowledge, deploying a multi-channel customer communications plan expedites message delivery, leverages efficiencies, and helps mitigate the impact of recalls on operations and reputations.
John Moriarty is the account director in the Strategic Mobile Services group at Genesys | SoundBite. He is a multi-channel communications veteran who has spent the last 12 years working closely with, retailers and CPG companieson customer marketing and communications strategies. He can be reached at [email protected]