Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Samsung recalls washing machines

Samsung recalls washing machines

Samsung is having a very rough 2016. After the release of the Galaxy Note 7 was first hijacked by the new iPhone and then completely ruined by reports of the phones exploding, the company was forced to recall nearly two million handsets.

That Bad News was followed by a unilateral edict in the U.S. that no Galaxy 7 phones will be allowed on commercial aircraft flying in the United States. That led frustrated customers arguing with TSA agents over a phone that was, likely, brand new.

But this is the trifecta. Samsung is being forced to recall about three million washing machines because … wait for it … they “can explode” according to CNN. The recall was announced simultaneously by two parties, first by Samsung personally, and then by federal regulators.

According to the recall notice, there have been reports of lids popping off the machines during operation, potentially posing a risk of serious injury. According to Samsung’s report, the problem can happen when bedding, water-resistant or bulky items are washed on high speed. The incidents happened when the drum goes out of balance and literally vibrates the lid off the washing machine.

The recall notice came out, but not soon enough for many consumers. A group of Samsung customers filed a class action lawsuit back in August. According to CNN, one of the customers reported the washer exploding “with such ferocity that it penetrated the interior wall of her garage.”

In the wake of the lawsuit, other than the recall notice, Samsung has made no further statement about the issue. Though it has said it will offer customers a “free in-home repair” along with a one-year warranty extension … or a rebate to purchase a new washer, either from Samsung or another company.

Much like the immediate offer to replace the Galaxy handsets, Samsung’s immediate offer to compensate affected customers is a step in the right direction from a PR perspective. But they will need to do much more than that to win back customers this will cost them.

More than anything else, when faced with a choice of two similar products, customers will go with the one that makes them “feel” better about the purchase. Maybe it’s an iPhone because they heard traveling with a Samsung could be a pain … or maybe it’s a Maytag because they decided reputed reliability is better than bells and whistles. After all, it’s “really just a washing machine.”

Wanting a simple, no hassle consumer experience is a mindset that Samsung is going to have to overcome before they can even begin to create a conversation with their customers. No one wants to be the unlucky customer with the next product to go boom.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

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