Whirlpool hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week when it was revealed that the government is set to issue an ‘unprecedented’ recall notice of up to 500,000 tumble dryers which pose a fire risk.
The implication of this announcement to consumers is that Whirlpool has shirked its responsibilities and so the issue had to be taken out of its hands, a view supported by subsequent comments from Rachel Reeves, Labour chairwoman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, who referred to Whirlpool’s ‘inadequate response’.
As a result, Whirlpool’s reiteration that safety is its ‘number one priority’ somehow lacks authenticity.
Product recalls are a manufacturer’s worst nightmare, but they do happen. When they do, swift action, transparency and clear and honest messaging is vitally important. We have handled product recalls for clients before and the reality is that there is nowhere to hide. You must accept that a faulty or dangerous product will trigger bad press, but if you ever want to rebuild trust in your brand it must start with how well you react to the crisis. Be honest about the fault and the potential danger and provide consumers with a clear and easy route to contact you to resolve the issue.
Whirlpool’s lack of an effective response has transformed what was initially an issue with product quality into a question mark about its morality. No brand wants to appear as if they don’t care about their customers’ safety.