Crisis Management Case Study: Consumer Product Recall
Preserving Reputation and Customer Base
Leading contact lenses manufacturer
A geographically decentralized senior leadership team needed to figure out how to respond to the very A manufacturing error at one of our client’s plants resulted in tens of thousands of defective contacts lenses being shipped to eye care professionals and vision centers. Consumer complaints over eye irritation led to interest from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which launched an investigation.
Although the client stopped shipment of the defective contact lenses and fixed manufacturing procedures, it was necessary to recall the lenses that had already been shipped to vision centers. The client’s attorneys hired us to provide counsel throughout the recall process and reduce the company’s reputational fallout.
Upon learning of the manufacturing error, our client acted swiftly and worked with regulators to protect its customers. Manufacturing accidents happen, and our client was willing to take decisive action to put the recall behind them and implement measures to keep it from happening again.
Our first step was to establish our clear, concrete strategic goal: make sure the company stays in business after the recall by assuring its customers (eye care professionals and vision centers) that it was taking full responsibility for the error and implementing all the necessary steps to prevent injury to consumers.
To achieve this, we stayed in constant contact with the FDA, negotiating language to be used in public communications, finalizing a timetable and designing and implementing a public outreach program.
This included managing media interest from consumer reporters as well as reaching customers through social media and other channels.
The company successfully navigated the recall. Reputational damage to the company was minimized. Doctors, ophthalmologists and purchasing agents for the large vision centers were pleased with the client’s response. Consumer impact was virtually nonexistent.
The recall concluded and the company was able to get back to regular operations.