7 Important Call Center Skills Every Agent Should Have
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The Team at CallMiner
October 13, 2022
Product recalls are a common occurrence for many types of products, from vehicles to cribs, to food and beverages, and more. Avoiding product recalls requires a multi-prong approach to safety and quality assurance (QA) monitoring, including thoroughly vetting suppliers, maintaining strict internal QA standards, and conducting product inspections throughout the supply chain.
Collecting product feedback directly from customers is a key component of the process many companies overlook. A conversation intelligence platform like CallMiner empowers product and service teams to monitor every interaction to understand the customer experience and detect potential defects early, enabling you to avoid a recall or at least minimize its scope and impact. Companies can leverage these same insights to drive new product innovation and maintain a competitive advantage through ongoing brand and product improvement.
There are various reasons for product recalls, such as manufacturing defects, safety hazards, contamination in food or beverages, and more. Recalling defective, unsafe, or contaminated products helps to reduce liability and protect customers’ safety, but at the same time, recalls are damaging to a company’s reputation. They also have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line.
Not only can sales suffer, but the company incurs costs associated with notifying consumers that they may have purchased a recalled product, staffing contact centers to handle related customer inquiries and reports, and reimbursing consumers who qualify for a refund or a replacement product.
To learn more about the most effective strategies that can help your company reduce product recalls, we reached out to a panel of consumer product safety experts and business leaders and asked them to answer this question: “What's your number one tip for businesses looking to reduce product recalls?”
Keep reading to learn what our panel had to say about the best tips and best practices you can implement to reduce product recalls.
Dean Lee is the Head of Marketing at Sealions.
“Make sure you are aware of any new regulations…”
The regulations concerning the safety of products are complicated. They fluctuate from country to country, they are always being updated, and they are always becoming more stringent. In my perspective, when your manufacturing company develops into new nations, not only will the compliance obligations increase, but so will the likelihood of product recalls and the level of complexity they entail.
If you have a modern ERP system that includes a central regulatory repository, it will be easier for you to comply with the regulations that are already in place and to install new regulations. It offers a reliable point of reference that will keep you on the legal side of the line regardless of where you conduct business.
David Gu is the CEO of Inyouths LED Mirrors.
“A product recall is defined as…”
A request to return, exchange, or replace a product after a manufacturer or consumer watch group discovers defects that may hinder performance, cause harm to consumers, or create legal issues for the producers.
When a potential recall is identified, the product recall team can swiftly respond due to its advanced planning and ongoing dialogue. It can evaluate the data and options and conduct a risk/benefit analysis of management's possible concerns.
Ensure that any reported incidents are not the result of product misuse, abuse, or, in the case of certain toys, inadequate parental supervision. Determine whether the problem is the result of a design flaw rather than a production issue, and determine with management whether a product recall is necessary.
A product recall is frequently viewed as a process, one that is approached methodically and carefully with disciplined brainstorming, vetting, testing, and re-testing. Manufacturers may wish to investigate and analyze all product incidents thoroughly and methodically. An official report to the CPSC or another government agency may be required if an investigation reveals that a product does not comply with safety standards or poses a substantial risk of injury. In addition, manufacturers may wish to act swiftly to correct any inaccurate public reports or misperceptions contained in the CPSC's product database or the media.
To avoid and minimize potential litigation or government exposure, the most effective remedy is prompt, clear, and concise notification to all parties affected by the recall, including, whenever possible, direct notification to end users or consumers.
Ian Kelly is the CEO of NuLeaf Naturals.
“The best thing you can do to reduce product recalls is to…”
Verify each and every supplier.
Verifying suppliers will help reduce your risks of product recalls, so you should always do it before placing an order. Check the product safety standards that they use, check how they test their products, see if they have an internal product quality department, and check their experience with recalls. All of these things are important for a supplier, and verifying them will help you reduce product recalls.
Simon Dover is the Operations Manager for Sinalda UK.
“Examine and verify all of your supply chain's partners and processes…”
Before conducting business with a manufacturing partner, especially a foreign company, thoroughly investigate their claims and litigation history, get references, test items created for others, and confirm the company's financials and insurance coverage.
Before employing any third-party parts, materials, or ingredients in your products, thoroughly inspect them. Require vendors to fulfill quality requirements, pass third-party quality audits, and sign contracts that hold them accountable for errors.
Robyn Newmark is the founder of Newmark Beauty.
“A product recall may have long-lasting and expensive effects on…”
A company's image, productivity, employee morale, and bottom line.
First, I suggest that you acquaint yourself with your industry's product safety standards and regulations, keeping in mind that they may be subject to change when new trends emerge. Second, understand the product safety standards and regulations within your business. Then, create a compliance team to guarantee that you comply with standards and legislation. Lastly, ensure via personnel training that product safety is a high focus.
George Harrison is the Director of Marketing at Pkgmaker.
“There are a few things businesses can do to try to reduce the risk of product recalls…”
First, they should consider implementing a comprehensive quality control program that covers all aspects of the manufacturing process. This should include regular testing and inspection of finished products, as well as raw materials and components.
Secondly, businesses should have a robust system in place for tracking customer complaints and feedback. This information can be used to identify potential problems early on before they result in a recall.
Finally, businesses should make sure they are fully compliant with all relevant safety and quality regulations. Keeping up-to-date with changes in these regulations can help avoid unintentionally introducing hazards into your products.
Robert is the CEO of Aimvein.
“There are a few things businesses can do to reduce the likelihood of product recalls…”
First, it's important to ensure that products are designed and manufactured with quality in mind. This means paying attention to detail at every stage of the process, from design and engineering to assembly and testing.
Second, businesses should have robust quality control procedures in place so that any potential issues are identified and addressed before products reach customers. Finally, it's important to track customer feedback closely and take action quickly if there are any concerns. By following these steps, businesses can reduce the risk of product recalls and protect their reputation.
Tam Le is the Founder and Managing Director of Steamaster.
“Reduce the chances of a product recall and the severity of the consequences…”
While it is difficult to totally eliminate the risk of a product recall, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk and mitigate the consequences:
Christian Kjaer is the CEO & Co-Founder of ElleVet Sciences.
“Constant monitoring with quality control is one of the best ways to reduce product recalls…”
It’s not enough to do an initial inspection. You must test and inspect your products constantly. Analyze your manufacturing processes and ensure your products are always meeting compliance specifications. Have as much control over your entire supply chain as possible to eliminate the possibility of a product recall.
Lydia Boychuk is the VP of Marketing at More Labs.
“Follow this two-part process, and you will greatly reduce the chances of your company ever having a product recall…”
First, monitor during manufacture to address any flags that may arise. Second, perform continuous inspections of the product. Once its safety has been validated, the product is ready for sale on the open market. Adhering to these steps will transform the brand reputation of your business into a safety-minded leading organization!
Stacey Kane is the Business Development Lead at EasyMerchant.
“Businesses that want to reduce the likelihood of a product recall happening should…”
Be aware of and be familiar with product safety standards and regulations within the industry.
Even if the business establishes a good and trusting business relationship with suppliers and manufacturers, it wouldn't hurt to have extra safety precautions put in place. One thing that
has been effective for Easy Merchant is training and educating employees on how to spot any defects or violations on products. Another good practice would be having a compliance team that conducts product design reviews to ensure standards are met.
Ismail Kuden is the Co-Founder of Kuden Rugs.
“It's important to remember that product recalls are a normal part of doing business…”
In fact, the average company experiences one recall every three years. So while they can be scary, they're also something that happens to everyone in some capacity.
That said, there are things you can do to minimize the chances of a recall happening in the first place—and if it does happen, make sure it's as easy and painless as possible for you and your customers.
First and foremost, test your products before releasing them into the wild. You can't be 100% certain that everything will go according to plan when you're working with new materials or processes, but you can get pretty close with some simple testing procedures. If there's any sign of trouble during testing, stop immediately and address the issue before going any further!
More importantly, make sure all employees know what their role is in preventing recalls from happening in their department or area of expertise (if applicable). For example, if someone finds something wrong with an order before it leaves their desk (e.g., an incorrect color or size), they
should alert managers immediately so they can fix it before it goes out into circulation.
Jen Wan is the Co-founder of Soteri Skin.
“Establish stage-wise inspection…”
The best way to reduce product recalls is to keep a check on each stage of the business process. We recommend you run checks on various stages starting from production to the supply chain.
The production line must be monitored for the settings and production quality to maintain relevant standards. You need to produce quality products for them to not be recalled.
Supply chain monitoring is also necessary since if something goes wrong there, it can harm the product or deter the customer experience. Supply chain monitoring also includes checking for compliance with specifications. This will make sure that the product meets applicable requirements and is fulfilling all the promises made by the business.
Daniel Forstner is the founder of MailboxEmpire.com.
“I have found that product recalls cannot be avoided, but you can definitely implement changes within your business to reduce or combat them…”
Monitor your manufacturing process! To make it easier to inspect your products and maintain high quality and consistency, integrate automation technology into the manufacturing process. Your product inspection process should include 3 main steps within your existing process:
Marcus Astin is the founder and CEO of Pala Leather.
“The first thing you have to ask yourself is…”
Why do product recalls happen?
As a manufacturer, you probably take care to ensure that your products meet certain safety standards. However, a recall is a costly event, and it can leave your company's reputation in tatters. So why do they happen, and how can you prevent them?
Businesses must plan thoroughly before embarking on new ventures. There are some essentials in product development and design. For example, in a survey, 84% of Americans have indicated that a product recall would be a reason for them to stop buying a product. Conducting research on the product before design may help to minimize the potential of accidents and also reduce your liability.
The best way to reduce product recalls is to ensure that your products are free of defects. As a part of this, you should train your employees on the correct way to handle products and the correct way to behave in the workplace. Additionally, you should make sure that your employees are regularly tested for the presence of drugs and alcohol.
If you want to reduce product recalls, then you need to find a way to overcome that flaw or find out where the flaw lies. This can be done by speaking to your customers, getting feedback, and monitoring the product closely.
You need to find out where the flaw lies in the product, and then you need to do everything possible to make sure it does not happen again. This will cut down on time and money spent on product recalls and can easily make the difference between you being free from the problems of recalls or not.
Chelsea Cohen is the Co-founder of SoStocked.
“Monitor your manufacturing processes…”
Plus, ensure that your products are compliant with your specifications. The initial quality test is not enough. There should be dedicated product inspections at every stage of the supply chain to ensure that your products are compliant. It helps you spot products that are altered or damaged, and you can take the necessary action on time.
Jensen Lee is the Founder and Managing Member of bidetsPLUS.
“The number one tip for businesses looking to reduce product recalls is to…”
Create an environment that reduces the risk of product defects. This would include things like developing strong relationships with suppliers, understanding how your products will be used in the real world, and taking extra care during production.
Luke Lee is the CEO of Palaleather.
“Product recalls can be a major headache for businesses, both big and small…”
In addition to the cost of recalling the product, there's also the damage to your company's reputation. Not to mention, it can be a real pain trying to track down everyone who purchased the product.
To avoid all of this drama, here's my number one tip for businesses looking to reduce product recalls: track your products from start to finish. That means keeping close tabs on every step of the manufacturing process, from sourcing materials to packaging and shipping.
By knowing exactly what went into making your product, you'll be able to pinpoint the problem more quickly if something goes wrong. And that can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the long run.
Stephen Light is the Co-Owner and Chief Executive Officer at Nolah.
“Hire a third party to review…”
When looking to avoid product recalls, one of the best strategies is to hire an independent party with deep knowledge of any rules and regulations within your product niche to conduct a review. While the cost of hiring someone outside the company to review a product might be undesirable, it would be far worse to mass-produce a product that later has to be recalled and reevaluated. Hiring an objective, knowledgeable third party can be the key to uncovering a potential issue that had been missed.
Simon Elkjær is the Chief Marketing Officer of avXperten.
“Constantly monitoring the entire process and ensuring the products’ quality with the help of several tests will help you…”
Reduce product recalls and ensure that your customers receive great products and services. Being proactive and constantly optimizing your processes will help you avoid and detect any errors that might harm the quality of your product.
Having the right systems and procedures in place will also help you respond and resolve said issues quickly and more effectively. This forward-thinking approach benefits your business and upholds your customers’ best interests.
Sarah Jameson is the Marketing Director of Green Building Elements.
“Having a robust internal data management system is crucial…”
In the event of a product recall it provides a singular source of truth for how many units have been recalled and what the goal is. Data is crucial, especially for real-time reporting to stakeholders, suppliers, manufacturers, and to employees to ensure transparency. Since the business involves working with many building suppliers and manufacturers, we have to ensure that we have an accurate number of units and a tight relationship to maintain good business relations with them. Showing them that we have complete control over data management also builds brand reputation and integrity, which allows them to keep trusting us even after such crises.
Charmaine works with IceSword.
“Have an independent party conduct a product quality check review…”
An effective inspection begins by establishing expectations for the final product, and you can do this by developing a detailed QC Checklist for use by the auditors on the ground. You will want to verify the factory’s list of raw materials, sub- and intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts, and the quantities of each, commonly known as a Bill Of Materials (BOM).
Many products have very strict but transparent rules concerning product design and safety. Playground equipment, cribs and beds, or any other products that could potentially tip over or collapse are a huge potential liability. Another example would be products like coffeemakers or any electrical appliance that might pose a risk of injuring the consumer. These are all products with specifications that must meet certain regulations with which a knowledgeable third party would be familiar.
Finally, no inspection is complete if it does not include on-site testing to check the intended function of the product. There are specific tests you can do on-site for each product type, such as cookware or footwear, to accomplish this. Make sure that you have a QC team to inspect your products and ensure that you and your factory are on the same page.
Ben Price is the co-founder of Heatable.
“Our number one tip for businesses looking to reduce product recalls is to…”
Make sure you have a rigorous process for verifying that each and every product is safe. This includes making sure that all aspects of the manufacturing process are followed, from the materials used to the packaging of your products.
While it's important to ensure that your products are safe, it's also important to ensure that your customers are being kept safe as well. So, I recommend putting a system in place where customers can easily report any concerns about a product at any time, so that you can address them quickly and effectively.
Juan is the CEO of Lalo.
“The best tip to avoid recalls is to…”
Conduct product testing with a diverse group of people for as long as you can afford it.
Do it with actual production quality product and packaging so it’s as close to the real experience as possible.
Kamyar K.S. is the CEO of World Consulting Group.
“It’s imperative for a company to produce high-quality goods for their consumers, whether it be food, clothing, or other items…”
I recommend always verifying your supplier and maintaining a good relationship with them.
If a product recall is investigated and it’s found that the product is not up to standard, it also puts the company at risk of falling victim to cancel culture, which can be detrimental to a company’s future. You must do research on how your supplier(s) operate and the quality of their goods.
Research if your potential supplier has had recalls before, inquire about proper quality assurance, and ensure the manufacturer conducts business that’s up to safety standards. These aspects that can be easily overlooked can cost you in the long run.
Elisa Bender is the Co-founder of RevenueGeeks.
“The best way to reduce product recalls is through preparation…”
You should have a plan if a complaint or claim is lodged against your enterprise. When products are at the developmental stage, you should perform regular quality checks to ensure that the likelihood of recalls is reduced. The mock tests ensure that your products meet the industry standards and guidelines before reaching the end-user.
If you encounter faulty products, you can detect issues during the initial stages, allowing you to alter them accordingly. This reduces the risk that your product wouldn’t be recalled, and your reputation in the marketplace will be protected. Once your product leaves the factory, you should have a tracking tool allowing you to trace goods across the supply chain.
Paul is the Co-Founder of ConsumerGravity.
“Excessive product recalls not only mean lost revenue but also cause irrevocable damage to your brand image…”
And there is only one way to reduce product recalls: invest in quality assurance.
Implement clearly defined quality assurance standards and break them down to your staff. Additionally, it is important to realize that checking the quality of your final product is not enough. Your company must conduct multiple and overlapping checks at different stages of the manufacturing process.
Once you successfully implement robust mechanisms within your enterprise, start looking outwards. Expand your quality assurance processes to include materials or components supplied by third parties, contractors, and vendors.
Lastly, keep a record. Track common complaints about your products and it will help you resolve recurring reasons for recall.