Damage control is underway for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. If not handled properly, it has the potential to be a disaster. Gather round for a brief case study in what to do when things go bad.
I have a particular interest because I bought this phone in late August just before a vacation to Montana. I love the high quality pictures and video the phone creates.
But I have to admit, that first day I brought the phone home and plugged it in to the charger, I was surprised and concerned about how hot it was when I picked it up a couple hours later. The next day I charged it again and to my relief found it to be cooler.
Now we learn that is apparently not always the case.
Pictures like this one, posted on YouTube by Ariel Gonzalez, captured a lot of attention.
Its unclear when the company first discovered the problem but by Friday leaders of Samsung announced a world wide recall of the 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones that have already been sold to people like me.
It appears Samsung is doing several things right. First, its communicating directly with the public through the media and explaining what it knows. A couple dozen phones were found to have problems with the battery that led to a fire.
CNN reported that Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung's mobile communications business appeared before the press and called the failure heartbreaking. CNN Money report on Samsung Recall
That is a key move that I think corporate leaders often miss. They are so busy dealing with the details of a big problem that they are tone deaf to what the public is thinking and feeling. I'm thinking this will be a big hassle for me and this phone I've come to enjoy maybe is not so great after all. Reading a quote like his puts some humanity into the issue. It makes me think the guy cares about the impact on my life. I appreciate that. I also know its possible he meant heartbreaking for the company's bottom line and reputation but I chose to think its all about me.
Samsung is also moving fast which is important. Initially the company said it would take a couple weeks to prepare a recall but then changed that and said people like me can exchange our Note 7's for other phones starting next week. That's important for people who are really worried about their phones. Its also reassuring for those who are only somewhat concerned because we have a choice and some control in what happens next.
The only place I see Samsung failing is direct and personal communication with customers.
I learned about the recall from my website designer who recognized my phone when I pulled it out at Starbucks.
In this day of technology someone at Samsung should have hammered out an email or text message and sent it to every Note 7 sold in the world. It could go from Samsung to the major wireless carriers to our phones in seconds.
In the meantime, I'm not sure what I'll do with my Note 7. But for now, I'm not leaving it on the charger overnight, just in case.