Samsung Trying to Control the Damage

Samsung is dealing with a tough situation: batteries in the Galaxy Note7 have been causing fires. Warnings to turn off Samsung phones are heard on many flights, including mine to Denver this weekend. As the BBC reports, "that sends out a negative message about your products beyond even your own customers."

The company handled the initial reports well but lost favor when its replacements overheated or burned. The BBC article explains the growing issue for Samsung:

"The trouble is that even one phone which catches fire makes for startling pictures and a whole heap of consumer anxiety. Samsung may soon have to decide whether to cut its losses and abandon the Note 7 before it does more damage to its brand."

The New York Times also reported on Samsung's poor crisis communication:

"But for people to see those words, they had to click a link at the top of Samsung's home page with the not-so-urgent label 'Updated Consumer Guidance for the Galaxy Note 7.' As of Tuesday afternoon, the instructions had not been posted to Samsung's Facebook page or the company's Twitter account.

"For some who work in crisis management, it was a baffling and overly passive way for the South Korean electronics giant to deal with a prominent problem that has worsened in the last month."

On its website, Samsung posted this message: 

Samsung Will Ask All Global Partners to Stop Sales and Exchanges of Galaxy Note7 While Further Investigation Takes Place

on October 11, 2016

We are working with relevant regulatory bodies to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note7. Because consumers' safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place.

We remain committed to working diligently with appropriate regulatory authorities to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation. Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note7 or replacement Galaxy Note7 device should power down and stop using the device and take advantage of the remedies available.

Discussion Starters:

  • Look at Samsung's recent news statements about this situation. How well has the company handled communication on its website?
  • How, if at all, do you see this issue potentially reflecting poorly on the mobile industry? What should other phone manufacturers do?