One of Australia’s most popular car seat companies Maxi Cosi has recalled more than 10,000 of its car seats off shop shelves due to safety concerns.
About 6000 units of Maxi-Cosi’s Euro Convertible Car Seat A2 model are to be officially recalled from sale this Friday, while 5000 units of Maxi Cosi’s A4 model were removed from sale last Friday.
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The A2 model was recalled after a video by a seat fitter went viral showing the straps could loosen during driving, while the A4 was released without the requisite safety certification.
Maxi-Cosi’s Facebook page has been inundated with unhappy customers complaining.
“Brought Maxi-Cosi for its safety and brand name, but instead got a $600 dud that can potentially kill and injure my newborn baby in an accident?” one customer posted.
A spokesperson for Maxi-Cosi said in a statement that it will arrange replacements for consumers who have already purchased the A4 product.
“We regret any confusion in the market around Maxi-Cosi A4 convertible car seats and the inadvertent release before the certification process was completed,” the spokesperson said.
“To that end we have instructed the removal of Maxi-Cosi A4 car seats with three height markers from sale until the certification is complete.”
Gerry McCusker, online reputation management expert at Engage ORM, told SmartCompany Maxi-Cosi needs to move swiftly to assuage consumers concerns.
1. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes
McCusker says consumers are likely to judge Maxi-Cosi harshly after it admitted it was lacking safety verification for a product sold at a premium price.
“Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes, emotionally they feel cheated,” he says.
“Trust, safety and credibility are all critical.”
2. Act swiftly
McCusker says in this situation, businesses such as Maxi-Cosi have to be “quicker than the NBN broadband”.
He recommends having a crisis plan in place before problems arise in order to move swiftly.
“You need to have the plan in place beforehand so you are not trying to figure out what do we do at the time,” he says.
3. Explain your solution clearly
Maxi-Cosi has posted product recall information prominently on its website and Facebook page, which McCusker says is a good move by the business.
In particular, he highlights the use of a flow chart diagram where consumers can tell if they are affected.
“There is some thought and intelligence in the way they have tried to advise stakeholders,” he says.
4. Have some empathy
But McCusker says Maxi-Cosi has failed to have empathy in its response.
“Clipped legalese product recall language only goes so far,” he says.
“Because we are dealing with an issue of trust and child safety the response has to be very emotionally empathetic and intelligent.”
He says Maxi-Cosi is dealing with a “highly emotive issue” and needs to monitor consumer sentiment closely.
McCusker says Maxi-Cosi has to be prepared to acknowledge there will be disappointment and outrage.
“The next step is to say how do we acknowledge that we have let them down and make it right,” he says.
“The next phase is about empathy, expression and a commitment to making it good. It’s not just about products off shelves, that’s a minimum.”