Quality failures happen although in nearly every case it is because of a choice a company made to cut corners or make assumptions not supported by facts to devalue quality assurance practices. QA works. Period.
But when quality failures do happen, there is a choice a company can make about how to handle the failure: deny the problem and hope for the best, or confront it head on and slingshot around the failure to greater success.
In this company blog, we’ve written on several occasions about the spectacular quality failure Samsung had with the Galaxy Note 7. Now, we’re here to give Samsung an equal measure of praise. Why? Because, after a few initial missteps in the handling of the battery problem, Samsung has confronted the problem head on and appears to be poised to slingshotting themselves to greater success.
Samsung used their keynote speaker platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in January to address in detail the web of failures in business practices and technology that lead to the battery problem. This act in the largest consumer product forum of the year effectively ended the story and enabled Samsung to reset the focus to what’s next. And what’s next is a new line of phones that – in the new narrative – have been enhanced by the lessons learned through the Note 7 debacle, lessons for all to see.
See, confronting a problem is actually the only viable strategy in today’s connected business world, although many companies try to act otherwise. A head-on mea culpa greatly reduces the power of the crowd to create drama by surfacing the truth behind attempted denials. Forced revelations play into the narrative of the greedy, lying, self-serving corporation, and become both fodder for the trolls and a profound loss of faith by the fanboys, while preemptive, fact-based releases by companies create an opportunity to demonstrate honesty, care, a sense of the customer community being a collaborator in solving the problem, and an opportunity for sympathy for a company’s travails.
Once a quality failure has happened, there is no avoiding the huge costs as Samsung’s story demonstrates. Samsung is booking billions of dollars of direct losses and millions more in additional measures to ensure that the launch of the Galaxy 8 line is flawless, or nearly so. But what is completely avoidable is the permanent damage to a company’s reputation that can occur by pretending that you can sneak one by today’s consumers.
Samsung, for its part, appears to be poised for a spectacular Galaxy 8 launch because of how they handled this crisis.
Of course, quality failures are also avoidable by making quality a top priority in the first place. #QualityIsNotOptional
Coffee Thoughts inspired by Samsung’s Note 7 apology was full, humble, and nerdy, and Samsung says bad batteries and rushed manufacturing doomed the Galaxy Note 7.