Not the kind of explosive smartphone Samsung hoped it’d be
Based on what I’ve been reading lately, these days, the only use case of Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 phone is this.
There are two kinds of explosions in the news these days – the ones that are caused every time Donald Trump opens his mouth and the ones that are being caused by Samsung’s most premium line of smartphones (even the ones that were replaced). And though, in the first case, it’s too late to do anything but pray that it doesn’t destroy us, Samsung still can (and should) salvage the situation by putting its ego aside and doing everything possible to ensure that its customers who’ve burnt their fingers (in some cases, literally) with the Note7, stay happy.
With 5 cases of replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7s having exploded, people not feeling safe having their Note7s around, carriers in the US stopping sales and offering exchanges and tech-pundits feeling that the Note7 brand has been tarnished forever, we still haven’t heard anything from Samsung of the issue. They did take the required measures and recalled 2.5 million Note7s when the issue first surfaced (albeit a bit late and in a muddled manner). After the successful recall and subsequent replacements, when things seemed to be looking up for Samsung, we’ve seen at least 5 Galaxy Note7 hand grenades get reported. And, in addition to not having taken a stand (or issued a strong statement) on the matter, Samsung, allegedly, is taking things quite lightly. Apparently, a Samsung representative mistakenly texted the following to Michael Klering, whose Note7 exploded in the early hours of the morning and who had to report to a hospital because he got acute bronchitis by inhaling the smoke his Note7 emitted (cue the ‘evil giant corporation which cares only about their interests’ remarks).
“Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it.”
Samsung, dude, you need to take a stand and stop this madness before things get worse (if they already haven’t). You should realize that you are on the wrong side of the line if Stephen Colbert mentions you right after Donald Trump during his show. Just ‘working diligently’ won’t cut it. If you want to ensure you don’t lose your loyal customers (and people who’ve recently begun respecting you) forever, you’ll have to do much more. As your highly qualified marketing and PR team doesn’t look like it is being able to do much, let me suggest a few things you could do to put the fires surrounding your long-term brand value and prospects out.
Take a strong stand on the issue. Say that you made a mistake and move forward. Stop handling issues like a certain US presidential nominee and accept your mistakes and assure your fans that you’ll do everything in your power to rectify them (it seems that Samsung has stopped manufacturing Note7s for now).
Personally ensure that every single Note7 out there is replaced with another phone (probably the S7 Edge, a special edition replacement S7 Edge might be even better). Maybe include a ‘We’re sorry’ note (pun intended) in the boxes of these replacement phones. Also, throw in a couple of goodies for free (Those Gear Fit 2s and IconX Earbuds seem like a good idea). Your customers who become your fans are the ones who take your brand to the next level (ask Apple). Make sure that they are happy.
Kill the Galaxy Note line. The goodwill (and resale value) for the Note brand is almost zero these days and there is not much to be gained by beating this dead horse. If the Note7 was any indication, the Note series has become the third variant for the Galaxy S phones. Do that, officially. The Galaxy S8 could have three variants. That way, you could have your cake and eat it too and your customers will still have the Note option to buy, albeit with a different name.
I, for one, still think that Samsung can wing this. But that needs Samsung to be swift, decisive and customer-focussed. The losses that they incur because of the Note7 fiasco can still translate into long-term gain if, right now, they focus on their customers’ interests and not theirs.
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