How Did Samsung Overcome the Galaxy Note 7 Crisis?
Samsung is an electronics giant known across the globe for its smartphones and other devices. The sales of Samsung smartphones have been booming, giving stiff competition to other leading smartphone brands. People worldwide have appreciated Samsung’s flagship smartphones, such as Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy S7, among others. However, things started going south with the launch of the Galaxy Note 7 (in August 2016), the successor to the Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy S7 was initially welcomed wholeheartedly through record-high pre-orders and sales. But soon, this smartphone turned into a nightmare for consumers who bought it, which led to the Galaxy Note 7 crisis. The Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were bursting into flames across the world.
A young girl in Minnesota had burned her hand from a Galaxy Note 7 explosion. There were countless reports from across the globe complaining about how these phones were overheating and exploding like bombs. These phones were nothing short of explosives that the consumers were carrying in their pockets, and soon, airlines banned passengers with Galaxy Note 7 from boarding planes unless they switched off their smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 crisis was something that the brand had never seen before.
What Led to the Galaxy Note 7 Crisis?
Samsung, at first, notified that these explosions were because of some defective pieces and launched an exchange program, where they encouraged consumers to exchange their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones for a new batch of the same model. However, things soon turned ugly when even the replacements started exploding.
Samsung could not understand the cause of the Galaxy Note 7 crisis. The next logical step was to initiate a major recalling program for these smartphones. However, this Samsung Galaxy Note 7 crisis negatively affected the sales and reputation of the brand. To regain the trust of its customers, it was pertinent to identify the root cause of this debacle.
Samsung tested the devices, including charging (wireless and fast charging), iris scanner, USB-C charger, software, manufacturing, etc. They also partnered with independent labs to conduct studies on the cause of the Samsung Note 7 crisis. Their findings were uniform: the batteries malfunctioned, leading to overheating and subsequent explosions.
How Did Samsung Deal With the Crisis?
Setting an example for all brands, Samsung dealt with the crisis rather impressively. We break it down below.
1. They showed accountability
Samsung was quick to acknowledge problems with the Galaxy Note 7 models. They did not shirk the responsibility when the Galaxy Note 7 crisis ensued. They held a press conference and admitted that they were aware of the explosions. Although, they did not have any information on the cause of those accidents at that point.
2. They were proactive
Samsung was proactive in exchanging the models of the first batch as they believed there was some manufacturing defect. However, when the replacements started exploding, they did not waste any time before they began to recall all the Galaxy Note 7 pieces off the market. They sent alerts through e-mails and messages to return the Galaxy Note 7 models. Their only priority was the safety of the people; that’s why they partnered with telecom companies to send software updates that would disable the phone’s charging function, which would render the smartphone useless.
The recall of all Galaxy Note 7 phones from the market cost Samsung six billion dollars. In October, Samsung finally stopped the production and sales of the Galaxy Note 7.
3. They thoroughly investigated to discover the cause
Samsung built a lab where 700 researchers tested 200,000 phones and 30,000 batteries.
It was essential to determine the fault with the smartphones to remedy the situation and salvage Samsung’s brand image. They tested the phones under extreme conditions to emulate the circumstances when the phones exploded and found fault in their batteries. They communicated their findings to the media.
4. They brought in new quality check measures
Samsung devised a new and multi-step quality and safety check that all its manufacturers must follow. In addition, Samsung has made several internal changes since the Galaxy Note 7 crisis, like adopting more advanced safety measures, changing leadership, bringing in new members to do damage control, etc. Their challenge was not only to deal with the Samsung Note 7 crisis but to earn back the loyalty and trust of the customers.
5. They improved overall processes
Samsung went the extra mile to show that it could design and manufacture stable, high-end smartphones and that they were no less than any of its competitors. The company conducted studies across the various departments and made the necessary changes to improve multiple aspects of the smartphone manufacturing processes. As a result, future smartphones released will be the most tested devices with fewer bugs and top-notch hardware.
Samsung’s proactive attitude and the desire to be better have struck a chord with its loyal customers. As a result, Samsung has significantly revived its losses and has proved to be worthy of customers’ love and support over these years.
6 Learnings from the Samsung Note 7 Crisis Management
Here are a few lessons to be learned from the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 crisis management.
1. Acknowledge the problem
Samsung’s quick acceptance of its faulty Galaxy Note 7 pieces showed the way for other brands to take ownership of their mistakes.
2. Act quickly
It is crucial to be proactive in such situations to determine the cause and do damage control. Samsung recalled all the Galaxy Note 7 phones and completely halted the production and sales of the model in a matter of two months. Changing the policies and internal workings is essential to remedy the larger picture.
3. Improve safety standards
Samsung has also shared its learnings from this Galaxy Note 7 crisis with the world so that other companies and manufacturers can benefit from them and be more cautious while manufacturing components of smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 crisis and the company’s increased attention to the quality and safety of its smartphones influenced other brands to up their quality check processes and introduce better standards to the industry.
4. Strive to identify the root cause
Instead of hiding information or not owning up to the problem, it is fundamental to know what caused the crisis. Samsung did not rest until it had unraveled the mystery of the Galaxy Note 7 crisis.
5. Communicate effectively
Samsung updated its customers about every new finding or decision regarding the Galaxy Note 7. This built a sense of trust among the customers who had been disappointed due to such mishaps.
6. Apply your learnings to future projects
Any crisis can be a lesson to move forward and improve. Samsung used this fiasco to improve its manufacturing process and quality checks and implemented improved methods for newer launches. These measures showed that Samsung cared for its customers, and hence, the customers did not irrevocably lose their faith in the brand.
Yes, Samsung made a huge mistake with the Note 7 and disappointed its customers. But it owned up to its mistake, acted instantly, worked tirelessly, and has come back stronger than before. The South Korean brand has shown it is larger than any Galaxy Note 7 crisis. Loyal customers have recognized their effort and put the explosion episode behind them. They have embraced the brand again. Through its efficient management of the debacle, Samsung has proved that a failure does not define the future of a brand as long as they decide to learn from it.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 crisis led to the brand halting the manufacturing and sales of only the Galaxy Note 7 model. However, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 recovered all the damage done by Galaxy Note 7. Galaxy Note 8, launched in 2017, was a flagship phone loved by the people.
Samsung acted hastily and exchanged the faulty Note 7 phones. Then, realizing there was a problem with the entire range and not just one isolated batch, they called back all the Note 7 phones from the market, even though they lost six billion dollars.
Samsung Note 7 had faulty batteries that got overheated and exploded like bombs. These explosions had harmed several people across the globe. Upon understanding that the phones’ batteries were faulty, Samsung decided to discontinue the range.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explosions were standalone instances. Samsung has implemented stringent quality assurance checks and battery safety systems to ensure such accidents never occur again.