Product recalls are an unavoidable part of any production industry. At times, products will be at defective, dangerous, or a threat to health. In such cases, a company has no choice but to recall the product to protect consumers. However, the costs of a recall go well beyond the simple loss of the defective product. In fact, a company can lose the public’s trust and future revenue, as well.

How can you avoid these outcomes? To limit the impact of a recall, keep your customers informed, ideally with news delivered from your business, rather than media outlets. What if your customer could pick up a product and instantly receive the latest news about it? Today, such methods are being developed through creative use of existing smart phone technology.

The use of smart phones continues to increase every year. Decreased costs of phones and services have increased the user base every year since the smartphone became more widely adopted. With a smartphone, a customer has access to wireless connections and the endless ability to spread news and information. Through the use of smart tags and an easy-to-use cellular application, you can keep your customers up to date on important news.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a cellular phone communication standard that allows quick communication between a smartphone and an enabled device when the two come into close proximity to each other. In this case, the device is a product tag that contains a chip. By attaching this smart tag to your products, every one of them is now an NFC-enabled device.

Now you may be thinking, “This certainly sounds impressive but what does it do for the business?” Imagine you have a product recall, and consider the associated costs. Aside from informing customers that the product that has been recalled, you have to worry about inventory in transit to retailers, and products on the store shelves.

With NFC, you can send live updates to customers. For in-store products, you can alert customers before they buy that the product is being recalled, which saves them time and money. For customers who already own the defective product, merely holding a smartphone to the product will deliver the latest alert. No checking of serial numbers or date ranges. All they do is hold their phone to the product, and they now know what to do.

For products without NFC, most customers just see they have a product with your company’s name on it, heard there is an ongoing recall, and toss it into the trash. They now have a low opinion of your company and likely will not purchase products from you in the future.

With NFC chips, the customer knows whether a recall concerns them, and they get the bonus of information. They know why there is a recall and this can help your company’s reputation. The real reasons for a recall often are not as negative as the public assumes. Explaining the reason for a recall demonstrates that you are looking out for your customers and allows you to show what you are doing to keep their trust.