How should a company response in case of default "The Tylenol Crisis"

Hi Dear Fellow Rodinhooders

This is my first blog and I had been trying to learn from Alok's writing for the last few months.

I would like to share a small episode with you all which happened with our e-commerce business

Following is the email exchange which happened in the last two days.

We received the following complaint form one of our old movie rental customers from Mumbai who bought two perfumes from us.

"Hi Suresh,

Recd the perfumes last week; nicely packed n safely delivered.

The Bogart/ "One Man Show" was fine- fresh and strong; however in my opinion, the Faberge/ Brut is not the real thing.

Have tried it a number of times just to convince myself but no, there is a problem here.

Have you received any other complaints about this or am I the only one?

No real issues here, you know I'm a fan of you guys but I thought I would bring this to your notice.



This was our reply to the above mail

"Dear Raj,

You are right Brut has a problem.

We got one more complaint this week.This was not from our regular supplier and now we are returning the stock and removing from the website.

Sorry about this and greatly appreciate the feedback.We will send you the refund or you can buy something else your choice.

Best Regards


"Hi Suresh,

Thanks for the response, contents much appreciated.

Unfortunately this Brut perfume did have a problem, hence the mail.

The other (Bogart) perfume was fine; I had recommended your service to one of my friends who had come over to check as he claimed that he had a bad experience with another online service- the perfume they had mailed him was near it's expiry date and the fragrance notes had changed.

Well, I'm glad to inform you that the One Man Show perfume is excellent; the friend also now convinced so you can expect his orders shortly.

I'll pick up another perfume next week, pl add this amount to my credit and I'll pay the difference.



And finally following mail today

"Hi Suresh,

I have a credit of 799/- and am now ordering another 2 perfumes; here are the details:

1. Silver Scent/ Bogart: 998/-

2. Bogart Pour Homme/ Bogart: 1389/-

+ Add shipping charges.

So how much exactly do I have to deposit into your a/c?




When you are at fault ,accept it right away and your response should be not only to minimize the damage but most important is to win back the customer.

Here is case study from I learned 25 years ago "how to respond in case of a default".I never forgot about this and still aplly in all my businesses.

The Tylenol Crisis:

Image courtesy

In the fall of 1982, McNeil Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was confronted with a crisis when seven people on Chicago's West Side died mysteriously.

Authorities determined that each of the people that died, had ingested an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule laced with cyanide. The news of this incident traveled quickly and was the cause of a massive, nationwide panic.

These poisonings made it necessary for Johnson & Johnson to launch a public relations program immediately, in order to save the integrity of both their product and their corporation as a whole.

After this crisis, Johnson & Johnson was faced with quite a dilemma. They needed to find the best way to deal with the tamperings, without destroying the reputation of their company and their most profitable product, Tylenol.

Many marketing experts thought that Tylenol was doomed by doubts that the public may have had to whether or not the product was safe. "I don't think they can ever sell another product under that name," advertising genius Jerry Della Femina told the New York Times in the first days following the crisis. "There may be an advertising person who thinks he can solve this and if they find him, I want to hire him, because then I want him to turn our water cooler into a wine cooler

What Did Johnson and Johnson Do?

Della Femina was quite wrong in assuming that Tylenol would never sell again.

Not only is Tylenol still one of the top selling over the counter drugs in this country, but it took very little time for the product to return to the market. Johnson and Johnson's handling of the Tylenol tampering crisis is considered by public relations experts to be one of the best in the history of public relations.

The public relations decisions made as a result of the Tylenol crisis, arrived in two phases. The first phase was the actual handling of the crisis. The comeback of both Johnson & Johnson and Tylenol, was the second phase in the public relations plan. The planning for phase two began almost as soon as phase one was being implemented.

Phase one of Johnson & Johnson's public relations campaign was executed immediately following the discovery that the deaths in Chicago were caused by Extra- Strength Tylenol capsules. As the plan was constructed, Johnson & Johnson's top management put customer safety first, before they worried about their companies profit and other financial concerns.

The company immediately alerted consumers across the nation, via the media, not to consume any type of Tylenol product. They told consumers not to resume using the product until the extent of the tampering could be determined. Johnson & Johnson, along with stopping the production and advertising of Tylenol, recalled all Tylenol capsules from the market.

The recall included approximately 31 million bottles of Tylenol, with a retail value of more than 100 million dollars.

This was unusual for a large corporation facing a crisis. In many other similar cases, companies had put themselves first, and ended up doing more damage to their reputations than if they had immediately taken responsibility for the crisis.

An example of this was the crisis that hit Source Perrier when traces of benzene were found in their bottled water. Instead of holding themselves accountable for the incident, Source Perrier claimed that the contamination resulted from an isolated incident. They then recalled only a limited number of Perrier bottles in North America

Following is the link for the whole story about the Tylenol Crises

Suresh mansharamani


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Comment by Jitendra Gursingh on June 30, 2012 at 12:55pm

Extremely true..just read yesterday on Twitter (sorry forgot the name of the person who tweeted this so cant quote him/her) "Customers today do not need Free Shipping or Fast Shipping. They just need genuine information from the companies, the exact status of their shipment."

Being honest & accepting your mistake always makes you stronger & more genuine.

Comment by Suresh Mansharamani on June 29, 2012 at 7:28pm

Thanks Angelo for your support and confidence in us.Your order is being shipped today through AFL on COD basis.

Comment by Angelo Sean Lobo on June 29, 2012 at 5:46pm

Suresh, I'm sold on your site! Have already placed my first order...

Comment by Suresh Mansharamani on June 29, 2012 at 2:12pm

Dear Angelo

You are so right.Thanks for pointing out the mistake.Will edit it right away.

Comment by Angelo Sean Lobo on June 29, 2012 at 2:04pm

Suresh, the URL for your site is incorrect. It's missing an 'e'. Should be

Comment by Brijesh Kumar on June 27, 2012 at 1:45pm

Thanks for sharing the wonderful piece of experience. Would love to read more from your side.

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