The Good News Is 15 Percent of Galaxy Note 7 Customers Aren't Idiots

Why are 85 percent of recalled phones still in pockets, purses and airplanes despite danger of fire and explosion? For the same reasons people let their businesses slowly fall apart.

By now we all know that Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones blow up. Literally. They explode because of a battery problem. The explosion can hurt people. It’s so serious that now, besides berating me to apply for their credit card (40,000 free miles just for signing up!) and fastening my seatbelt American Airlines is also warning me (and my fellow passengers) to turn off my Galaxy Note 7 phone in case it causes a mid-air catastrophe.

This is serious, people. And yet, people aren’t sending their phones back. The company has issued a formal recall. The news has been everywhere. But only 15 percent of the people who bought these time bombs have returned their phones. Does this surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. Why? I’m used to it. I’m a small business owner and my clients are primarily small business owners.  I’ve learned that behavior like this is standard operating procedure for many I know who run small and medium sized companies. Particularly the ones who don’t do it very well.

Related: Samsung to Cap Note 7 Battery Charge Via Software Update

Just last week a plumber came to my house to fix a problem in our upstairs bathroom. The plumber works for a nice, family owned business nearby with about 50 employees. He did a great job.  And when he was done with his great job he pulled out a clipboard and asked me to sign his work-order. He then ripped out a copy of the work-order (my receipt) and said I could call his office to give a credit card number or they could send me a bill. He then called the office himself to find out where he should go next.

It was a great customer service experience -- for a company operating in 1975. But it’s 2016 and do the owners of this company not see what’s going on? Do they not see their competitors outfitting their workforce with tablets equipped with cloud based field service applications that enable them to order parts, check schedules, invoice and even take payment while still in their customers’ homes? Do they not get it that their customers want this kind of convenience? Do they not understand that the data they’re collecting will help them better serve (and market) to their customers in the future? Do they not comprehend that they are killing their business by ignoring what’s happening?

Related: U.S. Safety Agency Urges Galaxy Note 7 Owners to Stop Using Smartphone

They see it, but they do nothing about it. I’m betting that many of these same business owners are part of the 85 percent of the Galaxy Note 7 customers who still haven’t returned their soon-to-be exploding phones.

These are my clients (and yes, they know who they are) who won’t change until a figurative gun is pointed at their heads. They have websites that haven’t been updated since the ‘90’s. They have inventory on their shelves under six inches of dust. Their reception areas have Life Magazines featuring Sinatra on the cover that sit on coffee tables in front of their encrusted sofas. These people are told every day to update their business, make changes, move forward. They don’t.

What will it take for the Galaxy Note 7 customer to finally return his phone? An explosion on a plane? A missing finger? And what will it take for so many small business owners to do the things that they know, if ignored, will kill their business in the long term? Things like investing in technologies, cleaning up their offices, getting rid of old inventory, updating their websites.

Related: 11 Ways to Beat Procrastination

Some people get it. Those are the 15 percent who return their Galaxy Note 7 phones. Those are the 15 percent of small business owners that know that to avoid future disaster, current action must be taken. They don’t cross their fingers and hope that it won’t happen to them. These are the people who succeed in business, the ones that take notice of warnings and then do something about it. The other 85 percent, well…we’ll see what happens.