How Linksys Can Rescue Themselves From The WRT32X Crisis

For the last couple of weeks, Linksys has been going through a bit of a crisis with their flagship router which is the WRT32X. It appears that a firmware update pushed to these routers have caused huge issues for users. And the lack of a resolution has cause rage for those users. I’ve written about my experience trying to get support the one that was on my network. I’ll detail why it is no longer on my network in a second. I’ve also written about how I kind of got myself back to a workable state as well. Now I wasn’t impressed with the response by Linksys, But based on this thread on the Linksys Community Forums, many others are not impressed as well with increasing calls from frustrated users for Linksys to do something about this situation. At least from the users who haven’t replaced their WRT32X for a router from another company.

Then there’s the bad press generated by Twitter. Take these examples:

Now all of that is pretty bad for Linksys. But it gets worse for them. ASUS and Netgear read my posts and sent me the ROG Rapture AC5300 and the Nighthawk X8 respectively. The review of the latter is due to be posted tomorrow (UPDATE: The review is now live). And there’s a third company who I won’t mention at this point who wants to send me a router to review as well. That’s why the WRT32X is no longer on my network. I can read two things into this. One is that these companies want to get some press for their products at a time where they think that Linksys is vulnerable. Second, if these companies are doing this with me, they’re doing this to others who review products as well. Thus multiplying the problems that Linksys has as it will give frustrated WRT32X users options if they want to dump Linksys for another brand.

Now, all of this sounds pretty dire for Linksys. But believe it or not, I think that Linksys has a chance to rescue this. If I were in their position, this is what I would do:

  1. Linksys needs to change the perception that they are being silent on this issue by coming out will a statement acknowledging that the issue exists. Right now they aren’t saying anything, and it is making them look like they don’t care about their customers. If they want to have any chance of rescuing this, they need to change to perception right now.
  2. Linksys needs to be transparent and speak to what this issue is. If they don’t know what the core issue is, they need to say that, and then commit to being transparent about any and all information that they find out. Right now, they are saying nothing. And that isn’t helping their cause.
  3. Linksys needs to resolve this quickly. Given the discontent of their user base at the moment, a fix cannot take weeks or months. It needs to take hours or days if they want to have any chance of placating their user base. Because that user base feels that there is no fix that will come, and they are starting to look at or buy other routers from other companies. Plus you can expect those who exercise the option to go to another router to say bad things about Linksys for a long time. Thus they need to get a fix that works on the street as quickly as possible. Oh yeah, if they have to swap every WRT32X out there via overnight courier to get this fix on the streets quickly, then that’s what they need to do. At this point, not doing so means that this can only get worse for Linksys.
  4. Linksys needs to say sorry for this. By saying sorry, they will help to mitigate the fact that Linksys is seen as not caring about their customers.

Now this requires Linksys to find the courage to step up and do what is right because having to do something like I outlined above isn’t easy at the best of times. But they have to do it because the WRT32X isn’t a cheap router. And it’s aimed at a very influential segment of the market who will tell others what is the best router brand to buy. At this point, that’s not Linksys. Thus if Linksys wants any chance of staying as a player in the router market, they need to find the courage to turn this ship around. Because as it stands right now, Linksys isn’t in a good place and it can only get worse for them if they do nothing.

Over to you Linksys.

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4 Responses to “How Linksys Can Rescue Themselves From The WRT32X Crisis”

  1. GoodPurchase Says:

    I work for a company that specializes in consumer electronics. We must have a partnership with Linksys because they offered up 20,000 of their premium networking products at, lets just call it, a “very attractive” price. Even if only a quarter of employees bought the wrt32x, that’s still 5,000 SALESPEOPLE (myself and several coworkers included) who got burned and will no longer recommend the wrt32x to customers – and will probably avoid recommending Linksys products completely. This is a big year for smarthome/connected devices, and Linksys is shooting themselves in the foot. I can’t in good conscience suggest that anyone spend $300 on a router that MIGHT work someday soon.

  2. […] users who just wanted this issue fixed. And they felt that Linksys wasn’t hearing them. So I offered some free advice to Linksys as one of the things that I do is help companies to build high performing technical support and […]

  3. […] did. What made the situation worse is that affected users felt that Linksys wasn’t hearing them. So I offered some free advice to Linksys as one of the things that I do is help companies to build high performing technical support and […]

  4. […] now that this story which I have been covering from a few angles since it started last month seems to be over, I want to take a moment to do a post mortem of […]

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