GoodbyeBar – How To Lose A Customer In 60 Seconds: A Case Study of HelloBar
By Robert Fine
For those of you that know me, I’m not one to rant on a regular basis. If I do it once every three or four months, that’s probably a great deal for me. I’m going to try to keep this short, and I debated whether to rant about this at all. But I’m so frustrated at the moment that if I didn’t do something to release that frustration, I’d probably start tearing my hair out.
Those of you that manage websites, particularly on WordPress have either probably used the HelloBar or come across it on other sites. After seeing it for so long on other sites, I finally decided to install it about six months ago on this site and a couple of others. It was free, easy, quick, and has worked consistently. It probably contributed to a 50% increase in signups for our newsletter. It maintained their “H” logo in the right hand corner, linking back to their homepage, and for a free product, I’m more than happy with this.
But that all ended this morning. As I was looking to do some maintenance on the sites, I noticed all of a sudden that a huge, full screen “H” flashed on the screen for a second, before going to our homepage. I also noticed that some more text was added to the right hand corner with the logo, prompting people to install HelloBar for themselves.
So, what’s going on here? After refreshing on a couple of our sites, and pages, it was happening consistently, and I didn’t see an easy way to fix it. So, of course I logged into the HelloBar admin, and tried to find an option to change this. None existed.
Now what? I had a couple of choices at this point:
- 1) I could pay for the premium version, hoping this would alleviate the problem, but unsure, since I couldn’t find anything, anywhere related to these changes.
Now granted, I’d say overall, its been a good product, and a good addition to our site. So, I really didn’t want to uninstall it. I went to their support page. It had some frequently asked questions posted, but nothing related to the issues I was experiencing. Could I even submit a ticket or reach out by email inquiring about what was going on? No. I couldn’t find anything, anywhere.
So, you’re a software development company publishing useful tools for websites. Great. You’re allowed to make money at that. You don’t have a support telephone number listed. Fine, I get that. You don’t want to be inundated with support calls. But without the ability to even send an email for help, what do I if I have a problem?
But, at the end of the day, it’s not even the lack of support issue I’m the most upset about. It’s this big freaking flash screen of a giant “H” showing before you get to my website. It’s distracting, and impedes any kind of good user experience. It also feels a bit like a gun to my head. Now I’m guessing here, because I can’t find anything about the changes, so I have to guess what the developers have in mind.
I’m guessing that they want people to start paying for the premium version of the product, instead of the free one. Not a problem. Send me an email. Tell me about the changes, or that you an no longer able to offer the free version. But, no. Instead, a giant flashing on screen “H” fills the screen, and I have to infer that if I want to get rid of that, I have to pay for the premium version. But again, I’m guessing here.
Because I felt it was quickly souring the user experience, I came to a quick decision to just pull the plug and uninstall it. And now I’ll start looking for an alternative. Did it have to be this way? No. But the way it’s been communicated, and with no way to reach out, what choices am I left with? So now HelloBar has lost a customer quicker than you can say HelloBar.