Yes, and I admit my pedantry but this was a question of over-reacting, and words matter.
Our newspapers are full of reports of ‘terrible experiences’, but these days they refer to people suffering in Ukraine, the Middle East and elsewhere, not someone losing patience with a delay to the arrival of their new chocolate bar.
It’s the devaluation of language, and always strikes me as a sign of immaturity. We’re all guilty of it from time to time, but it’s always worth calling it out, as Alex did.
I’d call the Huel way of going about this dismissive to customer concerns, at some points even belittling.
Yeah, yeah, the Huel bars were not the best of culinary experiences, don’t still see a reason to cause quite significant turmoil by discontinuing them without an already announced replacement with something reminiscent of a release timeline. This was never going to in any universe work out well. You just don’t discontinue one of your core products people have incorporated into their food habits, and then be dismissive when questioned about the upcoming replacement. I wouldn’t say this was terrible compared to those larger global issues. But, this most definitely was directly caused by Huels own doings and communication style. It caused unnecessary uncertainty and stress to the Huel customers, would think that you’d have at least a bit of respect towards your customers. You probably still want to keep them, alienating them won’t help at that.
Also, this isn’t the first time Huels has done something like this. Here are the most notable recent things as a refresher:
The Huel bars being discontinued. With a replacement soon to come. Couldn’t give a timeline though, or any idea about what the replacement will actually look like.
The Huel Ready-to-drink being constantly out of stock. Couldn’t give timelines though on future availability.
The restructuring of Huel discounts in some regions. And, then being being dismissive and even belittling towards the customers for which this meant a price increase.
The Huel marketing emails. Of little value currently. Little bit unrelated, but these would be a good way to communicate with customers who don’t wish to constantly monitor social media or forums for products being discontinued, others announced, and other news.
I’d say Huel has certainly made a habit of doing stuff like this. You guys over at Huel make excellent products still. It’s also no secret that you are more than capable of being excellent at communicating too. I personally fail to see the reasoning behind the style of communicating you’ve chosen. You aren’t just winging (improvising) it internally, you have timelines internally, visions of the future products, (ability to do the marketing emails right). Don’t need to make them all public, but at least sometimes it’d be nice to have a little transparency or/(and) certainty, where possible. Why not at least try to be fair and respectful to your customers? They literally are your customers.
Dismissed and belittled? This language strikes me as infantile, the stuff of schooldays.
Huel may be having a few issues with supply but I don’t feel personally offended or slighted by it. I don’t feel that they’re making me feel like I’m less of a person, neither excluded from them, or made to feel somehow smaller. It’s remarkable if anyone feels that way.
What a tight connection to the company some of Huel’s customers have. It’s phenomenal, like a dependence almost. After all, it’s just an online shop where we buy food.
Did you even try to interpret the text in good faith? I’m not offended. Just disappointed. And I used language that reflected it. Huel should be better. Someone should be better. The food industry is full of shitty companies, no need to beg for another one. Huel has at least some potential to be an excellent company in the long-term.
I would like to remind everyone of this cool piece by Huel: Rules - Huel.
It has cool quotes like this:
“If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.”
“Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.”
Could be useful to take some inspiration from it. These conversations seem to just too often end up as an useless discussion where halfway everyone has already forgotten what was being discussed. Because of nonsense like this. Ending up in achieving a discussion with a lot of length, but little value at the end.
The lack of information and engagement has left a gap which is being filled by non constructive conversation. That’s surely not good for anyone.
Certainly, I’ve moved from (a naive?) position of
Holding goodwill beyond just being a customer with a commercial interaction to having a slightly cynical perspective that Huel is now just a bigger company increasing distant from its roots.
We are a few dozen people. We don’t actually matter. That’s clear enough.
Once the products are in retail etc the voices in here can echo all they like and the bottom line is unaffected.
I was thinking about this today too, personally my perceptions of Huel have changed massively recently and I am I am pretty disappointed to be honest:
Huel cancelled my protein bar subscription without any prior warning
I then have to reach out to support to find out what’s going on
Then informed not to worry as new bars launched 1 November - which I now know is BS.
Whoever has managed this at Huel needs to find a new vocation. This could of been handled so differently and could actually have been an opportunity for some good old customer engagement. I would have happily waited for a new and improved bar, unless of course there is no new bar and Huel for some reason are unable to be honest with their customers.
Who knows, I have already found a replacement, Grenade Protein Bars, not too bad either.
As a previous purchaser of our nutrition bars, we wanted you to be the first to know about our NEW bars. They (insert macros etc).
We think they are a great improvement and our taste and satisfaction testing backs this up
Here is a £5 voucher for you so you can try for yourself.
I think they have gone on the site pretty recently - they weren’t there when I looked this morning - seem to recall they dont mail out till all the store sites are updated - that might be a thing. Ordered some too and keen to try the taste - feedback of US customers seems to be good.
Edit: Mail shot literally came in shortly after ordering