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HelloFood Ghana — a particularly bad experience

My first experience with HelloFood showed me the exactly how slapping a fancy name and logo on a shit service can never be and has never been a winning strategy.

I have faced issues with bad UX before, but my this experience with HelloFood was in a league of its own.

To be fair, this was not my first time using HelloFood. It was not even my second. When my equally lazy friend and former boss, Ameyaw Debrah, used to work with me at Ringier Ghana Limited, HelloFood was our most preferred choice for getting our food delivered to us. Even from places so close to the office such as the Noble House Restaurant in East Legon (remember I said something about lazy?).

We had issues with HelloFood even then. But these issues were mostly with longer delivery times than advertised and the usual exorbitant prices charged for delivery. But these two were mostly issues that we had to accept since could have easily gone to pick up our food from the restaurants if we were not so lazy. But we were lazy; and Ameyaw Debrah had some much money to spare, so we didn’t *kurr*, (in Deborah Vanessa’s voice).

My frustrations with HelloFood started one Sunday evening when I decided to try to use the service to forestall the anger of a lady.

A little background information. I was supposed to meet a friend up at University of Ghana, and being the overbearing gentleman I always am, I proffered to bring her food when she made the sly comment of, “I’m even hungry, but this weather is killing me”. Yes, I was going to meet a lady friend at UG and no, not for the malicious reasons you’re possibly thinking right now. Please chill, I am not like that koraa *side grin*.

We had this conversation at noon and I promised to be at her hostel by 4PM.

Long story short, even at 5PM I couldn’t free myself from unforeseen situations that arose and I had already received 2 messages from this lady asking when I would arrive. So as a techie, who wanted to avoid the scorn of a woman, I decided to get her the food earlier anyway, even if I was going to be very late.

Enter HelloFood.com.gh.

I called up Nana Ama (nope, that is not her real name by the way), and told her boldly that I would be late, but I could get her food delivered to her ASAP. She agreed.

Yours dearly, the ever noble knight-in-shining armour, pulled out a laptop and keyed in http://hellofood.com into Chrome. I went through the process, picked up some fancy named rice meal from the closest restaurant to UG and proceeded to the checkout page, there I met my horror.

BAD ADDRESSING SYSTEM

Order Page - HelloFood Ghana

It took me a good 5 minutes to get around inputting the address of Nana Ama in the delivery page. My techie mind had blindly suspected that, having selected University of Ghana as my primary location, the input system would show some additional fields for things like “Hostel Name”, “Room Number” etc.

I finally decided to enter the “Room Number” into the “Number/Street” field, my location was by default set to Accra. In company, I put in “University of Ghana” and the name of the hostel went into the “Floor/Building” field.

I had conquered the addressing system and it felt good.

LIMITED PAYMENT SYSTEM

But that good feeling and sense of victory was short-lived. Very short-lived. In the next fields, I saw a very innocuous “Choose how to pay” section.

How To Pay - HelloFood Ghana

Obviously I didn’t want Nana Ama to pay for the food, so yes I choose pay now. Then the problem arose.

How To Pay - HelloFood Ghana

Of all the options provided, there was no way I could pay. I was expecting some shiny VISA or MASTERCARD option.

This problem with “Pay Now” was new to me. It was not something I had ever experienced, because in all my previous uses of HelloFood, I was the one going to receive the delivered food, thus I always paid on delivery.

You can see some Mobile Money options listed above, but despite my extensive coverage and praise of mobile payment systems, I had never fully adopted one. I wasn’t active on ANY of the mobile money platforms listed. But I didn’t panic, I reckoned maybe the option to pay via credit cards was an “app-only” option.

Why did I think like that? Because why not. It would a good marketing strategy for the app anyway.

I downloaded the HelloFood app for Android, run myself through the process once more only to be met with the screen below.

How To Pay in Android App - HelloFood Ghana

Another dead-end. An even “deader” one. There was no other payment system in the app apart from “Pay on delivery”.

FUCKING BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE

So I called the helpline.

A lady picked up. I told her my issues. All this while, the order I had entered was input into their system and they called Nana Ama to tell her that the order wouldn’t be processed unless I had paid the money. (I had input Nana Ama’s number into the system, just in case the delivery guy needed some info to get to her room or something like that).

I complained to the lady on the other side of the phone about why they need to add CREDIT CARD payment gateway to their system and her response was a flat, “This is Ghana”. I couldn’t believe my ears until she repeated it “We are in Ghana”. I reminded her that I was in Ghana too, and again she said “These are what we can afford”.

I nearly died.

I am making a fucking genuine complain about setbacks in your SaaS platform and you are practically telling me to fuck off and behave like “We are in Ghana”? I left it at that.

HOW I SOLVED MY ISSUES

I used my ExpressPay app to connect to my VISA card, and sent some money into a friend’s mobile money account and let him pay for the food for me.

NB: ExpressPay is a full Ghanaian company, and they allow people to use their VISA cards. Slydepay is also a Ghanaian company and they also do same, but however this Rocket Internet backed delivery system cannot implement “CREDIT CARD” payment gateways into their systems, because “We are in Ghana” and they “can’t afford it.”


If anyone from HelloFood is reading, here is some free advice for you, ExpressPay,mPower, Slydepay and some local system have some really powerful APIs.

Go ahead, read them, implement them into your system and be great and stop this super demeaning behavior of “We’re in Ghana”

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