Domino’s & WhatsApp. Don’t you recognise your own users?



Well, there’s nothing that connects these apps except for the fact that they both fail to use some obvious data-driven intelligence and I got to experience both of them at around the same time.

When expect online services to know about us. In an age where we willingly give out personal data to such apps regardless of the vulnerability of our online identities, we at lest expect them to use those details to deliver a satisfactory user experience.

The Dominos Pizza ordering app asks the users to submit information that they already have, whereas WhatsApp demonstrates that they do not know their own users. In case of Dominos, I ended up closing the app and dialling their local number instead, WhatsApp merely brought a smile on my face. No harm done. But guys, come on!

While having a business conversation my prospective client and I exchanged our cell numbers and he immediately sent me his contact card via WhatsApp. The message looked like this:


What amused me was that this person had sent me his own contact card. That, too, on WhatsApp, yet WhatsApp asked me to invite the same person to the network! Amusing.

Agreed that had my client sent me just a plain ‘hi’ and not a contact card, this perhaps wouldn’t have happened, but wouldn’t it be possible for WhatsApp to realise that the user is sending his/her own information and there’s no point asking the recipient to invite the same user? While there may be technical / legal reasons for this to be an issue, to an observer this feels less than ideal.

But there would be no technical justification for the Domino’s experience. We all know that we willingly share our mobile numbers and associate a delivery address with the number. Every conversation that I have ever had with Domino’s began with “Sir, What’s your contact number?”. Yet when I downloaded the mobile app and tried ordering through it, I was asked to repeat myself.

During the registration process I was to give out my mobile number. then a 4 digit PIN was sent to my mobile and I had to confirm it. So far so good. The next step looked like this:


Although I understand that this was an indication that I had not saved any addresses on this app and on this device, I had, already given at least one address to Domino’s, as an organisation!

When I call Domino’s , all I have to give is my mobile number. I never have to repeat my address. (I may have to confirm it, as I may want the delivery to come to a different address). Since I selected my City and then my Locality/Area, I imagine that the database from which Domino’s had to obtain my address would be smaller and hence, the operation easier. Yet I had to provide my address as if I was doing it for the first time!

I did what any self-respecting hungry person would do: I just closed the app, picked up the phone and made a call!

We are moving to a world where user identification would be a norm. Scary as it may seem to online privacy advocates*, there is a large population that does not mind it, but they would surely demand a more personalised experience.


*Cybersafety suggestions to such online services:
1] Even if you find a way to display the users address, don’t show it completely.
2] Don’t take a user’s request to change the address unless the user provides the old address and it matches the one on your record.