Net Promoter: The limbo of a consumer between corporate partnerships


  • Gamestop and DoorDash have a partnership to deliver same-day
  • In my experience, each handed off responsibility for a failed delivery and lost product to the other and no less than 6 conversations by chat and phone.
  • Analyzing the communication/customer service channels is enough to hypothesize a systemic issue
  • In my experience, partnerships in medical IT, to do integrations, were similarly fraught and very difficult to anticipate

The Story

This was urgent. I didn’t know what to get my 6 year old for his 7th birthday. I needed to find something before urgency would give way to desperation. I dug through the internet, leaving a trail of tracking cookies in my wake. I finally found a really cool Link action figure from The Legend of Zelda at Gamestop. That with a new video game would make a thoughtful, but not over the top gift.

Add to cart, click.

Get your order today from DoorDash for $5.99. –My foot is in a moonboot from a fresh achilles tendon reconstruction. This sounds fantastic! Click.

Submit order, click!

I went to coffee with a friend. My kids were t home with their grandfather. I got a text that the delivery was out and then a second that it was delivered.

I got home 45 minutes later. No package. My kids had been running around outside and didn’t see a delivery. DoorDash, which often sends a picture, didn’t bother to.

I tried to call GameStop and they didn’t answer. I tried DoorDash. DoorDash seemed to have all my order information and were really responsive. DoorDash told me they would work with GameStop to get a photo and a refund and it would take an hour. Wow. That’s nice.

That evening, about 8 hours later, I hadn’t received any feedback from DoorDash or GameStop, so I did an online chat with DoorDash. The chat attendant asked me for the history around my order. I asked if the attendant had a record of my call. They brushed off the question and I gave them the history. DoorDash then said I would need to call GameStop.

The “Dasher” wouldn’t respond by text, when I requested a picture. When I called GameStop’s local store the next morning, the manager said he would call around to other stores. When I called back, he said I would need to go through DoorDash.


It doesn’t matter how this story turns out. My kid had a fine a fine birthday. We are blessed that the money is not an existential issue, and only wrankles my sense of fairness and business quality.

Quick Analysis

In the realm of product/service management, I’ll deconstruct the primary issue:

Neither customer service organization was able to take responsibility for the failure. This puts the customer in the middle, trying to manage their way to someone in the organization who can make a decision.

In my experience, working in Health IT, we integrated with at least ten different vendors in material ways that had significant daily benefit. That meant when there was a failure, there was a significant daily degradation.

Shifting blame onto other organizations was something that always put the customer in the middle. There were rarely incentives to work together if you could get the other organization to do the work.

I had 6 conversations through chat and phone (I include the interactions where the phone was never answered). There was clearly no shared, “playbook,” for operations in this case.

Was the relationship rushed? Is there a process of continuous improvement here? Is this something we can focus on? If the value of the business isn’t great enough to pursue/focus on, does it make sense to keep the relationship at all?

Personal Reflection

As second in the market and as my team matured, we generally looked at problems with partners as opportunities to show we could lead.

In my time running a small, boostrapped business working to pivot from consulting to products, we had to stay customer focused: razor with a diamond edge.

In my time as an intrapraneur with buy-out milestones, at the mercy of a publicly traded company, and isolated from customers I lost my way for a time. I don’t take all the blame for this, but do take it as a lesson. Building something to last is always about making customers happy.

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