During a recent interview, Valve says that Steam’s support system still needs a lot of work, but stresses that some progress is being made on its end.
One of Valve‘s business authorities, Erik Johnson, admitted that Steam – the software company’s online marketplace – has customer service issues, including unanswered support tickets and the occasional months-long waits when hearing from Steam’s support representatives. Regarding the matters, Johnson says that Valve has plans in place to ameliorate the situation.
The Valve employee explained that there are several issues that contribute to the aforementioned problems, including the sheer manpower involved in needing to come up with fresh software to “build a new support system”, which called for the option to provide a refund system, which took a lot of effort to craft. Additionally, the giant overload made by the large number of transactions for Valve-created titles such as Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Team Fortress 2 are also a factor contributing to the messy service. Not to mention, Johnson said that the ability to trade and sell items in the Steam Marketplace is yet another hurdle that needs to be conquered.
Valve’s attempted to get help from third-parties to rectify the shoddy circumstances for Steam support, but the search for relief hasn’t been all that useful. Speaking on the issue, Johnson said:
“The thing that’s interesting is, you go out to third-party support providers, and—at least in our experience—most of them wanted to sell you ways to reduce the number of people currently waiting in support, but they weren’t very good at selling you ways to solve customer support issues. I think we’ve all had that experience of, ‘I get it. You’re trying to get me off the line.’ We’re not super interested in providing crappy support in volume.”
Bearing the above statement in mind, Valve has confirmed taking the hands-on approach of training people for support, which often makes for better results, but typically takes up a lot of time. In order to ensure more satisfied customers and create better holiday sales, the company wants to have wait times shortened to an “acceptable point” by Christmas. “It’s getting better internally; it just hasn’t yet translated to great support for users. We’re going to get there, though,” Johnson promised.
Near the beginning of the year, Johnson shared that Valve didn’t “feel like our customer service support is where it needs to be right now,” which was in March. Some of his recent statements, however, make it seem like the circumstances have become even poorer, saying, “I think it’s technically gotten a little worse on the user side of things . . . at least, overall in terms of current ticket times. That peaked a few weeks ago, and it’s starting to get better now.”
Of course, Steam is one of the biggest and most popular video game platforms in the world, so some congestion should be expected when it comes to customer support. However, keeping folks waiting upwards of months just to get a simple response is patently absurd. Although third-party support providers might not be ideal for the company or its users in terms of receiving the highest quality assistance, the software firm might have to rely on an outside source just to get through the backlog. After all, the organization doesn’t need any more bad press, especially after the paid mods fiasco.
Have you recently had a negative experience with Valve’s support system for Steam? If so, how has it affected your use of the company’s products? What do you think the firm can do better to fix the situation and appease its fans?
Beyond the marketplace software itself, Valve is planning on launching a pre-built gaming computer known as the Steam Machine on November 10, 2015.