Valve on Customer Service: "We Need to Do Better"

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Valve on Customer Service: "We Need to Do Better"

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Valve received an "F" rank from the Better Business Bureau due to it's appalling customer service.

Anyone who has ever had to contact Valve for any kind of customer service should know that the process is... not great. This fact is reflected in the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) recent "F" ranking of the company, citing "poor customer service" as the biggest culprit. The good news is that Valve is rather ashamed of this, and assures us that it wants to change for the better.

"We don't feel like our customer service support is where it needs to be right now," Valve's Erik Johnson told Kotaku. "We think customers are right. When they say our support's bad, our initial reaction isn't to say, 'No, it's actually good. Look at all of this.' It's to say that, no, they're probably right, because they usually are when it comes to this kind of thing. We hear those complaints, and that's gonna be a big focus for us throughout the year. We have a lot of work to do there. We have to do better."

The BBB claims that customers have filed over 700 complaints with the company, which has failed to respond to at least 500 of. The majority of complaints stem from "problems with a product/service." To elaborate:

"Consumers allege the games they purchase from Valve Corporation or Steam malfunction, do not work or have an invalid CD key. Consumers also claim the company blocks users from accessing their library of games. Consumers further allege they attempt to contact the company for assistance, but Valve Corporation fails to correct the gaming issues, does not correct credit card charges or issue a refund, or does not respond at all."

The "does not respond at all" phrase rings particularly true for most people I know, (including myself), who have had their complaints fall on deaf ears whenever there's a problem with Steam.

While Johnson did acknowledge the problem, he lamented that the BBB is not a particularly useful metric. "The BBB is a far less useful proxy for customer issues than Reddit," he claimed. "We don't use them for much. They don't provide us as useful of data as customers emailing us, posting on Reddit, posting on Twitter, and so on."

Source: Kotaku

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They could also use a filter for their Greenlight program. <.<

Anyway, my only Valve customer experience threw me into a menu of FAQ's until I got to submit my question. It took forever for them to get back to me. I actually don't think my issue ever got resolved now that I think of it...

Yet people fellate Steam and refuse to even consider installing Origin because it's made by EA and therefore possessed by Satan or something. Despite the numerous statements by users about how their customer service is actually pretty solid.

Honestly, I've always had a pretty good experience with Steam's customer service. So long as I explained my issue well and was a little bit patient, they made sure to take care of me. Opposed to the poster above, I don't mind Origin per-se, but they don't provide games I am interested in.

grigjd3:
Honestly, I've always had a pretty good experience with Steam's customer service. So long as I explained my issue well and was a little bit patient, they made sure to take care of me. Opposed to the poster above, I don't mind Origin per-se, but they don't provide games I am interested in.

You misunderstand. I wasn't criticizing Origin, I was stating how people's hatred of it and praise of Steam is bizarre given the poor track record of Steam's service.

Wow, after what, 8 years of people saying your customer service sucks you finally step up and say, "Yeah, they're probably right"? God damn it Valve, I enjoy Steam, but you guys are honestly really poor at doing A LOT of other shit, and the fact that you're only just now owning up to the biggest fail that you're company has due to another company giving you a failing grade tells me that all you do is roll your eyes at the people using your product.

My biggest problem with steam is their so called one "refund" for life. No more refunds after your first. I wanted a refund for X Rebirth and the gave me a FAQ page for the game and said sorry no refunds. I did refund a game like 2 years ago and got my money back. But I heard steam won't give anyone more than just one. I still want a refund for XRebirth

TT Kairen:
Yet people fellate Steam and refuse to even consider installing Origin because it's made by EA and therefore possessed by Satan or something. Despite the numerous statements by users about how their customer service is actually pretty solid.

while this is true, and EA does have a solid customer service program, I can't knock them on that, it's honestly been pretty damn good for years.

origin doesn't hold a candle to steam (steam keys to be more general) in terms of cheap deals and the amount of games offered. There are VERY few games on origin that I'm even remotely interested in, and even then, I probably have a steam key for it at a fraction the price..and this also is factored in by the fact that MAYBE 1 out of 200 games is there ever some game breaking or CTD bug. Otherwise it's usually nothing but smooth running on my rig, so thankfully I don't have to deal with valve's support (although I did once and I've had friends complain about it as well, so that's no excuse, just not necessarily something I'm required to deal with to play my games.)

OT: while it's taken them fucking forever to release any public acknowledgement on this, it's about damn time they got burned enough on it to hopefully DO something about it...but I'm not holding my breath on it.

agreed that steam does takes its time to help or even respond to customers needs. i once got a reply from them after a month when i had issues getting to run RE6. in that time i resolved the problem my self. generally i did get a responds throughout the years i had to get in touch with them and did get helped more or less to my issue(s) but not all of them were very good or even helpful. the last issue was with LA noir. after getting a new GPU at that time, i could not play the game (not sure anymore what it was) and their suggestion was to clean out my entire library and install steam new or something ridicules like that.

i had quicker and better help from EA. so EA actually gets a thumbs up from me. hell, i even got a refund for AC unity and no questions were asked and i waited for 5 or 10 min until i could speak to a person on their life chat. even when the site said that unity cant be refunded.

Is this an actual "We need to do better" that will precede actual improvement, or a major publisher B.S. "We need to do better" that will precede status quo?

It is a bad sign when EA has better customer service than you. This is definitely one area they badly need to work on. A refund policy would be nice also.

Steven Bogos:
snip

For the record: The BBB is a fucking terrible metric by which to measure the quality of a company's customer service. The system is basically akin to Metacritic. Easy to exploit. Verifies almost nothing.

Still, Valve definitely needs to dramatically improve in customer support, regardless of the BBB's rating.

TT Kairen:
Yet people fellate Steam and refuse to even consider installing Origin because it's made by EA and therefore possessed by Satan or something. Despite the numerous statements by users about how their customer service is actually pretty solid.

Yet, I've never once had issue with Steam support and routinely get completely boned by Origin support.

And from my experience, I've heard just as many complaints about EA's support as I have Valve's.

In regards to Origin, I can't say I like the layout of their launcher. I am also unsure what their DRM is like and I do not want them sending data on my computer without permission (as they tend to do). Admittedly the last two points may be me being misinformed and the first point is personal preference. The main reason I don't use Origin is simply because I do not trust EA. They've been heading in the right direction of regaining that lost trust lately, but it still needs more time.

In regards to Steam, companies only do something when someone with power calls them out on it. While the BBB is indeed a bad metric they do have some pull. Steam support has always been bad, and their policies often worse.

Ultimately I trust Steam more since I actually do research on games I purchase, but I do not trust any platform that makes you unable to play games you have paid for if something happens to your account. This mentality that end users are renting games instead of purchasing them is toxic and needs to die. Steam and Origin are both guilty of this.

bug_of_war:
Wow, after what, 8 years of people saying your customer service sucks you finally step up and say, "Yeah, they're probably right"? God damn it Valve, I enjoy Steam, but you guys are honestly really poor at doing A LOT of other shit, and the fact that you're only just now owning up to the biggest fail that you're company has due to another company giving you a failing grade tells me that all you do is roll your eyes at the people using your product.

I know, right?

Valve customer service is fuckin abysmal. Its especially fuckin terrible after having spent the last 10 years dealing with Blizzard's absolutely amazing customer service. Its doubly terrible when compared to Amazon customer service.

Valve customer service might as well barely exist for how useless it is most of the time. You rarely, if ever, get a response. When you do its shit that you've probably already tried in the week or longer it takes for them to get back to you. If its about a refund for a game, no matter the reason, you better hope that they've eaten a PR shitstorm due to that game or you're SOL.

I've gotten better customer service at friggin Walmart from an extremely busy and annoyed sales clerk who very obviously wanted nothing to do with me than I have from Valves dedicated customer service representatives.

I don't really have that bad of a history with steam customer support. The only two times I've had to deal with it where when there was a problem that I honestly should have been able to solve on my own looking back (I was new to using it back them) and one where the problem was third party so I was referred to them instead (and they solved the problem).

Origin is something I've never had an issue with (though in all fairness I only have it because of the Origin Bundle and for whenever they have a giveaway), but a friend of mine had his account hacked and EA straight up closed the account. He's been dealing with that for 2 weeks now and it's still an ongoing issue with him.

TT Kairen:
Yet people fellate Steam and refuse to even consider installing Origin because it's made by EA and therefore possessed by Satan or something. Despite the numerous statements by users about how their customer service is actually pretty solid.

Well I'll happily stand behind Steam seeing as my account has never been compromised, whereas my Origin account has been compromised 3 times in the space of a week (and has probably been so again since I last logged on).

Never had much in the way of problems with steam that I can remember that couldn't be solved with 5 minutes of google an a bit of commitment. And that is only after talking about odd game quirks and incompatibilities as well.

Still, Steam has issues from all I hear and good for them to decide to fix that. Maybe making the process of customer support more user friendly would be a start.

As for origin, I disliked it because it always has hiccups with my system, the company behind it has shown a far greater concern over how much they can wring out of me then steam does, they have been compromised far more often, and I have heard as many ales of horror about Origin as I have about steam in relation to poor customer service. Between the two, I'll go with the one that at least comes off as less greedy. Illusions, I know, both companies want money at the end of the day, but still.

I'm just picturing now Valve opening up their corporate e-mail system and discovering a massive back-log they didn't know about.
"Huh, apparently people really want that sequel to Half-Life we promised. We honestly didn't think anyone cared about that!"

Well the only time I've ever had to deal with Valve's customer service was quite pleasant, but I'm gonna buck the trend and not assume that their service is stellar just because I was an exception.

I will say this: It was highly amusing to score a refund on a game (accidentally purchased it twice; this was before they changed it so you couldn't do that), while still receiving an email telling me that they absolutely do not give refunds.

Before anyone starts thinking pressure from the BBB will help convince Valve to fix their customer support, know the the BBB is basically extorting businesses for a good raiting. Read the Off Topic thread here (and the links within) for more info on how the Better Business Bureau only "betters" businesses that pay for better grades. Even after (or if) Valve resolves the complaints against them, the BBB grade might not go up until Gabe opens the pocket book.

I've never had issues with Steam, but I'm not defending Valve. The one time refund needs to go, especially with GOG, who doesn't use DRM, letting you get refunds occasionally (They will suspect abuse if you do it often.) for unresolvable tech issues, and even EA having a more lax refund policy. I also believe in the reported wait times for a response. With Steam, Valve's customer base has grown proportionally larger than they have as a company. If they haven't already done so, they either need to hire more people for customer support or a third party company to assist.

grigjd3:
Honestly, I've always had a pretty good experience with Steam's customer service. So long as I explained my issue well and was a little bit patient, they made sure to take care of me. Opposed to the poster above, I don't mind Origin per-se, but they don't provide games I am interested in.

lucky you. I have to date filed 20+ separate steam support requests (granted some of those were having to resubmit a ticket because to much time had passed with no answer) my experience is that if you state that there is any problem with the steam client they will tell you to re-install the whole thing (even when I can give them the error codes, and stack trace the system is throwing), or when one day like half my games just disappeared form my library (granted my library was at around 400 games), and it took them almost a month to get it back (even when the account details not only showed that I purchased them, but most of them I bought from Steam direct) like 200 hundred purchased items just gone it took them 10 days to even respond (not even an auto response), and they told me to re-install steam (I had done that twice by then), but when I threatened legal action (before the no litigation clause) I got a response the within an hour, but it still took them 20 days to actually fix the issue.

Valve has had that F forever. Why are they only noticing now?

btw, guys, EA has an A. Figure that out.

Standing in stark contrast to EA Origin, where the base service is only just barely starting to rise from the pits of despair and mediocrity, but the customer support is top-notch.

Valve needs to to better on their customer service?

"Laxative delivery for a Mr S. Holmes."

So they say,

"The BBB is a far less useful proxy for customer issues than Reddit," he claimed. "We don't use them for much. They don't provide us as useful of data as customers emailing us, posting on Reddit, posting on Twitter, and so on."

But they only acknowledge their customer service is shit and vow to improve it when called out by the BBB after YEARS of customer emails, tweets, and reddit posts...
image

TT Kairen:
Yet people fellate Steam and refuse to even consider installing Origin because it's made by EA and therefore possessed by Satan or something. Despite the numerous statements by users about how their customer service is actually pretty solid.

Origin has really become a pretty good service. They offer better service and faster downloads speeds. The reason I don't buy games there is because of the terrible pricing in the Euro zone.

Steam still has major advantages over it: Better pricing in certain zones, more sales (and better ones), the biggest community of players and the most important advantage: Many people already had huge libraries of games on Steam when Origin came out.

By tying access to one's games via a $40-80 third party, you are effectively locking out customer's access in purchasing your games!

I was without internet for 4 years and could not purchase a thing from steam as I was required to have my own internet/prog installed, making coffee shop/public library purchases impossible! (Hell, I was even locked out of downloading patches for my pre-ordered copy of Skyrim!)

Yet my gog account hadn't any such restrictions whatsoever.. Simply purchase your game, and download it to laptop/mem stick...To actually block your customer's access to your product is absolutely absurd, pirates or not!

A simple solution is to simply have an ACTUAL customer service in which customers can phone in their concerns, like 99% of businesses outside the gaming industry has!...Uffckin' morons...And as far as it being too expensive bollocks to that, the gaming industry's a stinkin billion dollar one, so what about the thousands of small to medium sized businesses that do just fine with the operation of their customer service model?!

Don't get me wrong, I love the everlovin' hell out of the creative genius of Valve, and by extension, steam, however, if they were to actually adopt Gog's model of online access (Being able to access your game via external download methods not tied to a resident program that is..) and using a automatic phone-in for your game purchases (Like many Euro-Game devs/Publishers) then you'll be able to see those negative reviews plummet, and your revenue skyrocket...

BTW, Gog has a 30 day money-back guarantee on their games, go figure...

Does anybody else notice that they're only vowing to improve their customer service as they're also simultaneously preparing to launch the Steamboxes and SteamOS? I mean, yeah, fix the problem (though I've not had one personally), but it seems a little suspect that they're only motivated to do anything about it now that they're about to enter a new arena where they'll actually have to compete.

Tyranicus:
My biggest problem with steam is their so called one "refund" for life. No more refunds after your first. I wanted a refund for X Rebirth and the gave me a FAQ page for the game and said sorry no refunds. I did refund a game like 2 years ago and got my money back. But I heard steam won't give anyone more than just one. I still want a refund for XRebirth

But why should they give you a refund for that?

SecondPrize:

Tyranicus:
My biggest problem with steam is their so called one "refund" for life. No more refunds after your first. I wanted a refund for X Rebirth and the gave me a FAQ page for the game and said sorry no refunds. I did refund a game like 2 years ago and got my money back. But I heard steam won't give anyone more than just one. I still want a refund for XRebirth

But why should they give you a refund for that?

IIRC XRebirth had a terrible launch. There was quite a bit about it back when it happened. That said if Steam ever tells people they can't have refunds and they live in the EU, they can just point out that by not doing so they are breaking the law since the EU has laws mandating that sort of thing I've been told. You'd have to ask people more knowledgable about it than me for details though.

TT Kairen:
Yet people fellate Steam and refuse to even consider installing Origin because it's made by EA and therefore possessed by Satan or something. Despite the numerous statements by users about how their customer service is actually pretty solid.

The thing is that while customer service is obviously important for the people who need, that's usually only a very small minority of customers. Most people who use Steam don't have any problems with it and therefore never even care whether customer service exists. Origin, on the other hand, may well be better than it used to be, but "better than a broken piece of shit" isn't exactly a hard standard to reach. I've had serious issues every time I've tried to use Origin, with offline mode not working at all, getting stuck in endless loops of it refusing to launch a game because it claims there's a patch and then refusing to patch because it's up to date, and game files constantly getting corrupted and the "repair" option effectively just reinstalling the game from scratch. I don't care how good their respective customer service departments might be, Valve's actual product is still far better than EA's. Although of course GoG is much better than both.

Oh man... Nooooooo.... Steam doesn't have bad customer service... I'm not even sure it has customer service.... Does it? I've contacted them tons of time... But no service that's for sure...

Nah but for real. There customer service was nightmarish everytime I contacted them.. They asked me to scan my passport once and send it to them to prove my credit card was from the country I said it was. I was astonished. I was completely and utterly taken back by this question. When I asked them what they needed this for, their response was almost literally "hey you contacted us."

Unless steam makes some sweeping promises and follows through I won't ever be making a purchase there anytime soon.

A few things people have pointed out.

Seems Valve is on the same PR wheel as many others. Steam box is coming out soon. Steam OS banners are on the rise. This, "We have humility, go buy our stuff." has been the PR standard for numerous companies for years. Valve just now seems to be adopting it, from what I've noticed. If they've done it earlier, I either haven't noticed, or my hands have been a bit busy.

This is a problem. To me, anyway.

This could mean that Valve is going to start fucking around. I know I'm a bit of a fanboy. I mean, I even called it when Steam became the big thing. But the main reason I liked them so much aside from the games was that, by me, they've done no wrong. Every question I've submitted to support (6 or so?) has been responded to within the week. Things may have changed since the transition TF2 made to F2P, so my experiences may be invalid, if they have, then I'll make another prediction. Valve is gonna get fucking worse over the years. Hardcore.

Someone also mentioned Origin. I've never used it because I believe about 95% of the games on there are EA exclusive to origin, or also found on steam. EA's business practices over the past 5 years have lead me to boycott their games and service. I consider myself to be the only fucking person doing it. I was going to stop, but the recent shut-down of Maxis, and looking into it, (Beyond Jim's video.) I don't like the reasoning into it. They haven't changed. Boycott still stands.

Really? Hardline was the only thing that caught my interest in these past 5 years. I'm not missing anything by circle-jerking Steam. Hell, The last game I've fallen in love with isn't even on Steam.

I should look into GoG. See if Factorio's on there.

CardinalPiggles:

Well I'll happily stand behind Steam seeing as my account has never been compromised, whereas my Origin account has been compromised 3 times in the space of a week (and has probably been so again since I last logged on).

Yeah but see, Origin still comes off as more customer friendly on the very fact that they actually have a returns policy. It takes a big shit storm to make Valve offer people refunds, but if you just happen to say, "Wait, I don't like this game personally" Valve basically gives you the finger whilst EA gives you a time frame of when you can decide if you actually wanna keep the game.

It sucks that your account got hacked, but at least Origin will probably offer you compensation.

CardinalPiggles:

Well I'll happily stand behind Steam seeing as my account has never been compromised, whereas my Origin account has been compromised 3 times in the space of a week (and has probably been so again since I last logged on).

You do realize that Origin has its own version of Steam guard right? If you don't have that enabled it's your own fault, if you do have it enabled and your account is still getting hacked you have bigger problems, namely a compromised Email.

OT: Just now figuring this out Valve? Really? More like "Hmmm we should really spout some bull to appease the fanbase before all our new shit hits market".

For how bad EA's reputation is, my experience with them has been:
"find easy customer support link -> spend 5-15 minutes in live chat or on phone -> problem fixed"

whereas Steam is more like:
"dig through layers of bull meant to dissuade you from contacting customer support at all -> send mail describing problems and steps I have already tried without success -> wait a 3-7 days -> receive CTRL+C\CRTL+V response asking if I tried verifying cache and restarting even though I explicitly said I already tried that twice -> realize that talking to a robot that sequentially spits out chunks of a .txt file is pointless and close ticket -> problem never gets fixed"

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