In recent Kotaku interview with Erik Johnson about the current Steam Support, Valve employee told that progress is being made on Valve’s side of things, it’s just not visible yet:
“We started by realizing we had a lot of software to write to build a new support system,” Johnson explained. “The first feature that came of that was the ability to get refunds of purchases made on Steam. That made the most sense to start with. If a customer buys something they don’t like, they can get their money back in a pretty transparent way. We think that’s a good feature, but we don’t think it was the fix for support. It had a lot more work behind it that was long-term thinking than just refunds.”
And the interview continues:
“The second software problem that we’re getting through now is how to deal with account security and account theft,” he said. “So we’ve been updating the mobile apps and dealing with two-factor authentication. It’s a surprisingly complicated and prevalent issue inside of Steam, and we have some unique challenges in there. A lot of the load of customer support is a function of the number of transactions you make. Our own games like DOTA and Counter-Strike and TF2 have a lot more transactions than a typical game, so that’s created a lot of load on the system. The ability to trade items and sell items directly on the marketplace, that creates more support load. So all of those are kind of self-inflicted things.”
But that still doesn’t get to the point of why Steam support, has more than it should in common with a bunch of shit. Read more below to find out.
“We’ve hired a couple different companies [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][to help with support],” said Johnson. “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.”
Valve started to train it’s own people, but training takes time.
“It’s meant that training people in third-party has taken longer than we expected,” explained Johnson. “It bugs us, but it is what it is. We think we’ll have the support wait time down to an acceptable point by Christmas time. That’s our goal. It’s a function of training up more and more people answer customer issues. We’re not there yet. It’s getting better internally; it’s just that it hasn’t yet translated to great support for users. We’re gonna get there, though.”
If Valve’s timeline (not Valve Time ;D) proves accurate, it’ll certainly be a nice winter holiday (winter sale?) present.
Valve didn’t have enough support employees to process refunds and help requests, tried to hire 3rd party businesses but they were crappy, started to train it’s own people and it will probably be a lot better for the winter Steam sale.