Valve explain why Steam’s customer service is bad and how they’re working to improve it


Steam is a great service for no hassle PC play, but many have had issues getting help when it comes to their account being compromised. Some reports suggest that people are sometimes waiting up to two months to even get an initial response, depending on the issue, which would honestly make me want to throw my PC through a wall. 

Did you know Valve have no plans to put advertisements on Steam?

Apparently progress is being made, but it’s not all visible from the outside.“We started by realising we had a lot of software to write to build a new support system,” says Valve’s Erik Johnson in an interview with Kotaku. “The first feature that came of that was the ability to get refunds of purchases made on Steam. 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.”

Next on the agenda was trying to lessen the amount of support tickets generated by compromised accounts. “The second software problem that we’re getting through now is how to deal with account security and account theft,” he says. “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.”

Valve have also tried to hire third-party companies to help with support, but most of these companies were focused on making the numbers look better on paper, rather than combating the cause. So instead Valve are training people, with the goal to get support times down in time for Christmas. “It’s a function of training up more and more people answer customer issues,” explains Johnson. “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.”

Now, who’s ready to make life hell for those new support people in the next Steam sale?

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