Valve on customer service support: "we have to do better"

TF2 Medic

Valve is currently the not-so-proud holder of an 'F' rating from the Better Business Bureau—a US non-governmental, non-regulatory and non-profit organisation. According to the BBB, 717 complaints have been logged against Steam through the organisation's resolution process, 503 of which were not answered by Valve.

Kotaku spoke to Valve's Erik Johnson about the rating, and while he stated that Valve doesn't consider the BBB a useful metric, it does see a need for better Steam support. "The BBB is a far less useful proxy for customer issues than Reddit," Johnson said. "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.

"The more important thing is that we don't feel like our customer service support is where it needs to be right now," Johnson said. "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."

As for how, Johnson talks about building customer support directly into Steam. "We need to understand what's the most efficient way to solve customer problems," he said. "Right now we're in a state where we're doing a bunch of technical work on thinking through how does a support issue get raised, who has to see it, how do refunds get issued within Steam—we've done a poor job on all of that up to this date. We think it's something we really need to focus on."

As for the BBB, their rating isn't as cut-and-dry as it initially appears. The organisation itself has faced accusations regarding good grades for paid membership. Also it's not clear if any of the BBB's complaints were resolved with the customer directly—something the organisation wouldn't take into consideration. Nevertheless, whatever the legitimacy of the rating, it's positive to see Valve plan to improve their existing and rather lacklustre customer support.

Thanks, Blue's News.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.