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Valve Improving Steam Customer Support For Real

A curious Christmas present

Steam's customer support department is pretty shoddy, so I've heard from a fair few folks, and slow to respond if they do at all. I've been lucky enough to never have a problem that wasn't solved by deleting its 'ClientRegistry.blob' file myself, but I understand Steam no longer uses that magical file so heaven help me if I run in troubles now - or face bigger problems like having my account stolen.

But Valve say for real, for really reals, they're working on improving Steam's customer service. They really mean it this time. By Christmas, it might not suck.

Speaking with some scruffy red-trousered ragamuffin from Kotaku named Nathan, Valve businessman Erik Johnson said. "I think it's technically gotten a little worse on the user side of things [since the last time we talked]—at least, overall in terms of current ticket times." He added, "That peaked a few weeks ago, and it’s starting to get better now."

Johnson explains that Valve have been writing a whole load of software to build a new support system, so they are making progress, we just can't see it yet. Part of their approach to support seems to be proactive, making changes that'll reduce people's need for support. Refunds, for instance, will presumably reduce back-and-forth about problems or complaints with games. They've also been improving two-factor authentication and mobile apps to reduce account theft.

He also notes that some of Steam's problems are "kind of self-inflicted things," with all buying and trading of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and their stores and markets creating more work for support.

So, what will be the big fix for Steam's support? More people, basically. Which I probably could've told them if they'd offered me a hundred grand in consulting fees. They're training more staff, but it's taking time. They should've asked me years ago.

"We think we'll have the support wait time down to an acceptable point by Christmas time. That's our goal," Johnson says. 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."

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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