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Steam reaches 9m concurrent users despite service issues

Valve's Erik Johnson acknowledges it "has to do better" at addressing customer problems

Steam has hit another concurrent users milestone, even as one of Valve's business development authorities admitted to significant issues with customer service.

Valve's online distribution and gaming platform topped 9.06 million users yesterday, beating the previous noted record of 8.5 million users set at the start of January. Take a wider view, this means that Steam has added 1 million concurrent users in substantially less than a year.

Valve can be justifiably proud of Steam's ongoing dominance in the PC market, though it seems that questions are nevertheless being asked internally about whether the company is doing enough to attract new customers and retain its existing ones.

Kotaku recently noticed that Valve had received the lowest possible grade for its customer service from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a non-profit group that documents customer problems and the quality of response they receive.

Valve's Erik Johnson addressed the somewhat damning assessment by, first and with some justification, questioning the utility of the BBB compared to social media channels like Twitter and Reddit. Of course, Valve isn't particularly effective in responding to problems raised on those channels either, and Johnson admitted that its entire approach to customer service is being rethought.

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

"We need to do a variety of things... We need to build customer support directly into Steam. We need to understand what's the most efficient way to solve customer problems."

Thanks to VG247.

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Latest comments (2)

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve3 years ago
For years now, EA has been watching and learning from Steam, and has improved Origin a considerable amount in the places that count. Valve on the other hand sometimes seem quite complacent with their position as the leader in digital games distribution. Customer service is definitely something that they can learn from Origin as it's probably the biggest weakness of Steam.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think things have really changed in customer service for Steam since it launched, despite growing massively in size. If I face problems it's usually quicker to ask the community for help, but there are some things the community can't help with and you can be left for weeks without an official answer, and sometimes never receive a useful reply at all.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
Customer service is definitely something that they can learn from Origin as it's probably the biggest weakness of Steam.
Yup. Customer Service is apparently the largest single department in Valve, but it's quite clear that they need to increase in size (relieving the pressure somewhat), and make things "just better" for consumers. It's a shame that Valve itself seems very pro-consumer, but their Support just can't cope when things go wrong. :(

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 16th March 2015 1:49pm

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