Valve Wants To Be More Transparent About How Busy Steam Customer Support Is

Illustration for article titled Valve Wants To Be More Transparent About How Busy Steam Customer Support Is

For years, Valve has faced heavy criticism over lackluster customer service efforts. On the upside, they’ve confessed that they need to improve, and things are definitely better than they were in Peak Badness Year 2015. But there’s still a long way to go. The next step? Making customer support data public.


Valve has launched a new Steam page that shows how many customer support requests have been submitted on any given day (going back 90 days) and how many are waiting for a response. You can also see response categories and typical response request times. It’s not the most in-depth data set ever, but if nothing else, it’s revealing of how busy customer service is and when you’ve got a good (or crappy) chance of seeing a quick turnaround on your ticket.

Valve says it’s part of an effort to be more transparent.

“Improving Steam Support to make that experience as smooth as possible has been a big focus for us over the last couple years,” they explained. “We overhauled our support site, we’ve built better integrated tools, we no longer require a separate account to contact support, and we’ve increased our support staffing. We’ve also fixed as many bugs as possible and have provided new self-service options where they make sense.”

“We believe that increasing transparency will both help users understand how we are doing and will help make sure we keep improving over time,” they added.

They also made note of a couple other interesting facts. For one, Steam customer support typically handles around 75,000 requests per day. Refund requests is the biggest category, followed by account security and recovery. The former is pretty straightforward, and Valve says they resolve more than 90 percent of cases in a few hours. The latter category, however, includes everything from basic password requests to phishing and hacking. That means wait times can be longer, but Valve says they’ve managed to shave a lot of time off in recent months. “We’re happy to say that we’ve reduced wait times on these requests from once being over a week in many cases to now under 24 hours for more than 98% of requests,” they wrote.

There’s still room to improve. While this data offers a nice top-down perspective, there’s no indication of whether or not customers who sought customer support came away feeling, well, supported. Valve’s working on that aspect of their service as well.

“We know that reducing wait times and backlogs is not enough on its own,” said Valve, “and we’re also committed to continuing to improve the quality of each interaction. We’ve been continuously investing in staffing, training, and process improvements to that end and while we believe we’ve made progress we know there is always more work to be done.”


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This is perfect timing that this article’s come out, because after my experience today, I think Valve’s statements about “working on this customer support aspect” feels completely meaningless.

@Nathan, I’m hoping that you or someone else here can help me on an issue I’m having with Steam’s customer service.

Although I’m a decade year old Steam member with good standing with the service, I’m having a serious problem trying to get my first refund for a videogame purchase I’ve made a few days ago on the platform.

Valve keeps denying my support tickets because they state that I’ve played this game for more than 9 hours, which no longer qualifies me for a refund (because I hit the 2+ hour cap).

Obviously it’s easy to take their word on this, but I have screenshots on the refund page & on my steam browser that shows that I only have around 9 minutes logged.

Most of that time I had put onto the game was spent on the game’s launcher, and very little time was spent on the actual game (because it didn’t perform well on my machine). So I don’t know how Steam is having these (in my opinion) inaccurate readings. Or, maybe Steam browser is not being transparent enough with me on my actual game usage & I can’t see what the customer support agents see.

Despite trying to provide proof of this repeatedly, it feels like the people reviewing my tickets are not actually reading the contents of my case, simply closing the tickets based on Steam’s inaccurate data.

I’ve done it 3 times now in one day to no avail.

I was considering doing a chargeback against Valve for not honoring their refund policy, but I’ve seen research that shows that they put a account suspension if you do this.

What are my options here at this point? There’s no way to seemingly contact an actual human @Valve’s support team that I can at least email to review my evidence.

I hate that I don’t have any other recourse for this (at least at the moment).

To me, wait times/backlogs are no problem for me if they are actually doing a quality job reviewing refund requests on a case-by-case basis.

However, in my case, an instant rejection of my requests/appeal is even worse than waiting for awhile :(