Posts Tagged ‘support’

The Valve saga is over

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

You may have read my previous post ranting about Valve and Steam and their support staff.  Well, I’m not taking back what I said about the support staff because I was treated poorly.  However, the issue has been resolved in an acceptable manner.

After asking twice to talk to a manager, I got an e-mail signed by a different person that repeated the exact same policy without even bothering to look into my case.  No introduction, no indication that were indeed a manager or anyone other than the same person as before but signing a different name.  I got pissed.

I drafted a nice reply to them stating that I was sending the details of my case to the founder of the company and all the senior management listed on the corporate website that had e-mail available to the public.  I also told them that I was going to be contacting every gaming forum and news and review site and writing letters to the editors of every mainstream game magazine I knew of.  I let them know that they had one week to fix this before I started because I really didn’t want to go through all that work.  After sending the reply I sent the same to three execs at Valve and gave them my contact information.

My mobile phone was ringing within five minutes.

Doug Valente from Valve called me himself and we chatted for about 15 minutes.  He tried to explain the problem and why they have the policies that they do.  He pointed out some vague wording on my game box that is supposed to say that it is restricted but really only says that the game can only be sold in Hong Kong or Macau.  No restrictions.  He relented.  I read him off a few more things from the box and the discs to prove that I indeed had a legal copy of the software.

He told me that the issue would be resolved and I would have a new CD Key by the time I got home that night.  Sure enough, when I logged onto Steam, there were a bunch of new messages waiting for me.

Doug Valente was very nice to talk with and I really appreciated him taking the time to listen to me unlike his support staff.  He admitted that the Steam support guys are a bit jaded when it comes to people trying to pull the wool over their eyes and sometimes can lose sight of the big picture.  I hope that he addresses that with them.

Thanks Doug!

So I’m satisfied – although I dread ever needing to work with Valve or Steam’s support again.  At least I have Doug’s e-mail address and direct phone number if I ever need it.

Tech Tips: Clues for the Clueless

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Are you a computer user?  If so, today’s post is aimed squarely at that bullseye on your forehead.  Tech people already know the list below by heart, but the common user seems to be oblivious to the following 10 tips on how to get better tech support.  This list was put together by me based on my own experiences in tech support of corporate clients.  If you re-use this, please link back to this site.

Here’s my Top Ten list of things to consider when you need tech support:

  1. If you want our help, please get up from the chair and let us get access to the PC.  This is an immediate clue as to the intelligence level of a given user if they ask for help but don’t think to get up and let us work.  If you really want to piss us off when we ask to see your PC, just swivel the keyboard around and stay seated that way we have to balance on one foot to keep from touching the unholiness that is your presence which is dumb enough to think that this actually helps.  We don’t want to catch whatever you have.
  2. Hovering over our shoulders while we work is not only irritating but often times distracting.  Unless we specifically need your input or are trying to show you how to do something… give us space.  We don’t need you to constantly take the mouse out of our hands to show us things that are completely irrelevant to the problem at hand.  Also, unless we are really close friends, we don’t need to hear all about your family and where you went on vacation while we are trying to fix your PC.  Hearing about your fantasy vacation to an elite resort on a private island could cause something unexpected.  Like your hard drive being mysteriously formatted.  I’m just saying….
  3. Sitting in a chair across the desk from where we are working and continually whining about your deadline or lost data or missed appointment will not speed things up.  Crying will also not help.  It kinda freaks us out.  Just because you need your PC to be working right now does not alter the fact that it’s not working.
  4. Please don’t call us for help with a problem and give us no information to go on.  This is especially annoying when you tell us that your PC is down when in fact, you just have Internet Explorer set to Work Offline and nothing more.  Better yet, call me in the middle of the night and tell me that the network is down because you can’t get your e-mail from home.  There are about 8,326,287,491 possible causes of this problem and only one of those is the network being completely down.  OMG.
  5. If you are getting error messages on your PC, please please please take a screen-shot of that message or at least write it down.  Don’t be that user that just automatically clicks OK on every pop-up no matter what it was and then wonder why nothing is working.  Those error messages are sometimes clues as to the problems you are having.  They are important.  At least read them.
  6. If you’re going to drop your PC off on our desks, leave something that will give us a clue as to what we are looking at.  I’ve found unlabeled notebook PCs sitting on my desk or chair before with no note, no name, no contact number, no indication of a problem… nothing.  Then at the end of the day So-and-So will call asking if their PC is fixed.  The answer is always going to be NO.  At least leave a Post-It note with your name or number so we know who to call to find out why we have an orphan in our office.  Even a snapshot of you with your dog would be more desirable than nothing if you can’t be bothered to write even your own name.
  7. If you know that you will be getting a new PC setup at your desk take a minute or two to clean up around the hardware that will be replaced.  If you aren’t sure what will be replaced, then just clean it all up.  That includes removing all the Post-It notes, toys, pictures, shwag, stickers, make-up, food, mobile phone adapters, USB aquariums, etc. that are obviously going to be in the way of us helping you change your equipment.  Or if that’s too much trouble, then don’t complain when you find all your precious “stuff” swept off to the edge of your desk in a ball of clutter that would make the King of the Cosmos weep with pride.
  8. If your PC is having a problem and we ask you if you installed anything on the PC – don’t lie.  We are not that stupid.  You’re only making yourself look bad when you lie about things like that.  More than likely we, or someone on our team, built that PC you are now using.  So when we look at the problem computer and see that Yahoo Instant Messenger, Ask Toolbar, 1001 Smileys, Free Animal ScreenSaver, Bejeweled, Nokia Mobile Connect, etc. are installed on your PC we not only know that you lied but you have given us proof.  Everything installed on a PC can potentially change how the whole system works.  We don’t just ask this for fun.  If you lie it’s not going to change the reality of what you did.  Just be honest.  We may think you are ignorant for not knowing better but at least you can look us in the eye with some sense of dignity.
  9. If you don’t like an answer you’ve received to your PC questions, then by all means ask for explanations or clarifications.  Not all tech people are as open and friendly as I am.  Many techs have the social skills of a badger suffering from crack withdrawals.  Sometimes you may need more info.  But whatever you do, DO NOT get angry with us if we have worked on your problems and given you an honest answer that you just don’t like.  The best way to ensure that you will never receive quality tech support again is to yell and scream at the servicing technician because there is no way for them to recover your files off a crashed hard drive or a failed USB thumb drive.  Threatening our jobs because you don’t think we’ve done our jobs right, even though we’ve told you that what you are asking for is impossible, will also not get you very far.  Even if you succeeded in getting that particular tech fired, you will quickly run out of IT people when they all give you the same answer.  Attend some anger management classes but do not take out your problems on the tech.
  10. You don’t need us to do or see every single thing that happens on your PC.  If you got a message in Internet Explorer that said it will be showing you both secure and unsecure items, yeah OK, no problem.  That’s normal.  If your screen flickered once and never again… probably a fluke or you kicked the power cord under your desk.  And if you get an error or warning message on your PC that comes complete with an explanation of the problem you are having and instructions on how to fix that problem then by all means please try it out.  Not only does it save time and gives you a certain sense of pride that you were able to fix your own computer problem but it also keeps you from wasting our time.  Many programs do offer fixes for the problems that can arise.  Most developers also make these message “dummy-proof” so even the most computer illiterate person can understand and follow the instructions.  We are not here to hold your hand every time the computer beeps.  It’s not scary.  It will be OK.

There you go.  That ended up being a lot longer than I had thought it would be.  I think the next Tech Tips will cover the opposite angle and focus on the techs themselves.  Users are always to blame but we have to share some of the burden sometimes.  Sometimes.