So, firstly, hello everyone. Yes, I know I’ve been a long time. I do have the best intentions of writing here more frequently, but sadly time gets away from me and it just has not been happening. But a recent, I’m sorry to say, negative experience in the online consumer world had prompted me to emerge and have a say.
Now, I’ve been heavily debating whether to name the entity involved. Given my experience has ultimately resulted in me reporting them to the authorities in their own country, my decision has been to refrain from naming them yet, in the hope that justice will be done.
The short version of this story is as follows:
I purchased a game online, something that I have been known to do quite frequently. I had no issues with it at first. But then one day, the game stopped working. The bane of every gamer’s life, a malfunction that seems to have no earthly explanation. After searching forums and trying every possible fix imaginable without success, I finally contacted support.
Initially, they seemed helpful. Asked me to provide a whole bunch of detailed information, which I did. Then swiftly told me they couldn’t help and I needed to follow up with the game developer. I attempted this. But when I could not even get a response from the developer, I got back in touch with the store and asked for a refund. And they refused.
They proceeded to blame me, the developer, and even Microsoft. But nowhere in the course of their blame throwing did they offer any possible reason that any of these other entities were at fault. It was simply them arguing it wasn’t their fault, therefore they had every right to keep my money in line with their “policy.”
Attempting to stay objective, I did some research. And discovered something interesting. The law requires a refund to be granted when requested if a product does not work. This law applies to toasters, cars, televisions, and yes, games. I informed them that if they did not provide me a refund as requested, I would report them. They still refused. So, I did what was necessary.
I do not have an outcome as yet, the matter is still being investigated. But I can’t help comparing this company to other, similar ones, who have been nothing but helpful in the past. I will name Steam, as I have nothing but praise for them. Sure, they might not be able to assist with all technical issues as some things are the domain of game developers. But I’ve only ever found myself needing to ask Steam for a refund once, which they immediately granted. Similar situation to this one, a game didn’t work and nobody could seem to work out why.
Back to my headline. Support is crucial in online business. It doesn’t matter how nice you seem to be in emails, if you aren’t providing genuine help, there is no point. I found myself becoming angry at this other business for their “niceness” in emails when they were basically telling me to go away and they were keeping my money and it was just too bad. Fake courtesy is worse than overt rudeness. And nowhere is this truer than in the online world where text-based communication is the norm.
If you run your business online, you need to make damn sure you have a strong, dedicated support team. You need to ensure your policies are designed to help your customers. If you fail in these areas, it doesn’t matter what exclusives you can offer, how flashy your product is, or how fancy your website, you will lose business.
I’m a massive gamer. I’ve purchased one game through this company and will never use them again. Compared to my Steam library which has almost 200 games and continues to grow. Why? Because Steam cares. Their support is real. And that’s why they will be getting more of my money in future, not this other company.