Customer service is a key part of any company’s success, and in 2018 the way they deal with that topic is very different to the older days, when a strongly worded letter was your first option for complaint, and a letter to your local paper the last. Social media has become a blessing for the modern consumer, but also a curse, as a post on the DotA 2 subreddit nicely demonstrates.
A user name Voodoomike posted last night, UK time, about an issue he was having with his Dota Plus account. In a post that mirrored recent issues seen in other online titles, the user discovered they had been charged for a year of service, just one month after having just paid for his full year, and according to their account there was no method of fixing it offered online.
So, as is often the way, the (we assume) man they call Mike posted his issue on reddit, where it quickly climbed to the top of the DotA 2 subreddit, which was fortunate for our hero, as it seems the Dota Plus team are keen redditors. Within a matter of hours, Voodoomike had a response from their team, stating they would look into it, and his refund should be processed without a problem.
As previously mentioned, the news came on the back of a couple of weeks of similar stories from various esports communities. An ESEA user had found their account for online CSGO was double charging them, and had been for some time, leading to users sharing stories of the infamously poor ESEA customer service. Comparisons with FACEIT also came out, with the latter coming out on top of the public reckoning on this occasion.
This story speaks to a changing of the way customer service and feedback is handled in the digital age, and equally the power of reddit over not just small companies, but even huge corporations. What started with celebrities abusing their twitter power has now evolved into a survival of the luckiest, where even the small user can get some serious traction, depending on those random factors that can influence how popular a post is.
Not just fading stars
This is also a factor of how tied to social media esports and the games involved have become, which is not surprising when you consider the role sites like YouTube, Twitter and Twitch have had on the evolution of the scene. In the past, the habit of complaining to get better treatment was reserved for people on their way down from fame who were trying to leverage what they had left (Alan Davies, anyone?), but now you will see if from anyone with a blue tick, and plenty without.
The reason this can be an issue for consumers is that it allows companies carte blanche to potentially ignore those cases that don’t get traction, meaning the majority are far more likely to be ignored. The PR teams at Dota Plus would have been delighted that tech support did their job for them, but there could equally be a number of posts lurking at the bottom of the subreddit that will never be seen.
For Voodoomike though, the story has a happy ending, and it’s going to probably only get better as his refund is processed and a small amount of reddit fame is his for the taking too. The power of reddit, and by extension social media has never been as acutely felt as it is in 2018, and cases like this only serve to highlight that fact. For esports, it can be problematic, as it puts more power in the hands of volunteer mods than is good for fair reporting, but for the user it seems like a great advancement.