If you’re gamer then you know that the holidays are a big time for game sales. With each online site and store providing a variety of sales for the budget minded gamer. This holiday season was marked by one of the biggest sales I’ve seen yet, and one of the worse displays of customer service from an online store.
The Bundle Bust:
For those that missed it, here’s what happened. During the holidays, Gamersgate was running daily specials on a variety of titles. On the 22nd they put up a bundle featuring a variety of titles from Bethesda including Skyrim and Dishonored. The bundle which would have cost over three hundred dollars was on sale for $28.78.
During the night, the site was hammered to the point of breaking with people wanting to get in on the sale. I, along with many people was able to get an order through and got in on this amazing deal.
After the order was processed we were greeted by a message saying that Gamersgate had ran out of keys for the bundle and that they would get more in by January, this being the only message from the company at the time.
A few days later the bundle was removed from accounts without any emails why. It was discovered that the bundle was priced in error forcing Gamersgate to remove the option from the store. The only response Gamersgate put out was a news piece from their site. That failed to answer anything specific about the issue, especially about refunds or taking back keys that were already used.
The problems Gamersgate had and made, showcase a major fault of both customer service and of the digital market.
A Breakdown of Communication:
My issues with the whole fiasco are just how horribly Gamersgate handled it for their consumer base.
First, I understand that there was an error in their site and that they were within their right to stop taking orders. However, from Saturday night into Sunday morning they were still accepting orders. Now, some have said that their limited employee pool is the explanation for this, but I don’t buy it.
When you’re running any kind of business that deals with customers, you have to always have people available to deal with problems. The fact that it lasted for so many hours before the deal was shut down raises a red flag.
The lack of any kind of meaningful communication was another major no-no. When my bundle was taken off my account without any reason why, I put in a support ticket on the 27th and at this time, no one has even looked at the ticket. But I still received my refund from them.
Removing games from someone’s account is the point that I’m the most upset with from Gamersgate. As this is the first time I’ve had this happen to me from a digital store and show a real precedence to who they support first: Their business contacts.
Working at Comcast for two years, one of the most important lessons I learned was that you never give the customer a reason to doubt your service, as there are always other places they can go. Any mistakes made on your end had to be honored to keep the integrity of the service. Meaning that any promises or agreements made on the company’s end had to be kept, even if that meant losing money.
As there is one thing that you never do: Is punish the customer for your mistake. Once you lost your customer’s trust, not only will it be hard to get back, but they will also tell their contacts about it and hurt your image more.
According to news sites, the Bethesda bundle wasn’t the only slip up made from Gamersgate, and that they messed up with a sale on Borderlands 2. In which they once again went in and removed the game from people’s accounts.
After the storm quieted down, Gamersgate’s CEO was contacted by TruePCGaming for an email interview. One quote from that piece that doesn’t sit right with me:
“We handle the biggest digital store on the net, with more than 4000 games and thousands and thousands of transactions every day.”
-GamerGate CEO, Theodore Bergquist
They are by no means the biggest store on the net, even if we ignore sites like Amazon or Best Buy they would still be behind other sites such as Steam and Impulse. And after not only failing to support their consumer base, but not even providing updates on the matter, I think they’re going to move even further down on the list.
When it comes to consumer industries, you really only have one shot to make a positive impact and I feel that Gamersgate has squandered theirs for a lot of people. I would be curious to see how many sales they actually got from the bundles during the sale and now how many they are going to get.
With so many options for buying digital products today, even one slip up can drive your customers to another online store. And who knows how many other stores are going to be created this year. At this point we can only wait and see the impact this snafu will have on Gamersgate.