Online customer agents can see what you’re typing even before you hit that ‘send’ button

December 01st, 2018
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Have you ever had an experience when you were not happy with the service or product you paid for? Don’t worry, we’ve all been through it.

As dissatisfied customers, our first inclination is to vent our disappointment on the company and expect quick and effective customer service in return.

And with further developments in customer service, you can also expect changes in the assistance being given to us. Gizmodo reports that a feature in customer service chats has made customers or users concerned about their privacy. Some live chat services— which is used to connect users with customer representatives — have been found to be equipped with “real-typing view.” This means that the person you are talking to on the other side of the line can see what you’re typing even before you press “send.”

via GIPHY

To prove how “concerning” the chat feature is, Gizmodo shares a screenshot of the online exchange from one of their readers. A transcript from a conversation that he had with a mattress company after the agent responded to a message he hadn’t sent yet.

via Gizmodo

According to an award-winning help desk platform called LiveAgent, the “real-typing view” feature gives the customer representative a chance to see in real time what the customer is typing so he or she can prepare the right answer or solution to the customer’s problem.

Not only that, companies like McDonalds, Ikea, and Paypal have the same live chat service which they call “message sneak peek.” This allows customer representatives to “see what the visitor is typing in before they send it over.”

Now, the question is: How does this “particular magic trick” happen?

Well, thanks to the JavaScript that is operating in your browser and monitoring what’s happening on a particular site in real time. Jennifer Golbeck, director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and an associate professor at the University of Maryland, wrote a paper explaining the “sorcery” behind this.

Golbeck notes, “They used code they had embedded in the web pages to determine if anything had been typed into the forms in which we compose status updates or comment on people’s posts.” It’s how companies pick up information you’ve entered into web forms before you’ve hit submit.

via GIPHY

With this live chat service, customers can now get quick and precise answers to their complaints. However, it turns out that not everyone appreciates this feature. Sure, you get fast replies – which is great especially if you’re in a hurry. But the fact that you are being observed while you are typing is something that’s not only creepy, but invasive, as well.

Tell us in the comments below, what do you think about customer service’s real-time view of our inquiries?

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