A worrying feature in customer service chats has been discovered and it has many users concerned about their privacy.
A growing number of live chat services, which are often used to connect customer service representatives with users in need of help, have been found to be equipped with ‘real-time typing view,’ according to
This lets customer service representatives see what you’re typing even before you send it.
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A number of live chat services, often used to connect customer service representatives with users in need of help, have been found to be equipped with ‘real-time typing view’
While many claim the feature is meant to help customer service reps prepare an answer to your question ahead of time, it’s unclear if users are aware of the tool.
The issue came to light after Gizmodo received a screenshot from a reader, wherein they bluntly asked a representative in a live chat whether they could see their messages before they were sent.
The live chat was with a representative from a mattress company.
‘Can you see the messages I’m typing before I send them?,’ the user asked.
To which the representative replied: ‘We get a preview.’
In another example, news site
Pictured is an example of LiveAgent’s real-time chat feature. In it, customer service representatives see what users are typing before they actually send them a message
The response time seemed ‘uncannily quick’ to the reporter, at which point, they began to investigate, eventually stumbling upon a variety of chat service providers that offer ‘real-time typing view.’
‘View what your customers are typing on Live chat in real-time,’ a service called
‘Have your answers prepared before the customer submits his questions.
‘Before the customer clicks the “Send message” button, you have a chance to see in real time what the customer is typing.
‘This gives you more time to prepare an answer or solution to the customer’s problem. Customers will appreciate your quick and precise answers,’ it continues.
However, as it turns out, not all customers appreciate their messages covertly being read as they re-phrase them or decide not to send them at all.
ARE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS SPYING ON YOU?
It’s been revealed that many customer service representatives chat with customers using messaging services that have ‘real-time typing’ features.
This allows them to see what you’re typing before you send it.
What’s worse, some services also provide people with the ability to see what webpages you have open or are switching to while chatting with customer service reps.
Many services promote these features as a way to improve the user experience, by providing customers with answers to their questions faster.
But it hasn’t alleviated fears that the tools are violating users’ privacy, as many are unaware that their messages are being read as they’re rewritten, or in some cases, not sent to the representative at all.
For example, a service called Live Chat has a ‘message sneak peak’ tool, which lets representatives see what you’re typing.
Live Chat counts McDonalds, Ikea, and PayPal as a few of its customers.
There are other services that offer this feature, such as Live Chat, which has a ‘message sneak peek’ tool, according to Gizmodo.
The feature lets customer service reps ‘see what the visitor is typing in before they send it over.’
Live Chat counts McDonalds, Ikea and PayPal as a few of its customers.
As if that wasn’t creepy enough, some services also offer people the ability to see what webpages their customer has open and receive notifications of every webpage they open, Hmm Daily said.
Users should be wary of other customer service interactions as well, Gizmodo noted, as many are unaware that calls recorded for ‘quality assurance purposes’ often include any audio when customers are on hold, which can include anything from private conversations with your family members to you talking to your pet.
Other services that offer this feature, like Live Chat, have a ‘message sneak peek’ tool that previews users messages. Live Chat counts McDonalds, Ikea and PayPal as its customers
Many pointed out that the services could somewhat alleviate privacy concerns if they simply notified users that customer service representatives see what they’re typing before they send it.
To notify users, it could be as simple as including a disclaimer or button on the chat window that warns of the feature.
The feature brings to mind the user data mishaps experienced by Facebook, Google and the like.
While the tools are meant to improve the user experience, they end up paying little attention to their privacy – a phenomenon that has become all too common in Silicon Valley, Hmm Daily noted.