Customer Service Can See Everything You Type (Everything)

It's a cornerstone of our human right to privacy: Nobody gets to see what's happening behind the bubble. Whether you're crafting a work text, a Tinder pick-up line, or just nailing that obscure Blackadder quote in your D&D WhatsApp group, your (awkwardly arranged, misspelled) words ought to remain your own private thoughts until you hit the send button. But as turns out, this is not the case when you're chatting with most customer support services. Because they can see all of your dirty, dirty drafts.

For anyone who has had the kind of blessed life that has never involved temping in customer service (the lost chapter in Dante's manuscript describing the circles of Hell), you may not realize all the tricks agents are forced to employ for efficiency's sake. But a recent development in big business being nosy bastards may change the way you talk to customer service forever.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

On Cyber Monday, Hmmdaily's Tom Socca noticed that a customer service agent had posted a full reply to one of his detailed questions one single second after he had hit "send." After doing some research, he found that out many big companies now employ chat software that allows for "real-time typing view" or "message sneak peek," a cute way of saying their agents are now in your window without your knowledge, peeping at you stroking your keys.

PGBS/Wikimedia Commons "Hello, customer service. How may we creep you out today?"

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Of course, it's not like type stalking doesn't have benefits for the customers. Many people won't mind finishing up a customer service chat as efficiently as possible. But is it actually efficient? Socca also noted that the quick-draw answer he received was barely relevant to the question he wound up asking, likely because the agent, like a shitty human autocomplete, had written their reply based on their guesswork of what Socca would wind up "sending."

And if the system is so great and uncontroversial, why hide it? Why even still have a send button at all? Why give the customer the illusion that they decide what gets shared? If they have to disclose to customers that their calls are being recorded for training purposes, they could easily start off every chat with the disclaimer "Our agents can see you typing 'balls' in a long uninterrupted string after misspelling 'definitely' on your fourth attempt."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

So how do you regain your privacy when talking to a customer rep? Easy: Type messages in a note-taking app or a word processor, so that only you and whatever third parties the software sells your identity to will read it (which is the most intimate the internet will ever get). Or you can just put on a tinfoil hat, scribble it down on a piece of paper, and then type it with the furious alacrity of a conspiracy theorist who knows everyone is watching. Sure, it'll take longer, but you were already queuing 45 minutes to complain about your toaster's refund policy anyway, so what's another five if it will the soothe every bloating paranoia?

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

If you want to read pure stream-of-consciousness garbage without violating someone's privacy, you can follow Cedric on Twitter.

Support your favorite Cracked writers with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

For more, check out Ants Are Better At Flu Season Than Your Stupid Co-Workers and No One Actually Wants A 'Back To The Future' Reboot, Right?

Also, we'd love to know more about you and your interesting lives, dear readers. If you spend your days doing cool stuff, drop us a line at iDoCoolStuff at Cracked dot com, and maybe we can share your story with the entire internet.

Follow us on Facebook. It's free.

To turn on reply notifications, click here

17 Comments

Load Comments

More Articles

5 Famous Old Movies That Now Look Painfully Stupid In 2019

The flow of time is cruel to us all.

193

6 Insanely Complex Pop Culture Mysteries Solved By Fans

Some particularly obsessed fans sacrifice huge amounts of time and effort to come up with answers so we can all sleep a little better at night.

67

6 Utterly Insane Movie Moments Everybody Forgets Exist

Lots of people forgot these movie moments ... but, like, how?

156

5 Cute Easter Eggs That Turned Into Huge Disasters

Rarely does an Easter egg shatter your hold on reality ... but these just might.

79

6 Classic Films That Almost Turned Out Terrible

Let us gaze into the parallel realities where these famous movies are really just infamously terrible.

161

6 Directors Who Use The Same Weird Scene In Every Movie

You'll never unsee these unusual tics.

70