Customer Service Monitoring Tools and Transparency

customer monitoring and transparency

Customer Service Monitoring Tools and Transparency

Customized ads, website suggestions, ‘people you may know’, every move online is watched. Common customer service tools like typing previews in chatbots and call monitoring are meant to improve the customer experience by making it more targeted. However, when do customer monitoring tools benefit from transparency?

How Customer Service Watches Customers

Chat Previews

Some chat software is equipped with real time type view. The agent gets to see what the customer is typing before they ever hit send.

This is not far from tracking customer online search behavior. How is it done?:

“This particular magic trick happens thanks to JavaScript operating in your browser and detecting what’s happening on a particular site in real time. It’s also how companies capture information you’ve entered into web forms before you’ve hit submit.”

There are varying views on this kind of feature. On the positive side, it can speed up the service process. This helps when aunt Sherrie is single finger pecking the keyboard at the pace of a snail. When cousin Edgar uses the chat box as a venting tool by typing what he’s really thinking before editing it to a professional request it becomes a bit weird.

Agent customer chat example of chat preview monitoring

Call Monitoring

It’s common for a customer service call to be recorded and/or monitored. Many calls begin with the notice we’ve all heard by now “Your call may be monitored or recorded… (blah,blah,blah).”

What many customers don’t know is that they might be heard while they are on hold also as described in this well-known New York Times article:

“Most callers do not realize that they may be taped even while they are on hold.
It is at these times that monitors hear husbands arguing with their wives, mothers yelling at their children, and dog owners throwing fits at disobedient pets, all when they think no one is listening.”

There is also AI software that assesses customer mood through voice analysis.

The Pros and Cons

Customer Monitoring Benefits

These practices are intended to improve the customer experience, reduce business costs and improve the bottom line by:

  1. Providing customers with faster results
  2. Improving agent efficiency
  3. Lowering cost per call/contact
  4. Providing data to upgrade features and processes
  5. Act as a training tool:

“New hires listen to calls so they have a very clear understanding of what the call process is,” says Sanchez, noting that the training includes listening to what she terms “Wow” calls – examples of outstanding customer service – as well as those that provide some room for improvement.”

More Customer Data

Some software goes beyond just previewing a chat for more in-depth customer information:

“The ability to preview a chat “gives agents insight into what customers are thinking as they type,” writes Ken Gao, founder and CEO of Comm 100, a leading provider of live chat software, thereby serving as an unsolicited source of customer sentiment. In fact, chat service companies like Ladesk enable the chat operator to “see the current webpage of your customer on chat, and you’ll also be notified of each page they switch to,” according to the website. On the back end, this surveillance capability is euphemistically couched as “visitor behavior analysis,” and is intended to help route the customer to agents with the right subject matter expertise.”

Challenges with Customer Monitoring


In a world where pockets of privacy are becoming scarce this kind of tool can reek of 1984 style control rather than customer assistance. Humans get mad. If they deal with anger in what they think is private before making a public response, should that be a part of their customer history? Is a warning symbol put next to their name in the CRM? Is their level of service somehow impacted?

Customers aren’t machines. Their lives go on even during phone holds. A personal conversation with a spouse or co-worker overheard unknowingly is invasion of privacy to some.


Many chat interfaces with a preview feature don’t notify the customer their typing is seen, misspellings, swear words and all. If a ‘send’ button is present, but the agent can see what is typed when it’s typed what is the purpose of the ‘send’ button anyway?