Tracking the data trackers

February 1, 2010
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Is the call-center rep getting surly?

Kevin Johnson at New Credit Rules has a tip: Inform the person you’re recording the call.

Fine, I thought as I read his post. But does he really expect us to record these calls? (Recording on the sly is illegal in some jurisdictions.) Turns out that for Johnson, taping is just part of a vigorous data strategy. His idea, as he writes in an older post, is to amass data on the companies that are busy studying his. “To a large extent,” he writes, “this industry is built on asymmetrical information; the companies having more or better information than you do. As a customer, you must empower yourself and know what is going on at all times and hold companies accountable.”

His strategy is exhaustive:

I document every encounter I have with a customer service representative or a company, as if I am a spy…. In the same way a customer service representative may ask me to verify my mother’s birthday, I ask the representative to give me his or her name, employee identification number, and location. (It’s important to do this before things could get heated. Representatives tend to withhold information during a confrontation.); I have a
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