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Does UA rank/track customer interactions? Can you complain too much?

Does UA rank/track customer interactions? Can you complain too much?

Old Apr 3, 22, 6:11 pm
  #106  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Programs: UA GS 2.8MM, Bonvoy Amb/LT Plat
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I dont doubt UA has robust data collection systems. It was the below I was referring to:

They record all the posts on here, every twitter mention, if they can tag it with your MP number it's recorded. Even if you don't add your MP number, they will track by billing address anything.

Make a complaint about something that happens in the airport, high resolution pictures and video are in customer care's hands by the end of the day.
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Old Apr 3, 22, 7:37 pm
  #107  
 
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Even if it wasn't Foundry specifically, an organization as large as United -- and one who really drives the most profit from identifying what draws profitable customers and discouraging (or at least up-selling) the least profitable customers -- would be insane not to track every bit of data they can. Storage is cheap and AI can derive all kinds of information [there was a story 10+ years ago, IIRC, where Target identified a customer was pregnant by purchase patterns and started mailing related coupons, etc., when she hadn't told anyone. And that was 10+ years ago].

My local art museum has a file on me (A creepy meeting with the Development department once started with "Nice to finally meet you. There are some very interesting things in your file...")
My cable company records every call (After escalating a business account issue to corporate I got a call that they "listened to each of the calls over the past couple weeks. You gave us everything we should have needed to identify and fix it on the first call. Each of the reps missed steps or used the wrong troubleshooting tree that should have gotten this fixed on your first or second call at the most.")
Apple knows about every Genius Bar and support call I've ever made...few as they are...and they've extended courtesies to me outside of policy because they've seen positive notes from reps regarding previous calls. (Apparently calling back to leave a complement for a phone support rep earned me a good-will out-of-warranty replacement on a later Apple Store visit)

If all of these orginiations are willing to collect, store, process, and associate information about my business dealings with them, why wouldn't United? I spend probably $25k/year more with United on average than any of those. And I have far more choices in how I could direct my business with United.
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Old Apr 3, 22, 9:58 pm
  #108  
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
Even if it wasn't Foundry specifically, an organization as large as United -- and one who really drives the most profit from identifying what draws profitable customers and discouraging (or at least up-selling) the least profitable customers -- would be insane not to track every bit of data they can. Storage is cheap and AI can derive all kinds of information [there was a story 10+ years ago, IIRC, where Target identified a customer was pregnant by purchase patterns and started mailing related coupons, etc., when she hadn't told anyone. And that was 10+ years ago].

My local art museum has a file on me (A creepy meeting with the Development department once started with "Nice to finally meet you. There are some very interesting things in your file...")
My cable company records every call (After escalating a business account issue to corporate I got a call that they "listened to each of the calls over the past couple weeks. You gave us everything we should have needed to identify and fix it on the first call. Each of the reps missed steps or used the wrong troubleshooting tree that should have gotten this fixed on your first or second call at the most.")
Apple knows about every Genius Bar and support call I've ever made...few as they are...and they've extended courtesies to me outside of policy because they've seen positive notes from reps regarding previous calls. (Apparently calling back to leave a complement for a phone support rep earned me a good-will out-of-warranty replacement on a later Apple Store visit)

If all of these orginiations are willing to collect, store, process, and associate information about my business dealings with them, why wouldn't United? I spend probably $25k/year more with United on average than any of those. And I have far more choices in how I could direct my business with United.
Some of the organizations you referenced such as the local art museum will live and die by their CRM. United, unfortunately, hasn't pulled itself forward to be able to exploit the info it has collected on you and me over these decades.

Example: After having logged into my account, all that UA can do (either online or via the app) is remember that I did a rando search of EWR-LAS simply because one session offered up "deals out of EWR". I've done plenty of other searches but that's all it seems to remember. As well that my home airport isn't EWR but doesn't take that into account. Whatever.

I suspect that a more intelligent correlation set of algorithms could offer up a more relevant set of routings given a) my home airport, b) my recent flight history (and, yes, I connect through EWR) as well as c) where my trips end up (hey, I am a Californian so don't try to sell me flights to "somewhere warm" or at least somewhere besides LAX.

David
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Old Apr 3, 22, 10:13 pm
  #109  
 
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These are always interesting discussions. On one hand we know the technology is available to track virtually every keystroke we make on ua.com and associated Apps. On the other hand, this is the same company that continues to offer me E+ at checkout for $X despite being GS or 1K for the last 15+ years.
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Old Apr 4, 22, 6:38 am
  #110  
 
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Originally Posted by tcdtcd View Post
I dont doubt UA has robust data collection systems. It was the below I was referring to:

They record all the posts on here, every twitter mention, if they can tag it with your MP number it's recorded. Even if you don't add your MP number, they will track by billing address anything.

Make a complaint about something that happens in the airport, high resolution pictures and video are in customer care's hands by the end of the day.
I don't doubt that any of that happens; not for a second. There've been enough anecdotal cases here where someone says something on FT, and it gets cross-correlated with their MP account. Whether United takes action based on that depends on the situation, but we know they are active in these forums, are paying attention, and have the ability to correlate data. Twitter? Shoot, that's way easier yet. I was doing that a dozen years ago with off the shelf software.

Scott McNealy said it best, in what, 1998? "You have no privacy ... get over it."
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Old Apr 4, 22, 11:15 am
  #111  
 
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Originally Posted by bluedemon211 View Post
These are always interesting discussions. On one hand we know the technology is available to track virtually every keystroke we make on ua.com and associated Apps. On the other hand, this is the same company that continues to offer me E+ at checkout for $X despite being GS or 1K for the last 15+ years.
The fun thing about websites that use React/Angular or other front-end SPA like frameworks - is that they send you all kinds of data in neat little JSON objects from a back-end API. Most websites have been trending that way for awhile [warning: I have very strong opinions against the majority of uses of this trend, and sloppy APIs]

Looking through the data objects we download when using United's website, I came away with the idea that they have an offer bundles API that they just pull 2-3 randomized picks - there is no checks or filters for status etc that I could tell, even though it could, theoretically, be easily added. On the other hand, from the rest of the site, I cant tell if they have a reason for their APIs to be this sloppy or if whoever created them was just lazy/lowest bidder.

Skip below for instructions to see the data United forces you to consume bandwidth for when using their website. Ive looked over mostof it before posting this in-case there was anything that could be used as an exploit/vulnerability - I did not see anything other than very interesting & benign, but maybe technically embarrassing, data set exposures that are not currently displayed in the regular browser panel. Here is a related post of mine for finding Upgrade offers even after you have applied PlusPoints

The most interesting data keys relating to this thread were the CustomerProfitScore[`ProfitScore`, `CentileRank`, `DecileRank`] there is also a CustomerMetrics[`ServiceScore`, `AvailabilityProfile`], BehaviorSegments , EliteDetails , OxygenFlowRate (??). There is even a SkyTeamEliteLevelCode (??)

For the Sheldon Coopers out there that have a spreadsheet for everything and want to check it against United data, there is: CurrentYearMoneySpent, CurrentYearUASegments(separate from PremierQualifyingFlights) among other things.

Anyway, for those interesting in seeing an example of a sloppy API and a bit of the kinds of data United keeps track of, here is how to see it:
[for those wondering, this is all data United is forcing-upon/voluntary sending to your computer whether you want it or not, the main browser window is only displaying pieces of it]

How To:

Using Firefox [chrome and safari have the same tooling, safaris is Menu -> Develop > Show Web Inspector - chrome is not installed on this computer so you will have to search for it]

1. [Firefox] Goto -> Menu > Tools > Browser Tools > Web Developer Tools
2. [New split panel] Select `Network` -> `XHR`
3. [United Webpage] Login to your account > View My Account
4. [Network Panel] search for or select `profile` (or whichever other one you are interested in looking at)
5. [Headers Panel] Select ` Response`

Now you can see the full profile JSON data object United is throwing at you. I will let you explore on your own from here. Enjoy, data is fun. And yes, you can do this with pretty much every React/SPA type site out there - I am not a fan.

Finally, I am mostly certain United knows who people are on here, or can very easily figure it out. After posting a question on here asking how long it takes for them to get back to the 1k email after about a week of not hearing anything - I magically got a response the next day - maybe it was uncanny timing, but I doubt it.

Last edited by random.parts; Apr 4, 22 at 11:30 am
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Old Apr 4, 22, 11:59 am
  #112  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Ok... Now I'm really curious how my ProfitScore stands up (assuming a 0-100 scale my CentileRank is very high but my DecileRank is pretty low)

Perhaps most surprising given the general inability of the aviation industry to handle hyphens is that my last name is properly reflected in the object.

The IsPClubMember and SkyTeamEliteLevelCode could probably show up in "Remaining Vestiges of CO"
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Old Apr 4, 22, 12:23 pm
  #113  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by dmurphynj View Post
I don't doubt that any of that happens; not for a second. There've been enough anecdotal cases here where someone says something on FT, and it gets cross-correlated with their MP account. Whether United takes action based on that depends on the situation, but we know they are active in these forums, are paying attention, and have the ability to correlate data. Twitter? Shoot, that's way easier yet. I was doing that a dozen years ago with off the shelf software.
Devil's advocate here. What is the business case for tracking our comments on FT? How will that generate more revenue for UA or help them get more exposure or positive PR? It seems like a lot of effort for them to track our social media behavior just in case we contact Customer Relations. I don't see much in the way of personalized offers. UA seems to care way more about buying behavior through corporate channels and managed travel. Than individuals buying.
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Old Apr 4, 22, 12:27 pm
  #114  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Originally Posted by seacarl View Post
Devil's advocate here. What is the business case for tracking our comments on FT? How will that generate more revenue for UA or help them get more exposure or positive PR? It seems like a lot of effort for them to track our social media behavior just in case we contact Customer Relations. I don't see much in the way of personalized offers. UA seems to care way more about buying behavior through corporate channels and managed travel. Than individuals buying.
Not all information gathered is (or needs to be) immediately turned back for direct marketing.

It's possible to analyze tone, determine influence, etc. which can all be folded back into product decisions among other things. To a point up thread it's not at all clear how well UA is currently harnessing the power of the information they may or may not be gathering but there's a lot to be said for just having the information available...think about crime scene evidence from 30 years ago hitting fresh DNA as a perhaps morbid example.
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Old Apr 4, 22, 12:52 pm
  #115  
 
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Originally Posted by bluedemon211 View Post
On one hand we know the technology is available to track virtually every keystroke we make on ua.com and associated Apps.
I know United does track interactions with their website. Several years ago I saw a reference to Ellington Field (in Houston) as one of their destinations. I told a friend of mine in United IT that I saw that. He couldn't find where it was listed, and I couldn't remember how I got to it. So he pulled up the history of my clicks, one by one, so that he could see where I found it. He told me things like "well I see you clicked there, and then you went to this, and then that."

Another friend of mine built a large web app and launched a start-up. He has a tool on the website that allows him to playback like a movie all use of the website, showing every cursor move, click, and keystroke and the actual contents of the site displayed to the user. He could see when people typed something, then deleted, and then re-typed. Kind of creepy.

I have a privacy filter (like a VPN) on my iPhone and my computer that filters out traffic to tracking servers. I can see in the logs that the United app makes hundreds of attempts to reach a particular server that is blocked by my filter.
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Old Apr 4, 22, 1:03 pm
  #116  
 
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Originally Posted by dmurphynj View Post
I don't doubt that any of that happens; not for a second. There've been enough anecdotal cases here where someone says something on FT, and it gets cross-correlated with their MP account.
While I think practically every single interaction with UA is logged and tracked - essentially anything to do directly with customer care - I'm extremely skeptical FT posts make it to their CRM system. I find it difficult to believe they have the bandwidth for that and except for employee curiosity, even monitor FT very closely.
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Old Apr 4, 22, 1:04 pm
  #117  
 
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Originally Posted by random.parts View Post
Finally, I am mostly certain United knows who people are on here, or can very easily figure it out. After posting a question on here asking how long it takes for them to get back to the 1k email after about a week of not hearing anything - I magically got a response the next day - maybe it was uncanny timing, but I doubt it.
How could UA know who we are without Flyertalk surrendering our info? I don't have any identifying data in my profile and there are no apps or social media programs loaded on any of my devices, so there is no data to be harvested by malware from the UA website when I am logged-in. In addition, I always use multiple browsers and VPNs when logged-in to any website.

I never give flight numbers when I complain on here, or actual dates of an event (or any other data that could positively ID me), so how could they possibly link a complaint I made here to my MP account without having access from FT?

I will also say that I haven't made a complaint to 1Kvoice in many years, or complained in person. I never lip-off to anyone at UA, so there is no reason for anyone to remember me. My goal is to remain anonymous so that I will not be discriminated against for my truthful comments here. If the actuality is that they do know who is commenting here, then I would certainly cease my interactions with FT.

I do know that UA reads comments here, and I have gotten PMs from them in the past, offering to help me with a problem and requesting my MP number.
I don't doubt that these communications were sincere efforts to help me, but I politely declined the offered assistance in every case in an effort to remain anonymous.
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Last edited by zombietooth; Apr 4, 22 at 1:10 pm
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Old Apr 4, 22, 1:19 pm
  #118  
 
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Originally Posted by zombietooth View Post
How could UA know who we are without Flyertalk surrendering our info?
Most people on here already freely surrender all the info needed to find them, no need for Flyertalk to get involved (myself included). The way I would do it would be to search your post history for information on flight history - doesnt have to have flight numbers, but if you ever listed full trips or segment orders of a one way/RT then that could be easily cross referenced all flights or itineraries that match those segments around the givin time period, filtered by status one talks about having or from there homebase (usually the place listed most as the departing flight - then double checked by other information given like how long a person has had status, the general dates of those flight segments, if they got upgrades or what cabin by the post complaining about the horrible food or lack of drink service etc. With the amount of data already collected, it is really not that difficult to cross-reference it

[edit to add] it doesn't mean they are going to maliciously use the ability to do so, but it is very much possible to find who someone is, especially with the more one post

Last edited by random.parts; Apr 4, 22 at 1:24 pm
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Old Apr 4, 22, 1:25 pm
  #119  
 
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Originally Posted by zombietooth View Post
How could UA know who we are without Flyertalk surrendering our info? I don't have any identifying data in my profile and there are no apps or social media programs loaded on any of my devices, so there is no data to be harvested by malware from the UA website when I am logged-in. In addition, I always use multiple browsers and VPNs when logged-in to any website.

I never give flight numbers when I complain on here, or actual dates of an event (or any other data that could positively ID me), so how could they possibly link a complaint I made here to my MP account without having access from FT?

I will also say that I haven't made a complaint to 1Kvoice in many years, or complained in person. I never lip-off to anyone at UA, so there is no reason for anyone to remember me. My goal is to remain anonymous so that I will not be discriminated against for my truthful comments here. If the actuality is that they do know who is commenting here, then I would certainly cease my interactions with FT.

I do know that UA reads comments here, and I have gotten PMs from them in the past, offering to help me with a problem and requesting my MP number.
I don't doubt that these communications were sincere efforts to help me, but I politely declined the offered assistance in every case in an effort to remain anonymous.
All it takes is one slip. One mention that you were on, say, EWR-SEA 6/jun and another post 2 years later that you were on dfw-hnl this week and -- poof, easy to cross-correlate. Now you - and everything you've ever posted - is directly identifiable.

A little Minority Report-ish, and I hope they don't quite make those correlations, but the technology not only exists, but is pretty easy to implement.

Google "Ross Ulbricht" for a very fascinating - and terrifying - example of how easy it is to cross-correlate data across multiple social media sites. Granted, in this case, I'm glad they did, but it should show how easy it is to do if someone wants to.
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Old Apr 4, 22, 1:33 pm
  #120  
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Originally Posted by random.parts View Post

How To:

Using Firefox [chrome and safari have the same tooling, safaris is Menu -> Develop > Show Web Inspector - chrome is not installed on this computer so you will have to search for it]

1. [Firefox] Goto -> Menu > Tools > Browser Tools > Web Developer Tools
2. [New split panel] Select `Network` -> `XHR`
3. [United Webpage] Login to your account > View My Account
4. [Network Panel] search for or select `profile` (or whichever other one you are interested in looking at)
5. [Headers Panel] Select ` Response`

Now you can see the full profile JSON data object United is throwing at you. I will let you explore on your own from here. Enjoy, data is fun. And yes, you can do this with pretty much every React/SPA type site out there - I am not a fan.
Very cool, thanks for sharing this! They have my precise join date, which is somewhat cool to see.

I don't know what the scale is, but it was also interesting to see that I have a negative profit score. I've only ever flown UA on partner ticket stock (I don't know how JV calculations are done), so that was perhaps not surprising but interesting nonetheless.
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