Acquire

A Practical Guide to Cobrowsing [Updated]

author
Laduram Vishnoi
CEO, Acquire.io
8 min read
A Practical Guide to Cobrowsing [Updated]

Perhaps you’ve heard of cobrowsing and want to know more. Maybe you’re interested in how it can benefit your business. Whatever your reasons, this guide is here to provide information about cobrowsing, including know-how and tips to improve your daily customer conversations.

Contents:

  1. What is cobrowsing?
  2. The case for cobrowsing
  3. How does cobrowsing work?
  4. How does cobrowsing empower agents to perform better?
  5. How does cobrowsing increase customer convenience?
  6. Cobrowsing annotation tools
  7. Is cobrowsing a better alternative to screen sharing?
  8. Is cobrowsing safe?
  9. Cobrowsing enriches the customer experience
  10. Identity cobrowsing
  11. Cobrowsing for phone support
  12. Cobrowsing for technical support
  13. Top cobrowsing features to look out for
  14. How to measure cobrowsing success

What is cobrowsing?

Cobrowsing, also known as collaborative browsing, is a secure method of joint online navigation allowing agents and customers to be, quite literally, on the same page.

Online conversations are effortless when agents can see exactly where customers are stuck. The customer then simply follows your agents' lead by watching their visual cues.

The case for cobrowsing

Real-time customer support, powered by visual engagement tools like cobrowsing, enables brands to really understand their potential customers. That's because cobrowsing reveals subtle nuances that enable you to offer a truly personalized customer experience.

Research shows humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than written text. Offering support with visual guidance does a whole lot more to improve the customer experience than simply writing out instructions.

By providing a way to see what your customers see, cobrowsing improves customer service and creates a richer brand experience.

According to Forbes, interactions involving cobrowsing have higher customer satisfaction ratings than average — as much as 89.3%.

Another study carried out by the Aberdeen Group showed cobrowsing is pivotal in increasing customer satisfaction and reducing support costs, whilst driving 61% greater revenue growth than companies without cobrowsing.

Pretty amazing, right? Add cobrowsing to your customer support tools and get a massive leap in profit and client satisfaction. Just like that.

Cobrowsing:

  • Stops endless back and forth online, improving one-time resolution rates.
  • Enhances the quality of remote support. Just connect in a few clicks and offer support anytime, anywhere.
  • Reduces confusion in form filling and allows swift completion of complex transactions.

How does cobrowsing work?

Unlike screen sharing, cobrowsing doesn't stream video, so you avoid lag times between a customer’s and support rep's screen. A cobrowse session is initiated simply by passing HTML code from user to agent.

Cobrowsing happens in one of two ways:

1) Session-based cobrowsing

  • The javascript cobrowse engine collects and captures images, URL, and page content in data packets, sending them to the agent's screen via a secure server.
  • The cobrowse engine detects dynamic content like mouse scrolling, marking, clicks, and keyboards movements, sending them via a secure connection to show on the agent’s screen.
  • All data coming from the shared tab is captured and sent to the agent’s browser. It’s easy to see where your customer is stuck.

2) Video-based cobrowsing

  • In this case, the cobrowse engine captures video sessions, passing them over to the agent's screen. The engine doesn't send content; instead, it uses proxy sessions to send out the video packets.
  • Video-based cobrowsing is considered unsafe as page content is sent using a proxy. This means giving total control to the agent, instead of just over the browser tab.

Some cobrowsing providers use iFrame technology to provide a safer and more sophisticated cobrowsing experience. An iFrame is an HTML page embedded on a website, used to load data from one web source into another. With iFrames, it’s easy and safe to load external content into the agents’ side.

Note: Cobrowsing can weigh down the server and slow down computers or mobile phones. That’s why you need to use the right software. Something that’s lightweight, convenient, and designed with the end-user (i.e., you) in mind.

How does cobrowsing empower agents to perform better?

Cobrowsing enables customer support agents to access a client’s browser to see the exact problem they are facing. In turn, customers can see what agents are doing on their web or mobile screen page, increasing levels of trust. Here is how cobrowsing enables agents to improve their performance:

  • One-click – Customers send requests in just one click.
  • Take control – Resolve issues quickly by viewing and controlling the customer’s current tab.
  • Cobrowse – Browse URLs and web pages simultaneously with your customer.
  • Co-scroll – Scroll web pages and hover over web elements in real-time. 
  • Co-fill – Fill out forms in no time with web form collaboration. 
  • Navigate to URLs –  Load web pages and watch them appear on your customer's screen.
  • Live chat – Communicate in real-time with customers inside cobrowsing sessions.
  • Live annotation – Take notes, draw, and highlight words while cobrowsing.

How does cobrowsing increase customer convenience?

With cobrowsing, the customer experience is so much smoother. Cobrowsing gives your team full insight into your customer's issues, while also maintaining their security. Key features include:

  • Session control – Allow customers to take control of the cobrowsing session.
  • Restrictions – Restrict agents from switching to other tabs and viewing irrelevant content.   
  • Data masking – Hide confidential information by masking the data field.  
  • Visual cues – Highlight an element of the web resource with marking tools. 
  • Real-time support – Ask for help anytime, anywhere with remote access and mobile compatibility. 
  • No downloads – Connect with agents without downloading any external software or third-party plugins.

Cobrowsing annotation tools

With annotation functionality, cobrowsing becomes an even more powerful tool. Directing customers on-screen through complex transactions makes previously-cumbersome form filling and troubleshooting processes easy.

  • Pointer – Scroll over areas with the mouse to indicate on the end user’s screen.  
  • Drawing – Draw around a page section or specific button to show customers where to input information.
  • Pen – Write on the customer's screen. Use your preferred color. 
  • Highlighter – Highlight a section of the end user’s screen to show them the next step or make your point clear.

Is cobrowsing a better alternative to screen sharing?

You bet it is. A lot of people mistakenly see cobrowsing and screen sharing as the same technology, but they’re not.

Screen sharing solutions often require external downloads. These third-party installations dramatically slow down interactions, whereas cobrowsing doesn’t need a third-party installation or plug-in at all.

This table highlights some important differences:

Is cobrowsing safe?

In short, yes. Cobrowsing sessions only start after the customer explicitly grants access permission to the agent.

What makes cobrowsing especially secure is agents only have access to the customer’s current tab, seeing only what customers are willing to show. It works both ways: the customer can’t see anything on the agent’s side either.

Data masking ensures total data security. Customers can blur out confidential data even on pages the agent can see, only showing exactly what they need to.

Here’s a useful checklist to address any security concerns when evaluating cobrowsing solutions.

Cobrowsing enriches the customer experience

The way customers expect to receive support is changing. Simple voice or online chats are increasingly being replaced by interactive tools.

Combining cobrowsing with other communication channels such as live chat, voice chat, video chat, and intelligent FAQs, increases sales revenues by as much as 25%, as well as increasing conversion rates and overall satisfaction.

Identity cobrowsing

Identity cobrowsing connects you with a registered user based on their browsing habits on your website or mobile app. Integrate cobrowsing with your centralized database system (CRM) to initiate a cobrowse session right from the dashboard.

Acquire Cobrowse authenticates a registered user when they log into your system, app or website, mapping user details against the Acquire database and populating profiles on-screen. This provides an opportunity to connect contextually with existing users, offering a truly personalized experience.

Perhaps the best example of this comes from banking and financial institutions’ need to provide online banking services to their customers. Being certain of identity is of paramount importance.

USE CASE:

Monetary transactions require considerable trust. Banking institutes are always at risk when providing online services, yet they are also tasked with creating a more seamless customer experience. One of Acquire’s clients, a banking institute, relied on identity cobrowsing to ensure safe and smooth financial transactions.

Through this system - the user logs in via a secure process and places their inquiry over a live chat - the cobrowse engine immediately recognizes the profile, showing it on the agent's dashboard. The agent can then actively engage with users over a cobrowse session from this dashboard.

Agents can go through the entire banking process without requiring any effort from the customer.

  • No connection hiccups. Instantly connect with your service agent by simply browsing your website or mobile app.
  • Break down barriers to context through knowledge of the user’s requirements.
  • Give visual instructions by circling around a button to show customers where to click, see where they are stuck or type in and take action on their behalf.
  • Cross-platform compatibility ensures a successful software stack.

Cobrowse for phone support

Integrating cobrowsing with your call center or contact center solution makes phone support that much more interactive.

The cobrowse session over the phone can be initiated by entering a 4-digit pin number generated by a customer request.

Customers can raise issues, ask agents to fill out forms or troubleshoot issues whilst on the phone.

USE CASE:

Prospective students of an educational institute that uses Acquire connected with staff via phone or chat, with a counselor guiding them through different packages involving courses and study material. However, creating a real bond with prospective students was tricky due to the lack of visual interactions.

With cobrowsing, counselors connected with them in an instant, seamlessly navigating through pages to illustrate packages and help them make informed decisions.

Cobrowsing for support

Without the need for a constant back and forth, cobrowsing dramatically improves first-time contact resolution. Agent and customers are on the same page from the start, resolving issues in real-time together.

The number of callbacks and email inquiries drops when issues are resolved within cobrowsing sessions.

USE CASE:

Providing technical support is much easier. Cobrowsing allows integration with other tools and platforms, making troubleshooting a walk in the park. The agent can get involved in integration issues, conducting live discussions, and sharing code in real-time. Customers insert the code in a particular field and the agent can see if the tool is working properly, even across a third-party platform.

Support can even be extended beyond the office through remote access.

Benefits of remote support with cobrowsing and video chat include:

Support through video chat – Provide step-by-step assistance to resolve customer inquiries.
Lessen customer efforts – Let the customer sit back and watch the resolution unfold, drastically improving customer satisfaction.
Increase agent efficiency – Easily identify a customer’s problem, deliver resolutions with the very first interaction, and improve sales conversions.

Top cobrowsing features to look out for

Although cobrowsing software is evaluated on various metrics, some core features to look out for are:

  • Integration – Easy integration with third-party platforms.
  • Ease of accessibility – Easily accessible over the web and mobile platforms.
  • One-click connection – Quick and simple initiation of a cobrowse session.
  • Omnichannel experience – Works well with other solutions like live chat, video and voice chat. 
  • Security – Data transmitted through a cobrowse session is safe and secure. 
  • Data masking – Sensitive information is shielded within HTML elements or form fields.
  • Behavior analysis – Proactively reach out to visitors based on behavioral cues.
  • Customer onboarding – Easy product adoption through interactive real-time demos and solutions.

How to measure cobrowsing success

Cobrowsing solutions aren't cheap, so it’s important to understand the positive benefits of cobrowsing on your business. Define parameters to evaluate performance and make sure you are getting value through improving customer satisfaction.

These could be:

  • Sessions conducted: How many cobrowse sessions does your agent need to conduct to resolve a particular issue? Define SLAs for severe issues and measure how effective the problem is getting solved. 
  • Number of URLs navigated: How many pages does an agent navigate through to resolve an issue? Use the number of URLs navigated to gauge whether your support team needs further training.
  • Customer satisfaction: Are you really being helpful to your customers? How much effort does a customer have to put in before their issue is resolved?

Want to learn more about cobrowsing? Get in touch with the support team via live chat or get up to speed on Acquire Cobrowsing here.

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