Co-browsing is short for 'collaborating browsing' - simultaneously navigating the same web page with your customer. We all know the frustration of having to try to explain in words where to click on a web page, or how to fill out a form correctly… Not efficient, not very engaging, not helpful - even if you’re screen sharing.
There’s a much easier way to interact with customers on a screen: co-browsing. It allows you and your customer to navigate the same web page together, at the same time! Learn what co-browsing is and how to use it for remote customer contact in this blog.
What is co-browsing?
Co-browsing stands for 'collaborative browsing’, meaning when two people navigate the same web page - at the same time.
That way both participants in a co-browsing session can see what the other person is doing on screen. And they can show how they’re navigating the web page themselves, by typing, navigating, moving the mouse and drawing on the shared web page.
For remote contact with customers, co-browsing allows your agents to securely browse a website together with a customer. On a MessageBird video call, agents browse the same web page together with a customer real-time during the video call. The great thing is, it all works over the internet - no-one has to download and install any software to co-browse.
In short, co-browsing helps you to make talking to your advisors via a video call even more personal and interactive for your customers.
What's the difference with screen sharing?
The number 1 difference between co-browsing and screen sharing, is that co-browsing is interactive - or ‘collaborative’. It’s no one-way traffic but instead allows both your agent and the customer joining in a video call to actively browse together.
And on top of being collaborative, co-browsing is simultaneous or synchronous. Screen sharing, on the other hand, is always asynchronous: only one person at a time can share their screen. For example, only after the customer is done screen sharing can an agent take over to show what they’re looking at on their screen.
Also, co-browsing has more strictly demarcated access. Where a co-browse session only gives access to simultaneous browsing on a specific web page, screen sharing allows the viewer to see the sharer’s entire tab, browser or application.
How does co-browsing work?
Co-browsing is easy to use. For most Customer Interaction solutions, it works with just a click on a button or an invitation link, then followed by a check for either the agent or the customer to authorize the co-browse session.
You can easily start co-browsing while on a video call with a customer. In MessageBird Video, there are 2 ways to prompt a session:
You can co-browse during a video call, by sending the customer an invitation link to co-navigate a specific, pre-selected web page together.
Or agents can start co-browsing ad hoc, by way of escalation. When a customer is already navigating a web page himself, the agent initiates a co-browsing session from that page. The client is then prompted by a pop-up message to accept the co-browsing session.
Both the customer and the agent can end a co-browsing session any time during the video call.
The cool thing? Your client doesn't necessarily need to be on a MessageBird Video call already. This means you can also use co-browsing for your Contact Center, for example, as an upgrade from a chat conversation or phone call that you’re already in with a customer. As soon as the customer accepts, he starts navigating the same web page as the agent, in real-time.
How is that different from Teams or Zoom's solution?
You can share you screen, but Zoom and Microsoft Teams don’t offer the option to co-browse by default. It is only available by adding an extension by a third-party co-browsing provider (Zoom has a solution for requesting 'Remote control' over another user’s desktop, but this is a one-way control - without interaction).
That’s because solutions like Zoom or Teams are not optimised for video calling with customers. The benefit of using technology for Customer Engagement is that it’s always secure for your customers and doesn’t require anyone to download any software.
Is co-browsing secure? What about privacy?
Yes, cobrowsing with customers is secure. If you want to co-browse in a customer interaction setting, the technology for Customer Engagement that you use should have several security mechanisms in place.
Co-browsing with MessageBird Video is entirely secure. It protects your customer's privacy. A cobrowse session can only be activated with the client’s permission: when an agent would like to start co-browsing, customers always receive a pop-up message to give access. They are then asked to enter a passcode before the co-browsing session can start.
And for privacy reasons, sensitive customer information can be hidden from agents to see. You can choose to add custom mask fields to ‘my environment’ or personal login pages on your website, so the agent won’t be able to view a client’s credit card number or balance, for example.
Agents cannot take over control of the customer’s computer. When they co-browse, this only allows them to see, click or draw on a client’s screen when navigating pre-selected web pages (with a special code installed). Both the agent and the customer can choose to end a co-browsing session at any moment.
Ways to use co-browsing for interacting with customers
These are some already validated examples of how to use co-browsing to make remote contact with your customers more interactive.
Offer live support to help customers navigate your website and show them where to find helpful information.
Filling out forms with customers
Fill out forms and applications together with your customer, guiding them through the process in real-time. For example, you can help clients fill out an insurance claim, or review it together after it has been filed.
And if you add co-browsing to video banking, you can assist customers with their online mortgage application, for example.
Give two-way interactive sales demos, more engaging for your prospects.
And when customers are logged in to their personal client portal while talking to a financial advisor about a new mortgage, loan or insurance product, co-browsing can help to show them how to make calculations or how to use other resources in the client portal.
Feedback on the User Experience
While observing how customers navigate through a web page, your agents can use co-browsing as an opportunity to review its usability and UX (user experience) real-time. That way you can keep improving your app or website pages' user experience.
Benefits of co-browsing
To sum it all up, the biggest benefit of co-browsing is: ‘Show, don’t tell’. You no longer have to ‘tell’ your customers, but you can actively show and even guide them through a page on your website or client portal - while you’re talking to them.
Co-browsing is the best solution to mimic an in-person conversation with a customer, yet still remotely and conveniently.
Benefits for your customers
Agents and advisors securely co-navigate a web page with customers. They can point, annotate and click the co-browsed screen (but only with the client’s permission, of course).
Your clients get an extra interactive service. Plus, co-browsing is super easy to use and secure.
Benefits for agents
Allow your agents to provide an even more personalized video call experience
Help customers faster: agents can answer questions as soon as they arise, by showing customers the answer on the website or in the client portal
Avoid misunderstandings & improve customer satisfaction.You can guide clients through complex information, forms, processes or documents together in real-time
Gain efficiency in customer service workflows. Showing and doing helps customers to discover information for themselves. Which in turn increases the number of tickets solved, and decrease the amount of ticket re-opens.
Improve conversion rates. By explaining your products with an even more visual & interactive experience during sales demos
Keep improving the User Experience for customers. Thanks to the live customer feedback you're receiving during co-browsing sessions.