What is cobrowsing and how does it work?

What is cobrowsing?

Cobrowsing software allows people to collaboratively 'browse' a website or app together in real time.

Cobrowsing is most commonly used in customer service scenarios. Also known as co-browsing or collaborative browsing, a typical cobrowsing use case is to enable one person (a contact centre agent) to join a user (a website visitor or customer) on an existing website session to see, understand and solve problems.

How does cobrowsing work?

Cobrowsing sends the agent an accurate visual representation of the customer's view of the website. Any changes that occur are updated on both the client and agent views in real time. The agent can assist the customer, by securely co-navigating the website. The agent can also annotate the customer's view of the website, help to fill out forms, and even overlay documents.

How does cobrowsing benefit customers?

Cobrowsing benefits customers who are stuck, confused or frustrated with an online process. Having a human be able to remotely help you is a great customer experience. We can all relate to the frustration of having to try and explain to agents over the phone what we are seeing on a website.

How does cobrowsing benefit businesses?

It has been proven by independent research bodies that cobrowsing tools directly improve order values and reduce call times. Cobrowsing is an intuitive tool for agents to use, as it allows agents a completely accurate view of the customer's website session, and so allows fast resolution times. Being able to physically guide customers towards specific pages and products also helps improve average order values and enable upselling opportunities in sales orientated contact centres.

What sort of companies will cobrowsing most help?

Cobrowsing is fundamentally a high touch customer service tool. It essentially brings a human level of customer assistance to a website process. Cobrowsing is a versatile tool, but the most common use cases are:

  • Upselling: Being able to annotate the screen, guide the customer around the screen, and even push documents, combine to make cobrowsing a truly effective sales tool. Suitable companies include travel agencies, high end retailers, and online financial services.
  • Reducing call times: Companies with high call traffic can use cobrowsing to reduce call times. If customers are getting stuck in web processes, it can directly save the agent's time by allowing them to manually assist the customer. Suitable companies include banks, utility providers, comparison websites.
  • High touch customer service: While nothing beats face-to-face contact, cobrowsing can reduce the need for travel, by providing VIP customers with a hand-held digital service. Suitable companies include mortgage advisory firms and financial advisors.

What are the main benefits of Cobrowsing?

There a wide range of benefits to offering cobrowsing as part of your customer communications mix. In the embedded video, we talk you through 5 of the key benefits that you are likely to find:

Is cobrowsing secure?

Yes. Cobrowsing does not give the agent power over the customer's computer. Agents cannot see the customer's desktop, or other browser tabs. Customers are asked for permission before allowing an agent to cobrowse with them. Sensitive data can be 'obfuscated' so that personal or sensitive information does not leave the customer's browser. Agent's cannot see this sensitive information. The customer does not have to download any files. Customers can end a cobrowsing session at any time.

Does cobrowsing require plugins or downloads?

Since cobrowsing primarily uses JavaScript, a customer does not have to sign into an application or worry about downloading plugins. Many desktop sharing clients require installations, but cobrowsing can be started without even refreshing the website page. Cobrowsing will work on all modern browsers and devices, including mobile browsers.

How is cobrowsing different from screen sharing or desktop sharing?

Desktop sharing is where the entire computer is shared, not just the browser tab. Screen sharing involves the agent presenting part of the agent's desktop to the customer. Both desktop sharing and screen sharing may sound similar to cobrowsing. Cobrowsing only shares the customer's view of the website with the agent.

  • Cobrowsing: Agents can view customer browser tab. Agents cannot see customer desktop or other tabs. Customer cannot see agent screen at all.
  • Screen Sharing: Agents can display parts of their desktop to the customer. Customer cannot interact with the agent desktop.
  • Desktop Sharing: Either agent or customer can display their entire desktop to the other party. The other party can interact with the shared desktop.

Can cobrowsing be used with phone calls, or just web chat?

Cobrowsing can be used in three different ways:

  • Phone calls: The agent asks the customer to read out a PIN from the website. The agent enters the PIN into the agent console to join the session. This PIN can be hidden behind a button in the company's website by using the cobrowsing API.
  • Live web chat: The agent offers cobrowsing to the customer during a web chat session, who accepts to begin cobrowsing.
  • Web calling: The agent offers cobrowsing to the customer during a webcall, who accepts to begin cobrowsing.

How do you set up cobrowsing?

1. Select a cobrowsing vendor that matches your requirements.

2. Set success criteria for the cobrowsing use case.

3. Add the cobrowsing capability to your website. Guide >

4. Ensure all sensitive fields are masked to keep your website compliant.

5. Train your agents on how to use the cobrowsing solution.

6. Issue phone scripts to agents to explain the service to your customers.

7. Enjoy an improved digital customer journey!