9 Questions You Might Be Afraid to Ask about Cobrowsing

Patsy Nearkhou
March 29, 2021
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Patsy Nearkhou

It’s widely agreed that contact centres nowadays need to up their game to meet increasingly high demands set for them by their customers.

We are living in a world of high technology and instant gratification. It seems just about everything is becoming more digitised- we binge watch TV series on Netflix, we hit online comparison websites rather than trudging from one location to the next, we even order our food shopping online. As well as this, the way we communicate with friends and family is changing- by using social media and messenger apps like WhatsApp, contact is instant, and responses are immediate. It should come as no major surprise then that customers are increasingly expecting digitised contact channels from companies they buy from too. (They also expect a great customer experience to go with it).

Some companies are already jumping on this opportunity by implementing web chat features on their website. Web chat allows customers to speak directly with a company’s agent via a chat box on their website. This is a great place to start- web chat has been proven to increase customer satisfaction and is a good way of reducing contact centre wait times.

There are, however, some companies who are wanting to go one step further and implement cobrowsing features. Cobrowsing takes the customer experience to a whole new level, particularly for consumers who are looking to purchase higher ticket items or make more complex purchases, such as high-end retail, cars or booking a holiday. By using cobrowsing, the agent is able to see what the customer is seeing on their website, in turn allowing the agent to better understand and solve problems, and advise on complex products to assist the buyer in making the right choice for them. What this helps to achieve is a more interactive, virtual ‘in-store’ experience for the buyer. This offers a fantastic customer experience and ultimately, leads to increased website conversions.

This is all sounds great… a little too great. Is this too good to be true?

You might be considering integrating cobrowsing for your website, but as with any new technology there are questions which needs answering. As cobrowsing becomes more commonplace on websites we interact with frequently, it’s important that we understand how it works, and debunk any scary thoughts you might have. If you’re feeling a bit unsure about cobrowsing, regardless of what perspective you’re looking at it from, hopefully this will set your mind at ease.

I’ve separated out the questions into two categories: customer questions and company questions.

Let’s start with the customer perspective questions.

1. How private is cobrowsing?

Consumers are constantly warned to be wary of the threats of cybercrime- and rightly so, so it’s important first and foremost to understand cobrowsing’s privacy.

No plug-ins or downloads required for cobrowsing, everything works within the browser. The agent can’t see any other tabs you have open, or your desktop. It’s also important to mention that if you want to stop cobrowsing, you can end the session with the click of a button at any time. If you do decide you’d like to experience cobrowsing alongside a voice or video chat, you must give explicit permission to access camera or microphone and access is only granted for that session. Equally, you can easily experience a great cobrowsing session alongside web chat. Or, if you prefer, you can have a one-sided video call where you can see the agent, but they can’t see you. The customer has full control.

2. What can the agents see on my screen? I don’t want them seeing everything!

During a cobrowsing session, the agent can only see the webpage the customer is on, and can’t see any other tabs you might have open. From the agent’s side, they only have access to webpages within that website, so this means that even if you were to flick from tab to tab, or open up a document outside of that specific webpage, the agent’s screen will instantly freeze on the agreed upon cobrowsing page and they won’t see anything else.

A common use of cobrowsing is to assist customers in filling out complex online forms. In most cases, there is a section on an online form which requires sensitive information to be filled out, and consumers of course do not want this to be visible. On the agent’s side, any sensitive information fields are completely blacked out- they cannot see anything. On the customer’s screen, a little box pops up over these fields to inform you that the agent cannot see the contents of this field, so you are always aware of what can and cannot be seen.

3. Do I need to start a voice or video session first?

The short answer to this is no. It’s completely up to you- but you do need to be able to communicate with the agent somehow for the cobrowsing session to work! If you like, you can keep this to a live web chat session, but if you are comfortable to do so a voice or video call makes the cobrowsing session easier. You can also cobrowse with a normal phonecall too, (i.e. not one that’s gone directly through the website). Speaking over the phone in any case is great for cobrowsing because the flow of conversation is more seamless and increases the virtual ‘in store’ experience. After all, for most people it’s easier and less time consuming to verbally talk to someone about product features, for example, than it is to type.

4. What can the agent actually do on my screen?

It’s important to remember that during a cobrowsing session, the customer has control over the movements on the screen. In the large majority of cases, the agent will verbally guide the customer through the website and talk them through any navigation they need to do. In order to provide the best experience for the customer, sometimes the agent might use a highlight/pen feature to draw an arrow or circle something on the screen, to make it more visible to the customer. We’ve all experienced someone trying to tell us where something is and just not being able to see it! This makes life easier for everyone.

In some cases, the agent can fill out parts of forms (but not sensitive fields) to make the customer’s life a bit easier too and if given explicit permission, the agent can take control of the session and navigate through the website in order to give the customer the best experience.

It’s also worth noting that if the customer is on navigating through a login site (or they are browsing the pages of a membership site which they are logged into), the cobrowsing session will work.

So that's the customer perspective questions answered...

Now we have addressed some important customer questions, it’s time to move onto the businesses who will be implementing cobrowsing features onto their website and answer some company perspective questions.

5. What’s the difference between cobrowsing and screensharing?

The answer to this question could possibly be a blog post in its own right (maybe one day it will be). For the sake of clarity and not making this post tooooooo long, I’ll stick to the salient points. The first key difference is that cobrowsing offers a much more interactive experience for both the agent and the customer. Rather than just watching someone else guide through the website (which can be dull for the customer and tedious for the agent), cobrowsing means the customer and agent can share the navigation and actually assist in completing tasks for the customer if needs be. The clue is in the name: cobrowsing- it’s exactly that. It’s a collaborative tool for building a better rapport with the customer so not only is their query is resolved quicker, their customer experience is improved at the same time too.

The other big difference is that you can map your customer’s journey. Each customer’s journey through your website can be tracked by cobrowsing analytics, so you can see exactly where on the website customers are potentially getting confused or put off. The majority of customer’s conduct their research on products on company websites, so this is a huge plus to help you understand where you might be losing out on customers and gives you the opportunity to rectify it later. For example, if there is a section on your website which gets an anomalous number of customer queries, this could indicate that the content on that page is unclear, or that it doesn’t provide the right answers.

6. Isn’t cobrowsing a huge waste of time for our agents?

It’s easy to see why some directors are slightly worried about what effect cobrowsing might have on the productivity of their contact agents, if they’ve never heard of it before. If they’re spending all their time guiding customers through websites, doesn’t this mean they’re handling fewer queries, or closing fewer leads? The reality is quite the contrary.

A key thing to remember here is that not every customer will need their live web chat, web or video call escalated to a cobrowsing session- and those customers who are happy to enter into a cobrowsing session with an agent are likely to be serious about their enquiry to your company and keen to learn more about your product or service. What does that mean? These people are probably your future customers, so it’s worth taking them seriously. If your company’s agents can dedicate time to advise the customer to make the right purchase, or to complete a task efficiently, they are more likely to use your services again.

Remember too that agents should be trained before they are able to start offering cobrowsing sessions, so that they can assist with customers queries as efficiently as possible. Great for the customer, and great for the company.

7. Where’s the ROI?

Here it is – I knew we’d get to a question about bottom line at some point!

Hopefully by now, where the ROI is coming from should be obvious, but just in case it isn’t I’ll give you the low down now. Due to the fact that cobrowsing offers such precise and dedicated help to customers, it’s clearly just as much of a sales tool as it is a customer service tool. Being able to improve the customer experience and build rapport with customers in the same way you might do in a physical store, helps to build credibility in your brand and services. As well as this, a cobrowsing session which ends with a customer making a decision on a purchase decreases shopping cart abandonment rates.

Both of these lead to more website conversions, higher average order value and ultimately more revenue for your company.

8. Is cobrowsing difficult or expensive to implement?

In terms of physically getting cobrowsing integrated into your existing website, this can be done with a few simple lines of code. Cobrowsing is an escalated feature of web chat, so you’d start off by having a web chat box put into your website, which can be completely customised in terms of position, colour, logo and more. Voice and video calls can also be synced directly with your existing contact centre phone lines and by using the camera integrated into your office computers or webcam. If you wanted to, of course you could integrate swanky new cameras and microphones.

Due to the fact you’re using your existing systems to embed the cobrowsing feature, there’s no real expense outside of the license fees for the integration. The only other thing to consider is that staff need proper training on how to use the feature to its best potential, so you might need to factor in some training time for your agents ahead of the launch on your website.

9. Is cobrowsing compliant?

Numerous industries have to adhere to strict compliance regulations, such as the financial services and travel industries. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that customer data is protected. No sensitive data goes through the Talkative cobrowsing server, which means that it doesn’t interfere with any of your existing compliance systems. In terms of voice and video calls, these are end to end encrypted which adds another layer of security. If a company wants all data which runs through the system on webchat, voice and video calls to be recorded, this can be done using desktop compliance software.

Feeling better?

Hopefully this has set your mind at ease if you had any questions hanging over your head about cobrowsing. If you still need some convincing, check out our infographic below which outlines the top 5 benefits of cobrowsing for your business. Cobrowsing is a fantastic addition to your website, so if you want to learn more about how it can help your customers and boost your website conversions, head over to Talkative to have a chat with us.

Benefits of cobrowsing infographic

Patsy Nearkhou
Patsy Nearkhou
Marketing Manager
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