What is cobrowsing?

Posted on May 29, 2017

CobrowsingVisual engagement platforms are tools that allow one party (often a customer service agent) to remotely guide another party (often a customer) through an online process as though they are in the same room. A variety of technological advancements paved the way for these new tools to enhance the customer experience.

Agents can share their screen, view a customer’s screen, collaborate with the customer, chat via video or voice, and record all interactions. Customers have the opportunity to first interact with a bot or opt to engage with an agent. Later they can replay recorded videos, allowing them to solve problems on their own.

Chat and phone are key elements, and often entry points, in a well-rounded customer experience. However, they have inherent limitations. Without being able to share what they are viewing, customers can spend the entire interaction simply answering basic questions that may never need to be asked, such as, “Are you on the website?” or, “Where did you click?”.

With visual engagement platforms, remote customer engagements can have the same efficiency as sitting in the same room viewing the same screen. Core to an effective visual engagement platform is a cobrowsing solution.

What is Cobrowsing?

Cobrowsing, or collaborative browsing, in short, is the joint navigation, most often of the World Wide Web, by two or more people. As business becomes more digital, collaborative tools for project management, communications, documentation, and more have become imperative for online interaction between team members and customers. The growing suite of collaborative software has simplified communication allowing for real-time, remote, and efficient conversations that mimic traditional in-person interaction. Cobrowsing is no exception.

Cobrowsing allows a group of people to engage in synchronized activities, where one participant’s actions show on the screens of all other participants. As a result, a representative can provide live, personalized guidance through any number of complex actions.

Early cobrowsing solutions showed great promise but not widely adopted for a variety of reasons, including download requirements, security concerns, and time lags. As technology has evolved, so too have cobrowsing solutions. With a renewed focus on security and user experience, new solutions have solved many of these early challenges.

No-download

Traiditonal cobrowsing tools required one or all participants to download new software raising security flags for many users. It also prevented quick and elegant escalation to a cobrowsing session, because one or more participants had to wait for other participants to download and install the new software.

Today’s solutions create collaboration using web page fitted scripts and other code. This change allows participants on the web to log in together and interact without having to download additional software. Security concerns related to downloading new, foreign software are solved. Furthermore, when a cobrowsing session is launched, there will be no delay in waiting for a download to install.

Security

All browsers work from the Document Object Model (DOM). Every change on a screen causes a change in the DOM. Therefore, to display the host’s screen on a guest’s device, traditional cobrowse and screen sharing solutions shipped the host’s DOM to the guest. In addition to visual changes on the screen, the DOM also contains potentially sensitive information.  Shipping that information from one device to another, subjects it to the opportunity to be hacked and data to be stolen by bad actors.

New, patented cobrowsing solutions have solved this problem. As opposed to shipping the DOM from the host’s device, the DOM is used to create an image. The image is then sent to the guest’s device. With every DOM mutation, a new image is created and shipped to the guest. This process prevents all sensitive information from being shipped and eliminates the risk.

Furthermore, as opposed to a traditional screen sharing, where all information on the host’s device is shared with the guest, new cobrowsing solutions allow private information (social security numbers, health information, etc.) to be hidden from the guest and never included in the image process. This information never leaves the host’s device.

Time

When engaging with your customers, vendors, or co-workers, there is no more valuable asset than time. In addition to time to download, early stage cobrowsing solutions caused a significant delay between when a change was made on the host’s screen and when guests then saw that change. As you can imagine, while a conversation was happening in real-time, this delay could cause significant confusion and challenges for participants.

As technology has evolved, this issue has also been diminished. New solutions have been able to speed up that transition dramatically and have resulted in minimal delays between a change on the host’s device and that change being reflected on the guest’s screen.

When working with customers, it is all about their experience. Cobrowsing has gone through a significant evolution in recent years and now serves as the basis for leading visual engagement platforms that will revolutionize the customer experience.

Today's Customers Want More

 

This entry was posted in Cobrowsing, screensharing, today's customers, customer engagement

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