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The Ultimate Guide to Co-browsing

Discover co-browsing, the secure new ‘no download’ technology replacing old school screen sharing for onboarding, sales and support. What is it? How does it work? What are the best co-browsing tools? We cover all the main questions below.

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Contents

  1. What is co-browsing?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Co-browsing vs screen sharing
  4. Who uses it?
  5. Is it secure?
  6. The best co-browsing tools
  7. Co-browsing for live chat
  8. Co-browsing for phone support
  9. Integrating co-browsing into your platform
  10. The benefits for customers
  11. The benefits for teams
  12. For the geeks. How does co-browsing technology work?

What is co-browsing?

Co-browsing is the natural next step in the evolution of screen sharing and is the ability to click once to see your customer’s browser and take control to remotely guide them through your web app.

You see their screen instantly. Without downloads.

Specifically, you see their browser instantly and see them moving around on your web app.

Below is an image of an agent seeing the user's browser and drawing on the screen to highlight where to go.

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Imagine Joe, a confused angry customer who struggles with technology, is on your website and can’t find how to change his account settings.

You click once to Joe’s browser.

You now see Joe moving his mouse around on your website looking for the settings page.

You click again to take control. Now Joe can see your mouse on the page too.

As Joe watches, you scroll to the top for him and click account and then settings for them. He carries on from there.

You do this instantly. Without downloads. That’s the power of co-browsing.

See a video of co-browsing in action on the Upscope home page.

With co-browsing you can:

  1. In one click, see their browser rather than their whole screen.
  2. You can draw a circle around a button to show them where to click next.
  3. You can click the button for them.
  4. While talking or live chatting, you can explain how your whole site works and keep them engaged by drawing a circle around where to click next so they build up comfort in using it.

As software has moved to the cloud, seeing the entire desktop has become less and less important.

See Upscope.io as an example of a co-browsing service.

Agents shouldn’t need to ask questions

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Co-browsing means you don’t need to ask questions.

  1. It gives you access to the web page they’re on and this let’s you see the customer’s problem immediately.
  2. You can not only see them moving around on your website, you can remotely move with them, click for them, highlight parts and scroll.

More importantly, it helps you both onboard and solve problems quickly

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How does co-browsing work?

Remember how old school screen sharing involves downloads….

Co-browsing involves pasting 2 lines of javascript on your website and neither the agent or the customer ever need to install anything to use it.

Because co-browsing passes your own html and css to your own agent, you’re only passing your own website data and that’s why it can be instant and you can remote control things and that’s also what makes it secure for the user.

So, really, once you’ve installed a co-browsing tool, you are good to go.

Here’s a short checklist:

  1. Choose an established co-browsing tool.
  2. Integrate co-browsing tool with your live chat and / or phone system.
  3. Offer demos, onboarding support and training sessions throughout your app.
  4. Watch your revenue and churn statistics improve as you educate more users.

Co-browsing Vs. Screensharing

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Well this one is pretty straightforward. The difference between co-browsing and screen sharing, is security, speed and actually ‘co-browsing’.

Co-browsing:

  • No downloads. Meaning no malware threats. (rejoice!)
  • See a customer’s internet browser tab. No one’s personal privacy is invaded!
  • Point, scroll and click on a customer’s screen.

Screen sharing:

  • You and your customer have to download and install screen sharing software.
  • View all of a customer’s screen. Not particularly great in terms of safety and seeing their awkward folder names and desktop pictures.
  • No interactions can be made on the customer’s screen.

Who uses co-browsing

Online businesses should use co-browsing. Many are starting to adopt it. The majority being:

Examples of how they’re using it:

  • Support staff use it to help the most confused non-technical users
  • Finance companies use it to help people complete quotes
  • Startups use it to walk people through their software
  • Technical support use it to support errors they missed

Is co-browsing secure?

A customer service agent can only access their own website on the user’s browser, nothing else.

The user does not have to expose their other open tabs, their desktop folder names, their desktop picture or anything else.

There are no downloads required.

There are additional security options within a co-browsing product like Upscope including hiding sensitive fields from support agents, enforced SSL, transmit data only while screen sharing, minimal if no client data stored on Upscope apart from meta data, full audit logs of all interactions by agents and admins.

See more on why co-browsing is considered safer than traditional screen sharing

The best co-browsing tools

Of course, you need to have a look at the best co-browsing tools for your needs. That being said, we’ve written a few to get the ball rolling!

These 3 solutions show you how varied co-browsing can be because the way you install it, the way you start a session, what it integrates with and what comes with it varies greatly.

The main 3 are:

See why they are the some of the best cobrowsing software solutions.

There are also some industry specific (retail and private banking) solutions like:

Co-browsing for live chat

Recently, there’s been so much hype about live chat integrations.

The purpose, is obviously to further help online businesses. So, it comes as no surprise that co-browsing tools integrate with live chat.

It’s never been simpler. You speak to a customer on live chat, and in seconds you can view their screen. I mean, just look at the benefits.

  • Customer service agents can deal with multiple customers at once.
  • Co-browsing tools, like Upscope, integrate with the live chat company of your choice.
  • Go from a live chat convo to seeing the problem in seconds.
  • Help your customers with onboarding, product guiding and purchasing.

How does co-browsing work with phone calls?

Co-browsing and phone calls, in some ways, is a cleaner combination than co-browsing and live chat.

People who call in might be some of the toughest non-tech customers and being able to instantly see their screen and direct them will mean a call of minutes rather than an hour.

How does it work?

When you install Upscope for example, you can use Upscope’s auto-generated 4 digit support pin and display that on your website. See the one at the bottom of the Upscope home page.

When someone calls in, ask them to read the code to you and enter that to go directly to their screen.

Read more on how co-browsing works when someone phones in

Integrating co-browsing into a platform

Live chat, CRM and VOIP companies with their own platforms are integrating co-browsing into their services directly using co-browsing APIs.

Some companies prefer an on-premise co-browsing integration which can be both for their internal use or for a platform they run for their enterprise clients. This is often if they need complete control over all data transmitted.

As account managers, customer success, customer service and sales teams spend more time using co-browsing, that engagement becomes more valuable.

A platform can white label a co-browsing solution and make it their own to boost their conversion and retention statistics.

See the key benefits of a co-browsing integration API.

The benefits for customers

  • A Human touch.. On your screen. Literally.
  • Helps non-technical customers and those in need of help.
  • Forms are filled out a lot quicker. With no risk of mistake.
  • Saves time

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The benefits for customer support teams

  • Direct customers by pointing, scrolling and clicking.
  • Go from talking to seeing in seconds.
  • Save time

See a summary of Aberdeen Group’s statistics on co-browsing benefits here including a link to the original research.

For the geeks. How does co-browsing technology work?

Traditional screen sharing is a video stream. It's data heavy and can both lag and give you with a blurry visual experience.

Many screen sharing solutions (that require a browser extension installation which uses the WebRTC standard) are not interactive. You'd typically need a full local desktop install of a software like Teamviewer to get that interactive experience. Of course, many companies are not willing to do that.

Co-browsing is instant because it involves passing the HTML from the user to the agent via a one time install of a javascript snippet. The snippet helps render the user side html inside an iframe for the agent's side.

It does not slow down your site because no data is transferred until cobrowsing is initiated.

Once co-browsing begins with a user, they're only loading the page on their own computer and sending a copy to the agents including all the minor updates made while moving and using the app.

See more on the co-browsing javascript API and the full REST API

Discover more about Upscope’s co-browsing solution at www.upscope.io →

The Ultimate Guide to Co-browsing
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