Cobrowsing Presents a 'Lucrative' Customer Service Opportunity
Companies can increase revenue and improve agent efficiency.
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Cobrowsing, which enables a contact center agent to access a caller's computer and Web browser, can have a positive impact on customer service, contact center efficiencies, and revenue, according to research from Aberdeen Group.

The research, presented in the firm's "Cobrowsing in Customer Service: The Path to Just-in-Time Customer Engagement" report, shows that for companies that use cobrowsing, average revenue per call grew by 3 percent and annual revenue grew by 16.8 percent. For companies that did not use cobrowsing, revenue per call dropped by 1.5 percent and annual revenue only grew 9.7 percent.

Additionally, the number of positive mentions on social media and the amount of revenue from customer referrals were roughly four times higher for companies that use cobrowsing than for those that do not. The customer win-back rate was eight times higher.

Much of the added revenue results from greater upsell and cross-sell opportunities, according to Omer Minkara, senior analyst for contact center and customer experience management at Aberdeen and author of the report.

This live help contributes to the bottom line in other ways as well, Minkara says. "It reduces costs because agents can be more productive," he states.

The research found, for example, that cobrowsing can reduce call handling times and increase agent utilization by 4.7 percent, improve first contact resolution rates, and increase customer satisfaction scores. "It reduces the customers' effort when they have rather sophisticated issues. Issue resolution is much faster, which leads to happier customers," Minkara explains.

LiveLook, a provider of cobrowsing technologies, reports that some companies have shaved as much as 80 percent off their call handling time by offering cobrowsing to customers at the start of a call. "The agent can get to the heart of the issue and fix it rather than trying to talk the customer through it," says Michelle Brusyo, director of marketing at LiveLook.

Cobrowsing was also shown in Aberdeen's research to have other positive effects on the customer experience: Companies that use it are 70 percent more likely to use skills-based routing to match the caller with the right agent, nearly 2.2 times more likely to provide centralized knowledge base of product and service information, and 65 percent more likely to regularly train agents for diagnosis, resolution, and escalation of problems than their peers that do not use cobrowsing. Companies using cobrowsing were also 50 percent more likely to use tailored reports to track and measure the results of customer efforts and 54 percent more likely to capture customer feedback data.

Cobrowsing is fairly simple, according to Minkara. All it takes to begin the journey is basic screen sharing and click-to-call or click-to-chat functionality, which he says are already offered in most contact center infrastructure technologies today.

It's important to note, though, that while screen sharing is a part of the capabilities related to cobrowsing, it only allows one party to command control of the application; cobrowsing gives that control to both parties.

"Cobrowsing works easily with the voice or chat channels. Any company can interact this way by embedding a widget or line of code," Brusyo says. "There's not a lot of IT investment needed. It's really a very low-risk, low-touch deployment."

There are also not a lot of costs associated with it. LiveLook, for example, charges its customers around $500 per agent, per year. "It's a relatively low-cost solution to put into place," Brusyo states. "That's why cobrowsing is so lucrative." In addition to accessing desktop and laptop computers, cobrowsing technology should be optimized for mobile devices as well and have security protocols built in to limit the agent's access to only those screens and applications needed to resolve the issue at hand," Minkara suggests.

Agents will need to be trained to cobrowse, however. "They need to be able to navigate the systems and guide customers through them," Minkara says. "And then the company should establish a knowledge base for the agents to find solutions to the problems easily."

As a last bit of advice, Minkara suggests making cobrowsing part of a larger omnichannel customer service approach that will, for example, allow the company to see when and if a customer has called in with similar problems before."The company can then be confident that the issue is resolved so repeat calls are reduced," Brusyo adds.

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