Co-Browsing Gains as a Service Tool
Co-browsing, the ability for consumers to share their computer screens and systems with company representatives, was already on an upswing in the past year or so, but it has seen interest explode as a result of the need for social distancing and contactless service amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies not offering this type of service stand to lose a significant portion of their customer bases, particularly as customers shift to digital commerce and shun in-person interactions.
“The trend lately is that customers are walking away from the phone line,” said Matthias Singer-Fischer, managing director of Level 4 Marketing, a German company that specializes in managing websites for the automotive industry.
“Customers and companies love [co-browsing] and use it,” Singer-Fischer says, noting that customers who engage with dealerships through video are twice as likely to come in for a test drive as those who engage in basic text chats. If the customer and dealer engage in co-browsing, that figure doubles again, he says.
Other studies support Singer-Fischer’s findings.
Comm100 in its 2019 Live Chat Benchmark Report found that interactions that include co-browsing result in customer satisfaction rates that are more than six points higher than the average, at 89.3 percent.
Another study, from LogMeIn and Forrester Research, found that companies are increasingly turning to visual engagement technology—video, co-browsing, screen sharing, and annotations—to provide more effortless customer experiences. Visual engagement tools help provide more seamless customer experiences by allowing agents to see what the customer sees in real time to reduce customer effort, the report concludes.
Forrester and LogMeIn concluded that 89 percent of companies are likely to invest or increase investments in visual engagement technology in the next 12 months. The expected returns on this investment are improved customer trust (56 percent), customer experience (52 percent) and customer satisfaction (56 percent), the two firms reported.
Co-browsing allows customer service representatives to navigate web pages together with customers. The two can literally be on the same page, with the agent there to remotely guide the customer as if she were sitting next to him.
Co-browsing has numerous other benefits over similar engagement products, such as screen sharing, meeting, and collaboration solutions, according to Anand Rajaram, head of product for support solutions at LogMeIn.
Screen sharing and meeting apps like LogMeIn’s Go to Meeting, Cisco’s WebEx, Zoom Video Communications, and Microsoft Teams all require users to download software. Co-browsing requires no downloads or installation; all that is needed is an Internet browser.
Other applications also tend to take up a lot more computer processing power and Internet bandwidth, which can cause the video portions to lag or fail altogether.
“An ethos for us at LogMeIn is helping brands redefine how they engage with their customers, and a critical part of that is visual engagement. While traditional tools, like phone and email, are still effective [customer experience] methods, investing in less conventional approaches like co-browsing can help brands elevate their service and support to meet customer expectations,” Rajaram says.
LogMeIn launched Rescue Live Guide, which provides instant and secure co-browsing capabilities for guided, personalized support, in May. This followed its April release of Rescue Live Lens, a video-based, interactive tech support solution that uses mobile device cameras to help technicians see, diagnose, and resolve equipment issues remotely.
Rajaram points out that solutions like these allow businesses to deliver “personalized, shoulder-to-shoulder support so they can resolve customer issues faster and with the white-glove service that can help set them apart from other brands.”
That type of support is also a priority for Vee24, a company whose customer engagement products include chat, phone, video, and co-browsing. Priya Iyer, its chairperson and CEO, notes that some customers, particularly when dealing with more complex products, require more of a helping hand to purchase, set up, or repair products on their own.
“Co-browsing and screen sharing allow your agent to digitally hold the customer’s hand through a buying or service journey,” she explains.
Matt Pyke, senior director of product strategy for digital engagement solutions at Verint Systems, agrees.
Co-browsing technology can allow the right people to be brought in at the right point in the experience to lend a hand. This can also bring a personal, almost concierge-type element to digital channels, ensuring that self-service isn’t relegated to simply a lower-cost channel, according to Pyke, whose company includes Verint Advanced Co-Browse in its customer engagement solutions portfolio.
Co-browsing has already proven to be a high-performing customer service channel. In fact, companies implementing co-browsing have seen higher first-call resolution rates, lower resolution times, higher revenue, higher average profit margins per customer, higher customer satisfaction rates, and improvements in average costs per customer interaction.
But it wasn’t always like that. Though co-browsing capabilities have been around for years, customer concerns about data and system security prevented it from really taking off. Those issues have largely been addressed today, according to many experts.
The key difference between desktop and screen sharing and co-browsing is access. With screen sharing, the company employee can have complete control over the consumer’s computer or mobile device, including settings, files, and applications. Co-browsing, on the other hand, is limited to webpages and only the webpages that the customer allows. This restriction means that agents see only what customers want them to see.