What Is Co-browsing: The Screen Sharing Solution for Non-tech-savvy Users

What Is Co-browsing: The Screen Sharing Solution for Non-tech-savvy Users

Valeriya Yordanova

Aug 24, 2023 • 5 min read

What Is Co-browsing: The Screen Sharing Solution for Non-tech-savvy Users

Whether a growing startup or a well-established enterprise, providing customer support to a non-tech-savvy user is maybe one of the most difficult (and let’s be frank — annoying) things about working in the tech space. In this article, we’ll explore what is co-browsing and how it can help customer service agents keep their sanity intact in such situations…

When a user reaches out and is unable to clearly articulate their issue, the best thing the agent can do is to keep asking questions until they figure out the customer issue. Depending on the complexity of the problem and the product, the clarifying questions can range from only a couple to a dozen. Rare are the cases when the user is able to answer the questions right away – often the agent needs to go into detailed explanations about where the user can locate the information needed which makes the process tedious and time-consuming for both parties. And problem identification is only the beginning of the support journey…

The Customer Service Dilemma

Customer interactions don’t need to be complicated – and yet, they often are, even when we’re talking about billion-dollar enterprises with large contact centers. With the right technology companies can enable support agents to assist users instantly, removing the unnecessary back-and-forth, and improving organizational efficiency.

  • Users don’t waste time, or feel frustrated or incompetent for their inability to explain their problem.
  • Support agents can be more productive by assisting more users in less time (and keeping their sanity intact).

The technology that enables this is called co-browsing.

What is co-browsing?

Co-browsing definition and uses

Co-browsing software lets support teams view and interact with their users’ web browser tab with just a click of a button. Once the user grants the support agent access to view their screen, the agent can immediately spot the issue and then guide the user – or take control over their screen, to resolve it. Co-browsing can be used alongside a phone call, a chat session, an e-mail, or a messenger conversation thus providing fast and personal support in real time across different support channels.

How does co-browsing work?

It all begins with a technology called session recording – as the name suggests, it is used to capture a session and then reproduce it. What the name doesn’t suggest is that, unlike screen sharing, session recording doesn’t actually record and stream a video. It records the entire user journey in terms of events: mouse movements and clicks, events and errors, static and dynamic resources…

Unlike other visual engagement solutions, with co-browsing the support team can start a co-browsing session immediately.

No downloads. No installations. No friction.

All it takes is just a click of a button, and voila – your team can view the website visitor’s screen and start helping them right away. Typically, a co-browsing solution is directly integrated into your web app/website using a small JavaScript snippet (this is a one-time operation).

Co-browsing
An instance of co-browsing by SessionStack

The use of a co-browser requires no technical know-how from the users’ side and can be launched during any phase of the customer journey. All that users have to do is grant screen access to the support agent and follow their guidance to resolve the problem. With co-browsing, companies not only save users’ time but also protect their computers from potential malware problems and threats that are often posed by screen sharing and remote desktop solutions.

Show, don’t tell.

Wouldn’t getting to the bottom of the user’s issue be a breeze with a little bit of context?

With the help of co-browsing, support agents can now immediately gain access to the user’s screen and see exactly what went wrong. The agent no longer needs to request screenshots or ask the user what they did prior to the issue (as if they’d remember) — where they’ve clicked, what data they’ve entered, etc., saving time in an unnecessary and frustrating back-and-forth.

Once the problem and its context are identified, the support agent needs to provide detailed steps on how to solve the problem. When dealing with non-technical users, it happens that the support agent needs to explain something 10 times in 5 different ways until the user understands exactly what they have to do. In those cases having patient and articulate agents is key.

Yet, all of that can be avoided. With co-browsing, the support agent can immediately navigate the users to solve their issues without lengthy step-by-step explanations. They can highlight where the user needs to click or even take full control if the user grants permission — click, scroll, fill out forms…

A co-browsing session also gives agents access to everything that happened under the hood of the user’s browser. Valuable technical information such as device and account info is at their disposal so no unnecessary questions are asked.

The support agent can use tools to guide the customer. Agents can click, scroll, write, or draw on the customer’s screen. In the photo, you see SessionStack’s co-browsing solution.

See it in action:

Is co-browsing safe?

All users demand fast and personal support and at the same time are making continuous efforts to stay anonymous and protected online. Unlike solutions like screen sharing, co-browsing gives access only to the current session of the user. The agent can’t access or see anything else outside the web page (application) where the co-browsing solution is integrated. Desktop, tabs, or any documents and files cannot be viewed.

In addition, co-browsing masks (hides) sensitive information to protect the users’ privacy. For example, when they enter their credit card details, the co-browsing solution will not transmit that information to the agent.

Some co-browsing tools allow for role-based permissions, have incorporated SAML/SSO integrations, and can be deployed on-premises. Co-browsing is also of great help in organizations that are required to follow certain guidelines and regulations (like HIPAA or PCI).

Sensitive information is hidden from the agent. In the photo, you see SessionStack’s co-browsing solution.

To sum it up…

Whenever a non-tech-savvy user reaches out with a problem, what they are looking for is a convenient and simple solution. The very last thing they want to feel is incompetent. While a well-trained support team should always understand their user base and how to maintain a high customer satisfaction score, companies should always be on the lookout for solutions to facilitate the conversation and offer smooth customer experiences. This is what turns user interactions into customer engagement.

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