Customers and businesses need better ways of getting on the same page. And one of the best ways to do that — quite literally — is with cobrowsing.
During a cobrowsing session, two or more people can browse and interact with web content simultaneously with multi-cursor screen control. Think of it as the more advanced and interactive version of screen sharing.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at what cobrowsing is and explore all the different use cases it has.
What is cobrowsing?
Cobrowsing (which stands for collaborative browsing) refers to a video conferencing feature that allows two or more people to browse the same screen while on a call together.
Cobrowsing is most commonly used as a tool by customer service and customer support teams to make it easier to show users how to solve an issue or use a feature, though it does have uses outside of that.
But for those of us used to having complete autonomy over our own computer screens, seeing only one cursor or pointer at a time is the norm. So what does cobrowsing look like exactly?
Most people have some experience with screen sharing, which is when one participant shares their browser window so everyone else on the call can follow along with that they are doing on screen. However, none of the other participants on the call can use a cursor to navigate, click on links or interact with other elements on the screen being shared. With cobrowsing, they would be able to do just that, which means it is a much more collaborative way to get stuff done — whether that's making a presentation with a coworker or helping one of your customers use a new feature.
What can I do during a cobrowsing session?
During a cobrowsing session, you can:
- Browse a website or web app together with someone else while controlling your own cursor
- See what the other person is seeing
- Use an independent cursor to point at sections
- Use a highlighter to highlight important sections when necessary
- Draw on the screen
- Click buttons
- Submit forms
Depending on the cobrowsing vendor you choose, you can even use an API integration to integrate cobrowsing into your own platform — meaning you can initiate a call straightaway, without having to use a program like Zoom.
What can’t I do during a cobrowsing session?
Some cobrowsing solutions, including Fullview Cobrowsing, are fully GDPR compliant and ISO 27001 ready, which means you cannot do a few things in order to stay compliant. These include:
- Controlling every tab or entire systems. You’ll only have access to select tabs.
Cobrowsing vs screen sharing
Most modern cobrowsing solutions use something known as WebRTC — which stands for Web Real-Time Communication. This browser-based technology was developed to create seamless peer-to-peer communication between two browsers.
In contrast to screen sharing, cobrowsing involves streaming code rather than pixels, which is also what makes it much less data-intensive. We've covered the differences between cobrowsing and screen sharing before, so check that out for more information.
How to use cobrowsing
To start using cobrowsing, you'll first have to pick a cobrowsing solution to sign up for. We've covered a list of the best cobrowsing software for different use cases in 2023, so if you're confused, we've got you covered!
Once you've signed up for a platform, you should refer to their documentation on how to get started.
If you're a support agent looking for the best cobrowsing solution and you pick Fullview Cobrowsing, the process goes something like this:
- Sign up and install the Fullview cobrowsing API by copy pasting a few lines of code (typically a 15-minute process)
- Once you've installed Fullview, all you users will be pulled into your Fullview dashboard
- Look up the user you want to contact using the search function
- Optionally, view recordings of that users latest sessions in your app to see what they got up to and if they ran into any issues.
- Press ‘Cobrowse'
- The user sees a popup request asking if they want to accept the call
- Start a cobrowsing session to begin multi-cursor screen control with your user
- Once on a call, you can point to sections, highlight stuff and even draw on their screen to make solving support tickets so much faster
- You can even chat with a user while on a cobrowsing call in case you need to send links, for example.
Is cobrowsing safe?
So, is cobrowsing safe? Yes. While there are some legitimate concerns, using a trusted cobrowsing vendor can mitigate those issues. Cobrowsing, in contrast to traditional remote access or screen sharing, is by far the safest option for collaboration.
If you’re considering adding cobrowsing to your support arsenal, the most important thing to do is to make sure you are using a cobrowsing solution that is reputable and takes data privacy seriously.
We’ll talk a little more about some of the most common concerns when it comes to cobrowsing and how Fullview’s cobrowsing solution addresses them in the following sections.
Data privacy concerns with cobrowsing
One of the primary concerns when it comes to cobrowsing is data privacy and GDPR. When you use cobrowsing, the person or people you are cobrowsing with essentially have access to all of the data visible on your screen.
And this isn’t just a concern for individuals: companies are often hesitant to offer cobrowsing because of concerns around GDPR.
So, what can companies and individuals do to mitigate the risk?
The best thing to do here is to use a cobrowsing solution that takes privacy and GDPR compliance seriously. And one that is transparent about how it protects and processes your data — like Fullview, for example.
As one of the only cobrowsing solutions based in the EU, all user data is stored on EU servers, making Fullview 100% compliant with GDPR regulations. We also utilize the highest levels of encryption and security.
Companies are completely in control of the data they choose to collect and censor during cobrowsing calls. GDPR-sensitive information (like passwords, emails, payment information, addresses and phone numbers) is automatically censored. Additionally, we’ve made it very easy for companies to customize other types of data they would like to censor during cobrowsing calls.
That’s what makes cobrowsing much safer than screen sharing over tools like Zoom or Google Meet, where it isn’t possible to censor any data.
Remote access scams and cobrowsing
Another risk people have concerns about is the possibility of malicious actors trying to gain access to sensitive information. While this is more a concern with traditional remote access software, we’ve covered some best practices companies and individuals should keep in mind when giving someone access to their systems:
- Never give access to someone you don't know and always verify the identity of whomever it is that is requesting access.
- Don't share login or password information. And never ask for it during cobrowsing calls.
- Trust your gut: if a situation feels off, it’s probably best to exercise caution.
- Train your support agents in cyber security best practices.
- Keep the lines of communication with your users open and educate them on how to spot remote access scams.
Although remote access scams are something you should take very seriously, here is something to ease your mind:
Unlike remote access software, which grants someone control over your entire system, with a cobrowsing solution like Fullview, agents only have access within their own web app.
What that means is that if an agent from XYZ company initiates a cobrowsing call with a user, that call takes place within the XYZ app and agents only have control in the XYZ app. They are locked out of other parts of the user’s system.
This significantly mitigates the risks associated with traditional remote access software — for both companies and end users.
Additionally, with a cobrowsing solution like Fullview, your users will not be sent links they have to click on or downloads they have to install in order to cobrowse with you, which also makes the process a whole lot safer.
Once you have implemented Fullview, cobrowsing calls are initiated within your app and your user doesn’t have to download anything: they only have to click accept to start the cobrowsing session.
While people understandably have some concerns around cobrowsing, given how remote access software has run into tricky territory recently, companies and individuals can rest assured that, unlike traditional remote access and screen sharing, cobrowsing is by far the safest choice when looking for collaboration tools in customer support.
Just make sure to choose a reputable vendor that is fully GDPR compliant, takes data protection seriously, and is transparent about its security policies — like Fullview!
Cobrowsing in customer support
Because the pandemic has had such an impact on how people and businesses operate, customer-facing teams have a harder time than ever before when it comes to creating personalized experiences that really resonate with users. And that’s a problem, because, in customer service, personalization really matters. When you don’t have the benefit of meeting face-to-face, talking customers through your product is no longer as simple as pointing at a screen.
But with cobrowsing, it actually can be that simple. And it may be right for your support team If you’re tired of customer support hits such as:
"The button is on the left. No, I said left. Yeah, right there." *awkward laugh*
"You’re on the wrong page, actually. Yeah, you have to go back. Could you please press the back arrow? No, in the app. Now we’re on Google again. You’ll have to navigate to the website once more. Thanks." *awkward throat clearing*
"Do you see that little green icon in the top right of your screen? With your initials on it? You’ll have to click that in order to get to the billing page." *awkward silence*
With cobrowsing, you can take charge and solve customer issues yourself.
Uses of cobrowsing
We’ve all had the experience of working in an app and then coming across a bug or a problem we can’t figure out how to solve immediately. If the process of getting help is filled to the brim with friction and pain points, it really sours you on the entire platform, decreases your willingness to try fixing things, and increases the likelihood of frustration and churn. A smooth cobrowsing experience, where problems are solved collaboratively and in real-time, can go a long way toward ensuring that your users remain happy and loyal.
Increase customer loyalty
Happy customers are loyal customers. Companies have the power to turn their users into brand evangelists. In fact, 89% of customers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Loyal customers are also much more likely to refer your product or service to their network. Companies just have to be willing to offer the best customer service. Having a top-notch cobrowsing setup is a huge piece of that puzzle and one that Fullview can help you slot into place.
Decrease customer support costs
Time is money. Right now, we’re willing to bet that a large part of what your support agents spend their time doing is decrypting customer support tickets with no context. With a good cobrowsing setup, you can bypass all the misunderstandings and get to resolution faster.
Ping-ponging between customer support, product and development teams severely handicaps your ability to iterate and improve your product. Cobrowsing sessions help the various arms of your organization get on the same page about the issues that your users face, so they can employ fixes quicker and more efficiently.
Cobrowsing’s biggest benefits
In our opinion, automated chatbots should NOT be the main way your users experience your product. There’s a lot to be said for cultivating personalized, visual experiences that humanize support interactions, and, consequently, your company.
Some of the main benefits of cobrowsing, that help you achieve this standard, are:
Personalized support experiences
One-size-fits-all help centers and chatbots are not the answer — especially not on their own. 72% of consumers say that, when contacting customer support, they expect the agent to ‘know who they are, what they have purchased and have insights into their previous engagements'. Cobrowsing should always be your priority when it comes to solving tickets because each user — and therefore each support ticket — is unique and should be treated as such.
Faster time to resolution
Because it includes a lot of context and easy ways to collaborate to solve a problem together, cobrowsing is the fastest and most efficient way to decrease average time to resolution and increase productivity.
Fullview’s cobrowsing feature gives you all the tools you need to effectively collaborate with your users to solve problems. See exactly what your user sees when they are in-app, highlight or point to important sections, and draw or write on your user’s screen to put your heads together and problem solve at lightspeed.
Cobrowsing to improve key CS metrics
To run a tight ship, it’s important that key customer support metrics are constantly on the up and up. Here are just a few ways that cobrowsing can help:
First contact resolution
Because cobrowsing gives you instant context into what exactly your users are experiencing when they are in your app – and, therefore, the issues that crop up along the way – solving customer service tickets at first contact becomes a much more likely prospect.
Average resolution time
So much of an agent’s time solving a customer support ticket is asking a user exactly what problem they’re facing. Right now, ART clocks in right around 3 days, which is no good. The reasons? Most support interactions typically devolve into long email chains, tedious back-and-forth exchanges, and many a screenshot and screen recording. All of this continues to increase the average resolution time of each ticket. Cobrowsing speeds this process up and lowers ART in the process.
Having to wade through a sea of different points of contact is frustrating for users. Cobrowsing helps agents get to the root of the issue quicker, so they’re treating the disease and not just a symptom. This also means that a user is less likely to reach out about the same issue more than once.
What sets Fullview’s cobrowsing feature apart
We've worked with countless thought leaders and agents within the customer support space to hone our co browsing feature and make it the best on the market. Every improvement we make is with the insight our network provides. We take their advice very seriously. Here are just some of what sets up apart.
With Fullview, you have the ability to initiate a call and cobrowsing session with any user at the click of a button — all without them having to leave your app. You don’t need to send them Zoom meeting links or ask them to download dedicated cobrowsing programs.
You can integrate Fullview's cobrowsing into the platforms you already use for support. We offer a ton of integrations with software such as Intercom, Salesforce and Zendesk.
Easy to use
Our API integration makes cobrowsing incredibly easy to use and as close to one click as possible. All you need to do is look up a user on your dashboard and click ‘Connect’ to get started instantly.
Multiplayer screen control
Fullview’s cobrowsing is a multiplayer screen control solution, which means that both you and your user can click on buttons, highlight important sections and draw on the screen together.
Fullview’s cobrowsing solution is built with data privacy front of mind. You can only cobrowse with your user within your app — you do not have the ability to cobrowse other tabs or windows.
Apart from the privacy features mentioned above, you can also choose which information you’d like to blur out during cobrowsing calls.
Fullview is GDPR-compliant and ISO 27001 ready. All data is stored in the EU and fully encrypted.
Cobrowsing and common use cases
While co browsing is applicable in a number of different situations, we find that, for SaaS companies, it is most relevant in the following ways:
Diagnose issues faster, see exactly what your users are seeing and offer personalized customer support — all without leaving your app. Fullview’s cobrowsing feature allows you to meet your users exactly where they are, as opposed to meandering through endless emails, chats and zoom calls with them.
Sales and lead generation
Good deals are DOA without great demos. With cobrowsing, you can get potential clients on a call and show them around your app without any friction. Sales reps can demonstrate features, highlight USPs and close deals faster. Cobrowsing shortens the sales cycle by cutting to the chase and showing clients exactly what they’re signing up for and why.
Cobrowsing for onboarding
Right now, onboarding is very much a self-service kind of deal. If that’s done wrong, it can really turn potential converts off and negatively affect your adoption rates. Cobrowsing can step in when necessary to bridge this gap and make the onboarding experience smoother for users who need a helping hand.
Want to learn more? Read our article about cobrowsing examples — we cover all these points in more detail there.
Cobrowsing and different verticals
There are a number of verticals across which cobrowsing is a key part of any good CX strategy.
Customer retention is key in SaaS. It is both cheaper and more effective overall to retain customers by keeping them happy, than court new customers through expensive marketing campaigns. In fact, acquiring a new customer can be as much as five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. A good onboarding, CX and customer support strategy is crucial when it comes to retaining existing users, and cobrowsing can help you perfect that by offering customized support that is instant, personable and scalable.
Banking and Financial Services
Banking is complex, and, in the grand scheme of things, online banking is still a relatively new way to engage in it. In fact, recent surveys suggest that only around 65% of US adults use online banking services. That number is large, but there's still room to grow. Cobrowsing can help by lessening some of the friction inherent in the setup phase. It can also be an invaluable tool for financial advisors to use when giving presentations to clients and advising them on different financial services and products.
Hospitality and travel
Helping customers through the process of choosing the right travel packages, booking airplane tickets and making hotel reservations would be a lot simpler if you could just point and click. With cobrowsing, you can do just that.
Insurance is tricky and, in most situations, there are a plethora of plans to choose from. With cobrowsing, insurance agents have the tools to demonstrate each one, as well as guide users through the difficult business of signing up for them. It can also help ease friction during the claims process.
Cobrowse your way to success
For all the reasons we've already laid out above — and many more besides, according to HubSpot — it's clear as day that customer support experiences are key to growing a successful and sustainable business. For reasons ranging from the cost of acquisition versus retention, to the importance of customer loyalty, to increased ROI and decreased support costs, cobrowsing needs to be viewed as an integral part of any CX strategy.
Fullview's cobrowsing feature has been developed in connection with hundreds of leading names in the CX field to give every company the best chance of taking their customer support interactions to the next level. Not only is it incredibly easy to use — requiring just two steps from customer lookup to multi-cursor cobrowsing — it also comes packed with features and is fully GPDR compliant.
If you're on your way to supercharging your customer support team, you'd do well to sign up for Fullview. You can also book a demo before committing if you'd like — we're more than happy to show you around.
You can bet your bottom dollar that cobrowsing will be a BIG part of the demo.