The future of Co-browsing: 5 Trends to Watch

co-browsing customer experience trends

 

Show, Don’t tell

 

George is eagerly looking forward to setting up his new smart home. He unboxed and installed all his newly-purchased connected devices and downloaded the software successfully. Now all that’s left is to configure it all via the website. But… it’s not working. He can‘t find the menu he needs and the icons are simply not where they are meant to be. A frustrated George dreads calling Customer Service. How much time will he waste trying to describe his browser screen to the agent? There must be an easier way.

Enter the convenience of co-browsing.

Co-browsing allows agents to see and interact with a customer’s browser in real time, visually guiding them through online processes, webforms, transactions or demos. Customer privacy is assured as the agent is restricted from accessing other tabs or sensitive areas of a browser screen, such as fields containing payment details. Co-browsing enables agents to avoid the tedious back-and-forth questions that are required when the agent is trying to figure out what the customer is actually looking at. Is it the wrong link? The wrong tab? The wrong website altogether?

Instead of spending valuable time “telling” customers how to solve their web-related issues, co-browsing allows the agent to navigate the website together with the customer. Agents can move their mouse around the customer’s browser, highlight relevant information and annotate to make tricky processes even clearer.  And, the clearer the problem, the faster the resolution, with Aberdeen reporting that co-browsing tools directly reduce AHT.

With co-browsing gaining traction in customer service organizations, here are the 5 hottest trends currently developing in the co-browsing domain.

 

1 Co-browsing for mobile apps

 

While co-browsing technology has traditionally been used to support customers through their desktop’s browser, today’s co-browsing technology is being adopted by new markets where mobile apps are most dominant. And those markets are certainly growing. Worldwide, 75% of all internet usage originates from a mobile device, and the total time spent in apps worldwide reached 1.6 trillion hours in 2016 — a year-over-year app engagement increase of over 50 percent.

For example, while CSPs are eager to increase the usage of their self service apps, adoption has been relatively low (estimated as below 30%). An app-sharing solution would enable their frontline agents to access the app via the customer’s screen, and educate the customer in how to use it, effectively facilitating adoption while providing a positive CX.

 

2 Co-browsing and Visual Support

 

While co-browsing alone is effective in several use cases, there is a much broader spectrum of use cases that benefit from a combination of co-browsing and visual support. When a customer needs assistance, co-browsing allows the agent to see what is visible within the customer’s browser. However, visual support goes a step further by allowing the agent to see the customer’s physical environment via their smartphone.  

For example, a customer calls to complain about his internet speed. The agent sends a link that opens the customer’s smartphone camera, enabling the agent to see the router with his own eyes and guide him to the resolution. Once the issue is resolved, the agent offers the customer an opportunity upgrade his broadband package, and then utilizes co-browsing to walk the customer through the self-upgrade process on the provider’s website.

The combination of co-browsing and visual support enables holistic visual assistance, especially when technology can facilitate a seamless transfer between the two.

 

3 Co-browsing and AI

 

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance interactions with customers is quickly gaining traction. According to a 2018 survey, 15% of Americans say they have used a chatbot to interact with a company in the prior 12 months, and Gartner projects that more than 85% of all customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020. This reliance on AI can be enhanced with co-browsing technology. For example, a customer chats in with a question regarding her recent bill.  The chatbot gathers basic data about the customer and her needs, and then refers the customer to a live agent. The agent seamlessly picks up the chat and uses co-browsing to view the customer’s bill within her browser. No additional questions are necessary. The agent quickly guides her to the billing breakdown page of the website, and helps her modify her subscription.

 

4 Co-browsing in Field Services

 

While co-browsing traditionally targets consumer use cases, it is becoming more common within enterprises, and has been found to be especially useful in the field services industry. After all, the industry relies heavily on human labor – a workforce that is aging quickly and is especially difficult to replace, train or scale upon demand. The ability to utilize co-browsing mitigates the training gaps of novice technicians, allowing remote experts to walk them through complex repairs.

For example, a newly-hired technician is dispatched to a work site to take measurements and survey the property. With co-browsing, his supervisor can access the company’s web-based field services workflow management application, and together they can view the actions required to determine the problem and find the resolution.

 

5 Co-browsing between customers

 

Customer-driven community forums and message boards have been around for a long time. They are virtual communities where users can go to post about topics of interest, often to support one another. in a recent survey, as many as 56% of customer community users stated that having a self-serve support arm to rely on is an important contributing factor when choosing a company’s products and services.

Community forums have proven especially useful for CSP subscribers who need help with equipment or who are experiencing technical issues. Adding co-browsing technology to these forums would boost engagement and provide a higher level of assistance to customers. For example, a customer may post a question about activating his SIM card via the website or about an error message he sees on his web-based app. With co-browsing, a forum member can easily view the customer’s browser or web app, and guide him through the resolution process.

 

Summary

 

Co-browsing technology is evolving, and has the potential to bridge the gap between human and AI-driven customer service. Co-browsing benefits customers who are confused about an online process, or frustrated by having to verbally describe to agents over the phone what they are seeing within their browsers. Gartner highlights the convenience of co-browsing – with most self-service interactions occurring in a web browser or mobile app, customers are just a click away from a co-browsing session.

When used in conjunction with the 5 hottest trends – app sharing, visual support, AI, field services and communities – co-browsing effectively removes any barriers to a great customer experience.