Co-browsing is a dynamic and transformative tool for digital interactions. Such solutions allow different people to share their web journey with each other and collaboratively surf the web as if they were side by side.
Suppose you have a friend who can’t figure out how to make an order on an e-commerce website. Co-browsing technologies enable connection between your and your friend’s devices, allowing you both simultaneously to view and interact with the same web content.
Unlike familiar features like screen sharing, here, we speak of a more immersive experience beyond passive observation. One user can click buttons, fill out forms, and scroll through the windows opened on the other’s user device. It opens new possibilities, whether you deal with troubleshooting a technical issue, shopping online together, or collaborating on a project.
Typically, co-browsing solutions follow the same pattern of collaboration between users. Let’s consider a situation where a customer seeks help with a company website. The core co-browsing mechanics will consist of the following steps in this case.
- Initiating a Session. The customer, who can, in other words, be described as the “host,” initiates the co-browsing interaction. It can be done by clicking the special button on a website. This process includes generating a unique shared link or invitation. It then can be shared with other people the customer wants to collaborate with. In our case, it’s a company representative, most likely the customer support specialist;
- Joining the Session. Now, the customer support specialist, or the “guest,” can access the shared link or invitation to join the shared co-browsing session;
- Synchronization. Once the participants are connected, the co-browsing solution synchronizes their browsing activities. This synchronization includes tracking mouse movements, clicks, keyboard inputs, and scrolling actions. As a result, all participants see the same shared webpage and can interact with it simultaneously;
- Real-Time Collaboration. Participants can discuss, make selections, fill out forms, and perform various actions on the shared web page. This feature is particularly useful in scenarios such as online shopping, technical troubleshooting, and working with financial data;
- Privacy and Security Control. Co-browsing solutions developers pay due attention to customers’ security and private data integrity. Typically, only the content within the shared session is visible to participants, and sensitive information like passwords or personal data is not shared. For example, form fields containing credit card numbers can be blurred so nobody besides the customer can see them during the shared session. Additionally, customers can exit the session at any time;
- Session Control. The customer controls certain shared session aspects, such as navigating different web pages or muting/unmuting other participants. It helps in facilitating efficient collaboration and maintaining a sense of control for the customer;
- Termination. Participants can end the co-browsing session once the collaborative tasks are completed, or the customer support agent’s help is no longer needed. Depending on the platform, the shared link may expire automatically or need to be manually terminated.
The variety of possible implementations of this scheme in practice can cover the needs of a company from any industry. The core functionality remains the same in all scenarios. Still, by adding some adjustments to the collaboration process, you can quickly turn a co-browsing solution into an integral part of your brand.
For example, in the financial services sector, co-browsing solutions can offer personalized financial advisory services to clients. Imagine a client who wants to discuss their investment portfolio and financial goals with their financial advisor, but there are tons of documents to review, and they cannot meet in person. The financial advisor initiates a co-browsing session with the client. They can securely view and discuss the client’s financial data, investment options, and financial planning tools in real-time. The client can ask questions, make investment decisions, and receive immediate guidance on portfolio adjustments.
Co-browsing can play an essential role in online education and training environments. Imagine a virtual classroom scenario where a teacher conducts an online lesson with multiple students. One student is struggling with a complex math problem and needs individual assistance. In this case, the teacher can initiate a co-browsing session with the student. They can access the same digital whiteboard, textbooks, or educational materials in real time. The teacher can provide step-by-step guidance, explanations, and interactive demonstrations, helping students grasp the concept more effectively.