Co Browsing Vs Screen Sharing: What’s The Difference?

If you run a B2C business, you’ll be acutely aware of the importance of efficient problem solving as part of your wider customer support network. Where businesses used to have physical customer service centres, many have closed these down and opted instead for online or telephone support; however, when the service required is technical support, what happens then?

Well, you have two options you can implement: co-browsing or screen sharing

Co-Browsing vs Screen Sharing

Co-browsing and screen sharing are relatively new types of technologies that allow customer support teams to solve problems and advise customers efficiently and remotely. Knowing which type of software will best serve your customers is vital, and that’s why we’ve explained in detail the differences, with a view to helping you make the best decision. 

What is Co Browsing?

Co-browsing, also known as collaborative browsing, is an advanced type of technology that allows you to essentially take control of a customer’s screen remotely. As the name suggests, you and the customer can both navigate and interact with each other on the same page or in the same application in real time. It’s mostly used by businesses that benefit from guiding their customers through a specific sales journey or funnel in an efficient and easy-to-understand way.

Co-browsing is often enacted via a live chat or a telephone session and you will be able to speak to your customer as you go through the process with them. In a way, it allows you to take control of navigation and perform actions on their behalf, all the whilst they are looking at their screen and going through the process with you. 

Through co-browsing, you can perform actions such as:

  • Simple browsing to see what the customer is seeing in real time 
  • Present your cursor on their screen so they can see what you’re point at or where they need to click 
  • Annotate or draw on their screen if you want to draw attention to/highlight certain things 
  • Click buttons on behalf of the customer 
  • Fill in or submit forms 

There are a few different forms of co-browsing depending on the software you choose. Some providers will require customers to determine which tab they want to give you permission to co-browse on, whereas others don’t require this. To stay compliant with customer privacy, some softwares that automatically enable co-browsing are limited to just the relevant application or tab.

At Vizolution, we offer an innovative co-browsing technology. You can learn more about our co-browsing software here

What is Screen Sharing?

Screen sharing is somewhat similar to co-browsing, but without the interactive engagement aspect. Through screen sharing, you can see a customer’s screen or vice versa, and you can talk them through the next steps or explain why they’re seeing what they are. There is no secondary cursor or the option to highlight or annotate things, nor can you perform actions on their behalf. 

Instead, screen sharing relies almost entirely on supported verbal communication. You may have seen screen sharing in practice in an online meeting when someone shares their screen or goes into ‘presentation’ mode. Whilst it’s not quite as interactive, it’s still useful for seeing what the customer is seeing in real time. 

Not just this, but screen sharing is relevant to the whole device, so unlike with co-browsing, you’re not limited to only viewing one tab or application at a time. 

At Vizolution, we offer an industry-leading screen sharing platform, learn more about our agent-assisted screen sharing platform here.

What Is the Difference between Co Browsing and Screen Sharing?

There are a number of key differences between co-browsing and screen sharing, and knowing them is key to figuring out which option may be best for your business and what can enable you to support your customers in the most appropriate format. To help you gain a clearer understanding of what separates these two entities, below is a table showing the core differences between them:

Capability/FunctionCo-Browsing Screen Sharing
Select a tab/window to share𝗫
Annotate/draw on the screen𝗫
Press buttons𝗫
Secondary cursor𝗫
Multiple person screen control𝗫
Navigate to other tabs𝗫
Enter text/fill in forms𝗫
Capabilities of co-browse vs screen share

As you can see, co-browsing offers much more flexibility and overall control where needed, making it suitable for more complex customer journeys and situations where additional support and guidance may be required. On the other hand, screen sharing is more suitable for instances where you simply need to see what the customer is seeing or demonstrate how to do something rather than take control. Instances where this may be suitable include in the event sensitive or personal information, such as banking details, are required.

The Pros & Cons of Co-Browsing

Let’s now look in more detail at co-browsing, specifically the benefits of it and some of the potential drawbacks.

Co Browsing Pros

There are a number of key advantages co-browsing offers, including:

Resolve issues first time: With co-browsing, the ability to take control and directly guide the customer through specific actions or do it for them increases the efficiency of your ability to problem solve. In turn, this provides a faster resolution and the likelihood of a first-call resolution. From a customer perspective, this is beneficial because they don’t need to spend a long time on the phone to multiple people before finally getting an answer, and from a customer service representative perspective, it means you can help more customers in a shorter amount of time. 

Reduce resolution time: Along the same lines, if you can see first-hand what the customer is seeing and take the reins so to speak, you can reduce how long it takes to resolve the problem as a whole. No one wants to spend a long time on the phone to customer support, and you likely have a number of other customers waiting in a queue for assistance, so it’s a win-win on the time front. 

Improve engagement and satisfaction: This point goes for both clients and customer service agents. It can be frustrating when verbal instructions aren’t quite understood due to visual barriers, i.e. not being able to see what the other person is seeing. Co-browsing solves this issue as it ensures both parties are immediately on the same page and understand each other. 

Increase customer retention: Getting new clients on board is one thing, but convincing them to stay is another. A lot of customer retention boils down to customer service. If you can solve an issue quickly, customers will be more likely to come back, and co-browsing can help with this.

Co Browsing Cons

Now, let’s look at some of the potential disadvantages to co-browsing that you need to consider before implementing it across your network:

Optimal internet is required: One of the cons of co-browsing is that both parties need high-speed, reliable internet for it to work. If you or your customer is in an area with a patchy connection, it won’t work effectively due to a potential network lag. 

External communication app required: Co-browsing requires an external communication source to be live at the same time as, by itself, it doesn’t offer voice communication, so you need to make sure you have phone lines or a separate chat elsewhere to make sure communication isn’t lost. 

The Pros & Cons of Screen Sharing

Next, let’s take a look at screen sharing and the pros and cons it offers: 

Screen Sharing Pros

There are some notable advantages that screen sharing offers, including:

Increased procedural understanding: With screen sharing, you can see the actions a customer is taking and walk them through steps in real time. Whilst you can’t control what they’re doing, it gives a greater understanding of processes and what could be improved. 

See multiple tabs: Unlike with co-browsing, screen sharing isn’t limited to just one tab or application. You can see multiple windows and tabs at the same time, making it much easier to gain an insight into the customer’s behaviour and guide them through what they need to do.

Real time verbal communication: Screen sharing allows you to talk with the client at the same time on the same application, negating the need for a separate application and streamlining the customer support process overall.

Screen Sharing Cons

There are a few cons of screen sharing that you should be aware of, including:

Reduced flexibility: Due to not being able to take control of the customer’s screen, you don’t have as much flexibility over the solutions you can offer and are still relying on verbal articulation to get your point across and guide them as best as you can, albeit with a visual aid. 

Potential for further resolution comms: Because you can’t take control, there’s a chance that the customer might not get their issue resolved the first time, especially if it’s a complex process they need to go through. This means further communication may be required, and this can reduce customer satisfaction and increase your workload. 

Should I Choose Co Browsing or Screen Sharing?

Whether or not you should choose co-browsing or screen sharing depends wholly on your customer’s needs and the level of support you need to offer. If you have lengthy forms or an extended process that your customers need to take, it’s more likely that they might run into more issues. In this instance, co-browsing is an efficient customer support option. 

On the other hand, if your processes or sales techniques aren’t as complex and the customer journey tends to be shorter, screen sharing can be efficient – especially if you’re offering tutorials rather than first-hand support. 

If you’d like more information on Vizolution’s screen sharing software or our co-browsing software, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs and define a viable solution for you.

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