We describe here which options partners have in regards to Co-browsing and Screen sharing (abbreviated as “CBS” in this article), and which technologies currently exist. Cisco Remote Expert Mobile is being discontinued, and partners have started evaluating or using a large series of solutions such as Surfly, EUData, Surfly, Acquire, unblu, Jabber Guest, WebRTC, Cisco Webex and the like.
CBS is not Video
CBS technologies are often evaluated in parallel with customer-to-agent video solutions. We think WebRTC is suitable for the agent side, but WebRTC-to-WebRTC doesn’t scale in an enterprise environment. WebRTC to SIP gateways are required, provided by companies such as Tokbox/ Nexmo or Audiocodes. The rest of this article will not discuss video, and focus on the CBS aspect only.
Synchronizing CBS with a (video) call or chat with CIM
With the Expertflow CIM framework, and for all three scenarios, CBS can happen in a simultaneous and synchronized way with an existing phone or video call or chat session. An agent can initiate a CBS session from an existing voice/ video call or chat session.
Customer identified by browser identity with CIM
For the co-browsing and DOM scenarios: If the browser identity that the customer is using is known to CIM and associated with that particular customer, then the customer won’t have to re-enter any credentials. In this case, and if not prohibited by regulatory reasons, an agent can see which pages a customer is visiting in real-time, from the moment he starts interacting with him through any channel. The customer will not have to give any additional credentials or permission or enter any code.
As illustrated in the above graphic, a browser on a certain device becomes one of the identities associated with that customer, as also described here.
Co-browsing and DOM sharing
The co-browsing and DOM-sharing approaches use Browser-based events. As discussed in our Website blog, tracking real-time customer activity on a website is relatively simple, using for example the free Google Tag Manager. Tag management allows capturing and sending any event that happens in a customer’s web browser to a certain destination (for example Google Analytics or Expertflow CIM or Surfly,…). This can range from simple web page openings, to clicks to hover-over or mouse location DOM events.
These approaches use native browser capabilities, work on a company website only, and do not require any installation or special permissions from the website visitor.
In the Expertflow Co-Browsing solution, we share selected events (such as webpage visits, clicks on certain buttons,..) to CIM and display these in real-time to the call center agent.
Difference btw Co-Browsing and DOM sharing
Both co-browsing and DOM-sharing use fundamentally the same technology: Sending browser events of the customer to an agent. Both approaches can fundamentally send the same messages, but the distinction is typically the following:
- Co-browsing will send only pages visited, mouse clicks, and a small selected number of events from a customer journey, that are captured via a tag management solution. Typically one event every 5-10 seconds . Those events are identified, tagged and often have an important meaning in the customer journey and are searchable in CIM. These events can also include DOM events, such as mouse hover-over, but the intention and use case is different. Agents will typically see activities in text format, for example “customer visited www.expertflow.com/chat” or “customer entered password correctly” or “customer clicked on the AGREE button”
- DOM sharing sends hover-over mouse events at very frequent intervals (three times per second, for example), and doesn’t give a particular or named meaning to any event. The goal is to essentially share the page being visited, the location of the mouse pointer, the text being entered into fields. These events are then visually rendered on the agent side, so the agent has the impression he is viewing the browser of the customer. So the agent can give instructions such as “no higher up on the left”.
Both approaches do not require the customer to install anything. They work only on Customer webpages that have activated the relevant browser tags (JScript executed in the customer’s browser).
Screen sharing technologies are very different in that they actually capture pixel-by-pixel the screen of user A and share it with user B. This is typically more sensitive, and requires the customer to download and install software, as well as to accept a session.
The entire content of a screen or browser is shared, not only a website
The installation typically is more elaborate, as it requires firewall traversal, DMZ etc.