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Co-browsing (or collaborative browsing, sometimes referred to as an online personal shopping assistant) is changing the way customers interact with brands online. With personalised service via co-browsing, contact centre agents can help customers have a rewarding and memorable online retail experience. For customers who enjoy the personalised touch of in-store shopping, banking, and the like, co-browsing has the power to change customer service permanently.
Imagine a retail store with no sales assistants: that’s the experience customers face online. In a brick-and-mortar shop, sales representatives engage with customers who want assistance and guide them through the aisles, enriching their shopping experience and generating increased sales. Today, agents can provide online shoppers with the same human touch. Co-browsing presents agents with the same view that their customers are seeing, lets them understand their issues clearly, and guide them interactively to provide exemplary customer service. Agents can help new customers engage with websites, overcome trouble points, and provide customers with a much smoother customer experience.
In the second quarter of 2021, 85% of orders on mobile devices in the UK were not completed, while a further 7 in 10 computer carts were also abandoned. This ‘surf and turf’ style of shopping, with customers browsing and dropping items in various baskets without converting into sales, suggests a lack of engagement. Why? It’s likely a combination of factors, beginning the moment a customer first lands on your website. When user interfaces and verbal communication fall short in delivering satisfactory customer service, co-browsing can help. According to research by Forrester, “[c]ompanies increasingly leverage visual engagement — video, co-browsing, screen sharing, and annotations – to cut through the customer conversation clutter, to be better understood, and to connect emotionally.” Let’s see how co-browsing could help reduce friction at each stage of the customer journey.
It’s common knowledge, and an application of Pareto’s 80/20 Principle, that a small fraction of IT functionality or website pages will receive the majority of user time. When you consider this, it is possible to realise how customers can miss out on important features and engaging content, as well as the implications of badly designed key functions. Imagine the benefits to customer service, especially in the banking sector for example, if a customer journey started with a 5-minute co-browsing session and see the breadth of a website’s features.
It can be enjoyable to talk with a knowledgeable person about their purchasing goals. In-person one-to-one customer service is an important part of the retail experience and one of several reasons why people continue to shop in physical stores. Co-browsing brings that same familiar service experience to online customers from the moment they log on.
There’s essentially no limit to how many ways customers can become confused by websites. And losing a few customers here and there adds up to a significant percentage who don’t make it to the end. Consider some of the questions a customer might reasonably have with something as simple as filling out a form:
Rather than waiting for customers’ frustration to build up, agents that preemptively suggest a co-browsing session move their customers straight through forms and on to the purchasing stage, demonstrating a higher level of care in the process.
Physical retailers know the impact that a salesperson can have on generating sales. For big-ticket items such as cars or security systems, customers nearly always rely on help from an employee. Co-browsing gives companies a way to assist customers personally.
Agents can also nudge customers towards other small choices that benefit both sides like signing up for membership rather than using a one-time login, saving a credit card for simpler payments in the future, or signing up for a newsletter. The right human touch drives sales and engagement and adds to the customer experience.
Susan is curled up on her sofa one day, casually scrolling through dresses on a couple of different online shops, hopping back and forth between them. She selects a few items on one site, then leaves them in the shopping cart while she checks another. That’s when she notices a feature she’s never seen before: an online personal shopping assistant, powered by co-browsing. She decides to try it out, and loves the experience. Her purchase on the other site is never completed. The retailer with the engaging, personal touch won her over.
Not to mention that agents in your contact centre thrive on the human interaction that the job requires. Co-browsing enables the genuine interpersonal engagement that can help build your brand, improve your centre’s customer service metrics and help retain agents in the long run.
Co-browsing is a tool with the potential to fundamentally change the way customers interact with websites. If you’re considering adding co-browsing capabilities to your toolset, consider Odigo, recently named a global Leader in the ISG Provider Lens™ Contact Centre as a Service 2021 report.
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