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Is co-browsing safe? Here's what financial institutions should know

Financial institutions today are under pressure to make the customer experience as seamless as possible. At the same time, they should be prepared to answer questions about the security of their customer support tools, platforms and applications. One such tool is co-browsing, which allows banks to create branch-like finance experiences in an ultra-convenient digital setting. 

A co-browsing session lets customer support agents join a customer in their browsing session in real time. By providing a secure digital environment for these meetings, co-browsing gives customers all the benefits of remote banking services while also committing financial providers to the highest standards of information security.

Before delving into the security features of Unblu’s co-browsing solution, it’s worth having some background on the tool’s functionality. Co-browsing software is a layered tool that can operate in four different formats, adding value to many kinds of customer interactions.

How does co-browsing work?

A co-browsing session gives the agent and the customer the ability to simultaneously navigate, browse and collaborate anywhere on the web, as well as on an e-banking or mobile app or electronic document. 

In Unblu’s co-browsing solution, a view and highlight tool adds a visual component to the collaboration, usable by both the customer and the agent. This makes the contextual interaction as efficient as possible and contributes to cutting down the resolution time of the customer issue.

Seen in the context of the wider customer journey, Unblu’s co-browsing solution forms an extra touchpoint that can be integrated with messenger, voice or video chat channels. A typical use might involve the escalation of the issue from a messenger to a co-browsing session accompanied by real-time conversation, all within the secure environment of the e-banking application.

Let’s take a look at a co-browsing example for a customer seeking help with their mortgage application:

  1. A question arises. A customer is completing a mortgage application and they’ve been unable to resolve a query through their e-banking portal. The customer needs reassurance and they’d like an answer quickly.
  2. Initiate co-browsing. The contact center receives the request for support and an agent sees that a co-browsing session would help to resolve the issue, so they propose this to the customer. If agreed, the customer initiates a co-browsing session on either desktop or mobile by introducing a PIN code within their e-banking portal.
  3. Join customers in real time. The customer service agent joins the customer in their browsing session, simultaneously using a voice or video channel to have a conversation if necessary. Being able to observe the customer’s e-banking portal in real time through the embedded co-browsing application means the agent can quickly identify relevant details, or seamlessly switch controls to have the customer point it out. Equally, if the two need to consult some information that can only be found on an external website, the agent can ask the customer to begin universal co-browsing
  4. Share and view documents securely. If the agent needs to consult a mortgage document to resolve the issue, they can ask to begin document co-browsing. The customer receives the request in the chat window, and once they consent, document co-browsing is initiated. Sharing documents is done with the highest commitment to security and there is guaranteed protection of the customer’s information, using secure field masking to ensure the privacy and security of sensitive data.
  5. Productive and compliant outcomes. The agent can support the customer with any process they may need, from completing a transaction to filling out a complex form. Once complete, either the customer or the agent can end the co-browsing session having arrived at a quick and easy resolution. If co-browsing recording is enabled, the conversation is stored as an MP4 file in an encrypted database for compliance, quality and training purposes. This forms part of the conversation history and will be available for authorized users to consult for one year after the date of recording.

For more on the functionality and use cases of co-browsing, see our blog post: How does co-browsing work? Explaining the digital tool for better online conversations.

Types of co-browsing solutions

Many use cases similar to the one outlined above rely on a combination of embedded, universal, document and mobile co-browsing. These four formats comprise Unblu’s co-browsing solution:

Embedded co-browsing

Embedded co-browsing enables agents to collaborate with customers on a particular platform or application. Unblu’s co-browsing technology can handle most modern e-banking systems that rely on HTML 5 logic. When a customer has an issue, embedded co-browsing transforms what would be a simple question-answer interaction into a visual collaboration, increasing engagement and solving problems faster. 

Universal co-browsing

Universal co-browsing facilitates meeting scenarios that are research-based or require references from another website. This type of co-browsing allows participants to navigate together to any site on the web, adding another dimension to the agent-customer exchange. With the freedom and flexibility to co-browse anywhere, Universal co-browsing has a vast range of possible use cases. To ensure compliance, any financial institution using Universal co-browsing can block access to certain websites during a session.

Document co-browsing

Banking customers often run into issues when filling out documentation and complex forms. Document co-browsing is designed to curb this issue, enabling the co-completion of documents by agents and customers. The tool makes it possible to simultaneously view documents, where the agent can highlight particular parts as they explain things using the View and Highlight tool. As they guide the customer through, the agent also has controls to edit the document and complete form fields directly. 

Mobile co-browsing

Unblu’s Mobile SDKs let financial institutions natively integrate co-browsing tools into their apps, or create a stand-alone application if preferred. Mobile co-browsing has the same functionalities as desktop co-browsing, making engaging interactions entirely accessible from an e-banking app—which is how most of today’s consumers opt to do their banking. By giving customers the power to reach out from a mobile device and receive high-touch support, this type of co-browsing shapes ultra-convenient experiences.

Co-browsing vs screen sharing: Why is it safer than normal screen sharing?

Augmenting remote meetings with visual engagement technology boosts customer satisfaction scores and improves efficiency—but these tools can also present major issues for security if not properly implemented. 

For remote collaboration, financial institutions have two feasible options: interact with a customer on any website or document with co-browsing, or simply use a screen sharing feature. While these two tools have some functionalities in common, the security layer is something that differentiates co-browsing and screen sharing. A co-browsing tool is the only way to achieve limitless live engagement and gain a competitive edge while staying 100% secure. 

Compared with screen sharing, co-browsing technology advances compliance and security in the following ways:

Sharing control

Unlike screen sharing, co-browsing doesn’t involve viewing or controlling a presenter’s entire screen, which may have browser tabs or other applications open. In the interests of privacy, co-browsing only shares the customer’s web browser or mobile application, not the entire desktop.

100% browser-based

Another difference is that co-browsing involves the agent going directly into the customer’s browser or app. A co-browsing session can be initiated with a single click, and nothing needs to be downloaded or installed. Co-browsing is safer for this reason. With no download component or plug-in installation, the threat of malware is reduced.

Optimized information security

By securely regulating private information and website access, co-browsing expands upon screen sharing to meet the compliance needs of financial institutions. Unblu’s co-browsing solution uses our patented SecureFlowManager (SFM) to ensure that the banking application is secured for co-browsing and that the confidentiality of the customer’s data is not compromised at any time. That means that agents can accompany the customer through a process involving private information without having to drop off at any point. 

What else makes co-browsing a safe technology?

Security is one of the central pillars of the Unblu platform, which is why we’re the chosen CX technology partner of over 160 financial institutions worldwide. 

We go the extra mile to ensure data is stored and processed securely, and Unblu is certified by the highest international security and compliance standards including SOC 2 and ISO 27001. This means that our technology has passed rigorous security reviews and penetration tests, as well as reviews carried out by leading global banks and financial services institutions. With Unblu, personal information is safe, interactions are secure and businesses are protected.

Our co-browsing solution is rooted in a robust security infrastructure that clients can trust, while also making life easier for banking customers. Unblu is secured by:

  • TLS Encryption. All communications with Unblu servers are encrypted using industry-standard TLS over public networks, meaning the traffic between you and Unblu is secure.
  • Sensitive information redaction. HTML fields marked as ‘password’ are automatically protected to keep login credentials private. Content can be excluded or protected by simply adding an HTML attribute.
  • Masking sensitive information. The Unblu site embedded setup determines which content is accessible for viewing and collaboration through simple tagging of the instrumented web application. This gives you a high degree of flexibility in managing interaction compliance in embedded and document co-browsing, in addition to broad system-based settings.
  • Privacy mode. In private mode, the other party can no longer follow activity. In co-browsing scenarios, this is useful when clients want the agent’s view masked.
  • URL blacklisting and whitelisting URLs. The administrator can configure the system to determine which sites can be visited during a Universal co-browsing session. You can either blacklist certain URLs so they cannot be visited or create a whitelist so that only specified URLs can be visited.
  • Single Sign-On (SSO) for web and mobile. Unblu uses the existing authentication mechanisms in place, meaning that co-browsing becomes part of the application infrastructure. For agents, co-browsing can be accessed through a Single Sign-On, which allows them to follow the customer from an authenticated area by only having to log in once. This guarantees a seamless transition between different types of co-browsing. For instance, an embedded co-browsing session can flow into a document co-browsing session without breaking the interaction.

Co-browsing & Unblu

Co-browsing helps you go above and beyond today’s customer expectations. By combining personalized communication with visual engagement tools, you’ll deliver a collaborative experience that takes customer satisfaction to a new level.

Unblu co-browsing technology is a tried and tested customer support tool that cuts service costs while remaining compliant and secure. Discover how co-browsing might enhance your financial service performance by booking onto one of our product demos today.

Co-Browsing Conversational Banking