“When the industry finally realizes that the OSC is its own unique position, then the whole organization will work better. It all starts by giving the OSC their own department and training.” ~ Shari Morton | Shared Drive
An OSC (Online Sales Concierge) is a relatively new role, and there’s still a lot of confusion about how OSCs fit into a company’s teams and hierarchy. The truth is, there isn’t a well-defined box you can put the OSC role into unless you give them their own department.
Of course, considering OSCs as separate from sales and marketing doesn’t answer most of the questions businesses have about how OSCs should be managed and which teams they should have the most contact with, so I’ll cover everything you need to know in this article.
Why is choosing the right manager for an OSC important?
Most businesses do not have a team of OSCs available; they usually have one or two they rely on and struggle to give them the support they need because they (and especially their colleagues) aren’t sure where they fit in and who should be managing them.
OSCs should be guided but not managed by any one department. Any manager of an OSC should have OSC experience themselves because the role extends across sales and marketing, and so an OSC manager needs to have an innate knowledge of what the OSC needs to succeed.
Note: In any state that requires a real estate license for online sales, the broker would be legally responsible for the OSC.
An OSC’s Manager will make or break their ability to succeed
In many cases, choosing a “manager” for the OSC team will make or break their ability to find success. The wrong manager for an OSC may limit the OSC’s access to relevant information, which will consequently greatly limit their ability to do their job. The manager cannot gatekeep information from the OSC – their job is to facilitate the sale, and without the right information, they essentially become a receptionist.
If you cannot trust your OSC to discern how much information to provide in service of the customer, then you either have the wrong mindset or the wrong OSC.
OSCs must have a high-level understanding of the entire company and the building process to be effective. The OSC should never have to say, “I don’t know or I don’t handle that,” when a buyer contacts them.
The OSC needs good leadership from a manager who understands what they need to succeed and ongoing training to excel at their job. They need to help the OSC understand the organization and its processes so they can help the customer with any query.
A good manager will give the OSC the right tools (CRM, chat box, etc) to do their job to the best of their ability and will communicate with other team members and let them know what the OSC’s role is in the organization and how the OSC will support them. The marketing team must understand how the OSC is an asset to their knowledge base and that the sales team understands that the OSC does not receive a commission, plays a supporting role to theirs and that they need not feel in competition with them.
With the right information and management, an OSC will show that the entire team is united, which gives the buyer confidence.
Which Department, Sales or Marketing?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we don’t believe the OSC really belongs in either department 100% – they instead set both of these departments up for success.
How does an OSC support the marketing department?
- OSCs play a key role in representing the brand, often being the face of it for many customers, and so a lot of their customer-facing output should be guided by marketing
- A good OSC will dig deeper into what customers are saying and feed that information back to the marketing team, so they know where to spend money on lead generation and advertising
- They create an outstanding customer experience that feeds back into marketing
- They communicate with buyers on social media
- Respond to bad reviews and can be kind and quick in their replies, or facilitate things being put right, if possible
The marketing department needs to listen to the OSC and value their input to get the most out of the information they can mine from buyers.
How does an OSC support the sales team?
- They feed the sales team crucial information about what a buyer is looking for that makes it quicker and easier for the sales team to close a sale
- They provide the sales team with information about the buyer so the sales team can quickly build rapport with them
- They ensure that the sales team has all the relevant information so they don’t have to retread old ground with the buyer which can be frustrating and make the company look disorganized
It’s important to realize that the OSC should work seamlessly with the sales team. While their interactions with buyers impact and benefit the marketing team, it’s the sales team who should have daily contact with the OSC. Any divide here will lead to a subpar customer experience that may even cause the buyer to lose trust in you.
How can a home builder structure their team to better include their OSC?
If you want to reap the benefits of all your OSC can offer, you’ve got to structure your team in such a way that everyone understands the role each is playing and how that feeds into the success of the business.
Firstly, make sure whoever is managing the OSC is experienced and understands the OSC’s role inside out. If you don’t have someone with this experience already on your team, find a trainer, interview experienced OSCs, and learn the process of building a strong team around your OSC.
If you’re uncertain about how to move forward here, Shared Drive can help. If you wing this, you will lose out, and your OSC will likely become frustrated and ineffective. Invest the time and do your research to build your team properly – reach out to us if you aren’t sure how best to move forward.
Is this still relevant for remote or outsourced OSCs?
Yes, absolutely. Whether your OSC is in-house or based in a state a thousand miles away, they still need to be integrated into your team in the same way. OSCs are masters at connecting people from afar, so don’t be afraid to work with someone further afield.
If you want to cut down on costs, both in time and money, outsourcing is usually the most affordable option. When you outsource your OSC(s), you don’t have to spend as much time training and onboarding them – all you need to do is train them on the nuances of your business and your USP, and they’ll be ready to go. All you need to do then is educate your team on how the OSC will benefit them.
Shared Drive OSCs
We manage OSCs a little differently than the typical home builder because almost all our staff are skilled OSCs. We have different levels of OSC because we understand that experience brings with it additional skills and knowledge that should be recognized, and so we train and assign tasks accordingly.
Since we have so many high-level OSCs, we allow our advanced OSCs to do what they love while avoiding burnout, and so we created more roles in the OSC field so they can do just that. Shared Drive is led by OSCs that know the industry and the role inside out, have trained OSCs and built successful OSC teams.
Shared Drive can help home builders manage their OSC, sales, and marketing teams
We focus on fulfilling and closing the management and leadership gaps in their companies with our experienced team members. When a home builder needs someone experienced as soon as possible, our team is the answer. We also help home builders find and train a full-time OSC, so no matter what way you need help, all you need to do is to contact us to press the “easy” button!
As you can see, OSCs don’t fit neatly into sales or marketing individually, but they do contribute to and support both departments greatly. With the right education for your team and the right OSC, your company will quickly see the dividends of having a skilled OSC integrated into your team.