Zipcast Episode 19: Leveraging Business Texting for Staffing (ft. Premier Employee Solutions)

Zipwhip traveled to Utah to visit the corporate office of Premier Employee Solutions. Premier is one of the largest staffing companies in North America, providing clients with thousands of temporary staff every month. We went hundreds of miles to speak directly with Riley Snell, Premier’s vice president of digital innovation, to learn about their business texting program and how it’s changed the way they recruit candidates.

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Podcast transcript:

Scott Heimes: Welcome to the Zipcast, where we talk about the latest trends in texting for business, customer communication strategies, and technology. I’m your host, Scott Heimes, chief marketing officer at Zipwhip. Thanks for tuning in.

Scott Heimes: Zipwhip traveled to Utah to visit the corporate office of Premier Employee Solutions. Premier is one of the largest staffing companies in North America, providing clients with thousands of temporary staff every month. We went hundreds of miles to speak directly with Riley Snell, Premier’s VP of digital innovation, to learn about their business texting program and how it’s changed the way they recruit candidates.

Scott Heimes: Well, tell me your name and your role at Premier.

Riley Snell: Yeah. Riley Snell. I’m the VP of digital innovation and marketing here at Premier Group.

Scott Heimes: What does Premier do? What do you guys do?

Riley Snell: Yeah, Premier Group is primarily a staffing agency. We staff within the light industrial industry. Our main focus is third party logistics, manufacturing, warehousing, those types of jobs, typically your minimum wage to slightly above minimum wage jobs across the country. We employ, the people that make the world go around.

Scott Heimes: How many employees, how many end people do you hire?

Riley Snell: Yeah, great question. So we have internally 300 employees across the country, recruiters, payroll, HR, risk management, sales, with the majority of those being in our recruiting space, probably about 250 of those 300 are in our recruiting offices. And we employ 11- to 12,000 people a week across the country.

Scott Heimes: That’s incredible. Tell us what makes you guys unique? What’s different about premier?

Riley Snell: Yeah. Premier, we take a very hands on approach. We’re a very flat organization. Our CEO, our COO are very involved in the day to day processes, and they are there to support our clients, our recruiters, and so we’re a very tight knit family-oriented organization. We adopt the term the “Premier pride.” Our logo is a lion, and we really are a pride, a family. And we view our recruiters that way, and we view the people that we hire as part of our pride. We really try to welcome them into that family.

Scott Heimes: So your job is to acquire new customers. So tell us about sort of the acquisition workflow. It starts with usually job boards and then it ends with a new person showing up for work.

Riley Snell: Correct.

Scott Heimes: And so can you just tell us about how that works? And how texting fits into that?

Riley Snell: Yeah. So yeah, we post our jobs on your traditional job boards: Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Facebook has a job board. We also use Facebook ads, your traditional Facebook advertising. We also use Instagram ads. We’re looking at Snapchat ads. We have our website, so our applicants come in a number of different ways. And once they provide us with that initial contact information and expressing their interests, we take their information, and we put it into an automated platform that we’ve homegrown and built out ourselves here with Zipwhip being a big part of it. So we have Google sheets that are connected to Zipwhip via our Zapier integration that you guys have built.

Riley Snell: When we take our applicants from our job board sources and put them into these Google sheets, it triggers an event in Zapier, which then triggers a texting campaign, which right now is about three to four text messages depending upon the office, through Zipwhip. And they receive those text messages with additional information, links, addresses, Google maps locations. We’re even working toward adding a Calendly link so that people can schedule interviews, but they’ll go into that text message campaign. My team here centralized with the marketing department will manage that initial outreach. And then from there our recruiters jump on and continue the conversation via the desktop application that Zipwhip has or the web-based version.

Scott Heimes: That’s fantastic. Such an interesting story. So are you guys using the mobile apps at all?

Riley Snell: We are, yeah. We have a few recruiters who are in and out of the office space, either working onsite with our clients or our associates as we call them, those temporary workers that work for us. And so as they’re on the go, a lot of them are using the mobile application.

Scott Heimes: Tell us why did you select Zipwhip? How’d you hear about us? Why’d you select us? What kind of process did you go through?

Riley Snell: So before Zipwhip came along, we were using three different text messaging platforms. We were using a company here in Utah called Skipio. We were using RingCentral’s texting abilities, and then we were also using a company called Instaply. And there was a reason for each one of those. The RingCentral allowed us to text from our office phone numbers, and we could also send out broadcasts that way, mass text messages. And so our recruiters were familiar with that tool and they were using it before I came on. So we had that.

Riley Snell: Skipio came along because we could build out text messaging campaigns, multi-text campaigns, and they also had a Zapier integration which allowed us to trigger those campaigns. Instaply was there because it was kind of this hybrid of the capabilities between RingCentral and Skipio, and it really helped us solve some missed call issues. What we were able to do was when someone called our office and if we missed their call, we could trigger a text message back to them saying, “We’re sorry we missed your call. Would you like to continue the conversation via text?” And so people felt that they were being heard or paid attention to and we could start or continue that conversation in a much more convenient way for everybody.

Riley Snell: So what it came down to is as we realized what our use cases were and what we wanted them to be, we knew we had to find a solution that can handle all of them at that point. So with, with our investigation, we did your typical research, a lot of Google searches, a lot of lead generations for a number of competitors as well as Zipwhip. And what it came down to was the fact that we could port our RingCentral phone numbers into Zipwhip and then the fact that we could utilize the Zapier integration, which was a huge part of our workflow and still is. We also really liked the fact that we could have that one to many interaction, but also many to many interaction with multiple users logging into their Zipwhip account, their phone number for that office, so we could have multiple recruiters touching one person or multiple people via the conversation there.

Riley Snell: Also the pricing, honestly, pricing was great. We were really surprised. The competitors that are out there that we looked at were 25 to 50 percent more, easy.

Scott Heimes: That’s good to hear, warming my heart here. Going back to your program for a minute, I forgot to ask this question.

Riley Snell: You’re fine.

Scott Heimes: Tell us, you guys have 200 or so recruiters, and you’re using I think 80 plus lines.

Riley Snell: Correct.

Scott Heimes: Tell us how many recruiters you have and how many lines.

Riley Snell: Yeah, so yeah, 80 lines or so. It might be more, we add some every week it seems like, which is great because our business is growing, and then the recruiting base has about 250 to 280 people. And so our user base is quite large, and we have users that are using multiple numbers as they travel around and help different offices or an area that they may be in where they interact with multiple offices and recruit out of multiple branches. So that’s been good. And I apologize. What was your question?

Scott Heimes: Just what your future plan is. Do you see everybody having a line at some point?

Riley Snell: Yeah, that’s really where we’ve gotten to at this point. It’s been kind of interesting. As we first got started with Zipwhip, we only activated our main branches. Well, again, as we got more familiar with the tool and found more use cases, we just started giving almost every phone number that we had Zipwhip access. So we have in many cases, our branches are recruiting central hubs where people come in and are interviewed and things like that, but we also have what we call onsite managers and they have phone numbers and people will call in, “Hey, I’m sick. I can’t make it to work today, or I’m running late, whatever it may be.” But we’ve also found that people want to text that in. And so we’ve activated those lines as well.

Scott Heimes: That’s phenomenal. It’s such an exciting story. So let’s turn to innovation a little bit. So when you think about innovation around business texting, what comes to mind to you?

Riley Snell: Yeah, with the innovation around business texting, just being able to provide a solid customer experiences is what we’re looking for. We live in an on-demand world. And so I’m sure you remember as a longtime marketer, the day when we could call people by their first name in emails and how awkward and almost creepy that was, but how quickly it was accepted. And now we’re in a stage where people want you to know who they are. They want you to be able to have you continue their experience while maintaining their privacy. And so texting I think is a great way to do that.

Riley Snell: So with the innovation within business texting, I think the RCS is the next big thing. I really do. It’ll be interesting to see what we can send, what type of experiences we can provide people, whether it’s a form or a document or a survey or something that they can interact with right away on their smart phone via text message, rather than clicking on a link that takes them to their browser. They can interact with all of that right within their text message platform, whatever it may be.

Riley Snell: I think that’ll be a great innovation to see the tracking that comes behind that, the knowledge of the customer, the voice of the customer, getting to know them via text message. I mean think about the way you interact with your friends and family via text message. I see business texting being very similar and that’s how people want to be interacted with. They want to be treated as a friend as a familiar. And texting will allow for that in the near future, if it doesn’t already. Yeah.

Scott Heimes: What do you see as a future for your company in text messaging?

Riley Snell: Yeah. The future for us really is what we like to call one touch recruiting. We want the entire process to be able to be started and completed on somebody’s phone. These mobile devices that we carry are amazing. And so to be able to take somebody through that entire process takes all those things that I just mentioned. It takes the automation, the triggers, the keyword recognition, the AI, so that we can push somebody down the process and they feel, again, as if they’re being helped by a human and that their experience is being continued rather than stopped or restarted.

Riley Snell: And so when we can get to that point and somebody walks into our branch for that final step of here’s my ID, here’s the paperwork I completed, whatever it may be, and we interact with them face to face one time, everyone will be happy with that. And that’s very much like the Uber model, if you think of it that way, is you interact with humans very little, but it never feels like you’re interacting with a machine.

Scott Heimes: All right. Awesome. That’s a wrap. Thank you very much.

Riley Snell: Thank you.

Scott Heimes: That was awesome.

Scott Heimes: Thanks for joining us. Now if you’re like me, you enjoy nerding out on texting data and industry predictions. So go ahead and download our new 2020 State of Texting report. You can find this at zipwhip.com/SOT2020. And make sure you subscribe to the Zipcast on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen, so you get the latest episodes. And feel free to text us with topics you’d like to hear about or other feedback for the show. Just send a text to (347) 772-3529. Until next time.

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