How Texting for Staffing is Changing in 2021

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In this 60 minute webinar, Zipwhip and SIA, the global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions, discuss the big changes to the business texting industry in 2021. This webinar covered:

• Why 2-way texting is critical for staffing and recruiting communication
• Common ways that staffing companies are leveraging texting today
• How changes to texting on local business numbers (10DLC) may require companies to evaluate their texting strategies
• Key considerations when choosing a texting provider

Watch our  webinar to learn how texting is changing and ensure that you are ready to reach more candidates and employees to fill jobs faster in 2021.

Starting at 7:00, Learn about the history of business texting and the different types of business texting (4 minute segment)

Starting at 12:12, High level overview of 10DLC, new carrier mandates (2 minute segment)

Starting at 14:36, Why texting is important for staffing and recruiting companies (8 minute segment)

Starting at 23:10, Common use cases for texting in staffing and recruiting  (8 minute segment)

Starting at 30:50, 2021’s key changes to the texting industry (11 minute segment)

Starting at 41:00, Key criteria when evaluating business texting providers (9 minute segment)

Starting at 50:00, Questions and answers from staffing and recruiting attendees across North America (11 minute segment)


Brandon Taft
Brandon Taft
Staffing & Recruiting Account Executive

Adrianne (SIA):

Hello and welcome to How Texting for Staffing is Changing in 2021. Texting is widely used by staffing companies, it’s one of the most effective and efficient ways to communicate with your workforce and fill jobs faster. But there’s a lot of big changes happening to the business texting industry in 2021 and we’re going to find out in the next hour or so what’s happening and how it’s going to affect you. I’m going to be joined today by Brandon Taft. He’s an account executive at Zipwhip. Hey, Brandon. And we’ll be telling you a little bit more about Brandon in just a moment. My name is Adrianne Nelson. I’m a senior director here at SIA and I’m responsible for our global membership products and of course these webinars.

SIA, now a little bit about SIA. As many of you know, we’re the global advisor for staffing and workforce solutions. We offer a range of events, research and editorial products for staffing firms and buyers that are focused specifically on staffing and solutions. Our members enjoy access to our research, our analysts, event discounts, editorial publications, advisory services. I see many of our members online today. Welcome, thank you for joining us. And if you’re not a member, let me know. I’m happy to tell you more about that. In terms of our next event, that would be September 10th, our Collaboration in the Gig Economy Conference. And it’s a unique conference where you can learn and collaborate live with your customers and your prospects. Stay tuned for that.

Now a little bit about where we are in the workforce solutions ecosystem today. This was designed by SIA and it’s to support staffing right at the center of the ecosystem with all the other areas of staffing that help staffing around it. Process outsourcing, payrolling and compliance, direct work engagement and of course, other workforce solutions. But particularly today, we’re going to look at talent acquisition technology. And the part of that we’re going to look at is candidate engagement.

Particularly within candidate engagement, we’re going to look at texting and email technology. Candidate engagement is unique in that it isn’t necessarily a particular step in the talent acquisition process. Good companies should be keeping candidates engaged from the initial outreach, through placement and redeployment. However, organizations can sometimes can fall short in keeping job candidates happy, productive and engaged. What we like to see is well designed engagement campaigns that make organizations more efficient, productive and they free up more time for recruiters to focus on higher value activities. Today, we’re going to talk about texting and within candidate engagement texting is one of the three subcategories that we’re going to look at.

With that, I’m going to move on to Zipwhip, How Texting for Staffing is Changing in 2021. First, I want to introduce Brandon. Brandon has the best mustache in the business by far, but he does specialize in texting trends and works to help staffing firms and other businesses incorporate texting and improve communication strategies. He’s an account executive at Zipwhip and he’s been there for about the past five years. With that, I’d like to move on and let Brandon talk about Zipwhip. Onto our textpert. Brandon, take it away.

Brandon (Zipwhip)          All right, Adrianne, thank you again for that warm welcome. Again, my name is Brandon and actually five years comes up, I want to say on June 20th. I will be five years working with different staffing agencies, kind of implementing texting into their kind of recruiter workflows, but enough about me. Kind of moving on to Zipwhip and kind of who we are as a company. And I guess Zipwhip, it all really got started at kind of the AT&T headquarters and with a block of Velveeta cheese. And basically what happened was our CEO came into a meeting with some other kind of executives and pointed to this block of Velveeta and said, “You see this toll free number? Why can’t I text this toll free number?”

And thus Zipwhip was born and kind of what we do and kind of have moved on from since then is we’ve become a texting solution for businesses working with existing landline toll-free and voice over IP phone numbers and turning those numbers on for two way conversational texting between businesses and their clients or in the case of the staffing industry, businesses and their candidates. And it’s all done cloud based kind of using one of our portals and the name of the game again, is really just engagement in conversation.

Adrianne (SIA):  And it started with Velveeta cheese, seriously?

Brandon (Zipwhip):        And it started with Velveeta cheese. It is a bit of lore within kind of the Zipwhip culture is that story right there.

Adrianne (SIA):  Is that why the colors are orange or no, that’s this one?

Brandon (Zipwhip):        I have no idea. And then the name Zipwhip, I get asked that as well. And I think it was just too fast sounding words that they put together.

Adrianne (SIA):  Got it.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Those are the origin stories.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay. Well, on with the agenda and congratulations on your five year anniversary.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Awesome. Thank you. But just a quick agenda before I move into the actual presentation. We’ll start with the importance of texting and why it’s still a very important kind of communication medium kind of in this space. Then I’ll move into some of the common use cases that I’ve seen my clients use texting for, just in the industry as a whole. And we’ll kind of work through kind of some of those applications of texting. Then I’ll get into the real kind of meat of the presentation, which is the key changes in the industry moving forward.

And just for a quick preview, I’m sure you’ve all kind of heard 10DLC kind of being thrown around within the space. And so that will be what that section will be. Then I’ll move into kind of some of the key considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re either reviewing your texting provider or choosing a new texting provider. And then of course, I’ll wrap things up with a Q and A session. And as Adrianne alluded to, if you have any questions that come up, please feel free to pop them into the chat. Adrianne will be monitoring and I’ll do my best to kind of field them as they come as well.

Onto the history of business texting. Texting itself is not a new technology. We’re actually coming up on the 30th anniversary of texting itself. Texting was really started back in 1992 and that first text that was ever sent was indeed Merry Christmas with a lowercase M. From early on, you can see that texting was designed as very conversational, personal means of communication. The first real big change that we saw in the space, particularly when it came to businesses was the advent of short codes. And I’m sure you have all received a kind of a automated message or a marketing message from either a five digit or a six digit number come in. But this was really kind of the advent of texting in the business space. And that was started 1999.

In 2007 this will the big inflection point for the industry as a whole because that was when we started to see Americans really gravitate more towards texting even more so than calling. That was at that point where the scale shifted in the favor of the text message and kind of around 2014 was when you really started seeing a shift away from just your one way high volume outbound business texting into a more conversational texting medium as well through companies such as Zipwhip, which enables a back and forth engagement platform.

Adrianne (SIA):  Look at those billions of texts, Brandon. My goodness.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Yeah. And that kind of gets into the recent changes here. And I think this is kind of through our traffic as well, which is pretty common, but in 2018, short code started being phased out, specifically shared short codes. And in 2020, we’ve only seen the exponential growth of texting kind of within the business space. And so I want to kind of direct the attention of everyone to this graph here to the right. And basically you can see how it started small, but my how it has grown. There has been a massive increase in traffic kind of over this channel. And this is really framing a lot of what’s being done kind of in the industry for 2021, specifically with regards to 10DLC in an efforts to really kind of control this growth and know who’s sending what and keep this conversational medium conversational and also relevant.

I’m sure you’ve all have at least two inboxes of emails where you get thousands and thousands of marketing and emails that go directly into the trash file. Or in my case with my I think 30 or 40,000 emails just never opened. The goal of the new changes to the industry is to keep that from happening. And a lot of it is predicated on this graph. I want you to just keep this chart on the back of your mind as I’m going through the rest of my presentation.

Adrianne (SIA):  Thanks, Brandon.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        All right. And I guess to kind of build on that, just to better define the different types of texting that we have in the space, as I mentioned, that original business texting was your short codes designed primarily for high volume, one way and automated messaging, not necessarily as conversational. I will focus more on the latter two, which is your landline, which I will kind of moving forward, kind of define as a 10 digit long code or 10DLC as I’ve been saying before, which is basically just industry jargon for your local area phone number. And then you have the toll free medium, which is kind of where one of the short code traffic is being moved towards. And then you have a fourth segment, which is not on the slide, which of course the cell phones, which is another medium that some businesses have chosen to adopt with its own issues.

But here, I’m going to pop up a quick poll question. And again, this is going to be really regarding kind of the 10DLC registration process and these carrier changes moving forward. I just wanted to kind of get a feel. Are you aware of 10DLC? Has your texting provider talked to you about the importance of 10DLC? Or even what it is? I’d love to kind of get to know where we’re coming from just as a group.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay Brandon, so we’ll go ahead and get those poll results from you all. And then we’ll post the poll results in a little while. I think we want to include that later. Take your time on filling those out and then we can move on.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        All right. Sweet deal. As we’re doing this, I’ll kind of keep moving on. And again, just to contextualize all of this, so this is the SparkNotes version. If you take away anything, just knowing what 10DLC is going to be the first and foremost. And basically it is a new set of carrier mandates again, that the AT&Ts, the Verizons, the T-Mobiles of the world are putting in place to better know and understand the type of traffic that businesses are sending between their customers. And they’re doing it really just to kind of preserve the medium as an effective conversational channel.

Again, the why of the 10DLC really is relating straight back to that increase in popularity. You saw that exponential growth curve. More and more and more messages are being sent year over year. And so this is the carriers’ attempt to really make sure that that stays very dialed and specifically to keep it a channel that is free of spam and just unsolicited, unwanted communications. And the what 10DLC is, basically it is a new channel that’s created by the mobile carriers specifically for business to consumer texting or as I’ll refer to kind of here on out, A2P, application to peer text messaging, specifically over local landline and voiceover IP phone numbers.

Adrianne (SIA):  Thanks for defining that, Brandon, because I know there’s a lot of acronyms in staffing and there’s certainly a lot of acronyms here in texting too. Thanks for doing that.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        And if you guys have questions about the acronyms as I’m going through, well, let me know. I can give a cheat sheet at the end, so you can kind of decipher the presentation if you want to look at it on your own agenda. But I guess to dig even farther into 10DLC, essentially the carriers are basically kind of creating a set of standards and their registration process that will again, just let them better understand who’s using 10DLC for A2P and what they’re sending across the network. Hitting out those acronyms right there. And that will be a registration process, that will be a registration with type of messages you’re sending and then there’ll be a trust score. And those three components I’ll get into later on in the presentation.

But I guess backing up a little bit, I’m going to kick it back into just why is texting still important? Again, it’s been around since 1992, it’s not anything new, but it is still definitely a very important medium.

And as we saw back in 2007, we saw this shift away from phone calls and specifically people being receptive or more receptive to phone calls. Some of the top five reasons we’ve really seen people starting to avoid phone calls, what has made this less effective? We live in a much more fast paced, globalized world. People are busy. They’re busy throughout their days. They’re in and out of meetings. They’re watching their kids. They’re doing different activities. It makes it hard to see a phone call and actually make time for that phone call. That’s one reason phone calls, no one answers. The second is people just tend to prefer to communicate different ways. Phone calling just really is tough for a lot of people to again, carve time out, it makes them uncomfortable. And that leads to number three, people just don’t like talking on the phone. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to get a millennial or gen Zer on a phone call.

Adrianne (SIA):  And others, yes, indeed.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        It is like pulling teeth and you can, but it is difficult. That in and of itself just makes calling tough, particularly because this is becoming at least in the kind of the work environment, a much larger segment of employees. Fourth reason, people just find phone calls intrusive. Again, to answer a phone call you have to kind of carve out the time to find a quiet spot and actually carry on that conversation. And that leads to number five, which people just don’t have time to carve out for said conversation. And I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, that meeting, that meeting could have been an email. Same thing here, that call, it could have been a text. A lot of the communication we need to do doesn’t need a carved out dedicated phone call to handle. You can handle it with a much faster, quicker communication.

Adrianne (SIA):  Yeah. Texting just enables you to do it a little bit more quietly, a little bit more efficiently sometimes too.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Exactly. And that kind of brings me into the why texting? And the main thing is just candidates just really aren’t answering the phone anymore. If they’re not answering the phone, if they’re not checking their email, how do you actually engage with them? In one of the surveys we ran, we saw that, and I want to say, this is across all industries, 97% of our respondents reported rejecting or ignoring a phone call specifically from an unknown business number. And within the staffing space, of course you have a high turnover of cell phones. Oftentimes people don’t save your number so that opens yourself up to that statistic right there.

Moving past that, we’ve also seen that 87% of those people were habitual repeat offenders. And so that makes it even harder to reach candidates via phone call. And then kind of segueing that to do recruiter side of things, we also found that 24% of businesses found it easy to get in touch with people. Not only are people not responding to phone calls, but it’s also difficult for recruiters to do their jobs for that reason as well as some other reasons. That kind of leaves you with this need, how do you engage with people? And the answer of course is text messaging.

And there’s a bunch of different forms that we’ve seen this really take kind of early on. We saw a big move towards cell phones and people using kind of their own personal devices to solve that need. And kind of in that same poll, we saw that 88% of people admitted to using cell phones to do that communication. And the problem with cell phones, they have a ton of utility, ton of power, but again, they’re not necessarily designed specifically for this type of business communication. With the cell phone, you can jeopardize customer privacy.

It puts that asset at risk. If your recruiter leaves or loses the device, all those conversations are lost. And I’m sure you all can corroborate this. If it didn’t happen in the ATS, it didn’t actually happen. This cell phone makes it much more difficult to get that information off of the cell phone, into the ATS, specifically in a catastrophic event of a lost device. And then also from an oversight perspective, it just makes it much more likelier or you don’t have as much oversight. You don’t know if your recruiters are texting in a compliant manner using the type of language and verbiage that you want associated with your business. The cell phone just opens up kind of a can of worms of issues.

And I guess that kind of brings me into the why of texting. And again, it’s very important, but it can be done correctly. And the main reasons why recruiters use texting again, just kind of working through the different reasons. Conversion rates is probably the number one thing. We’re trying to drive conversations, increase our time to hire, we want you to make more placements, reach more candidates. Basically that 97% of people that weren’t answering phone calls, we want to get that number as low as possible with text messaging so everyone’s answering them just so we can increase the size and velocity of your recruiters’ funnels. Second thing, we want to reduce the risk. We want to sure that those conversations are all being documented in the ATS. A nice thing about kind of these 10DLC cloud based solutions is, since they’re web based, oftentimes they’ll either be integrated into your applicant tracking system already or it’s very easy to pull those conversations or get a report of those conversations so you can have that documentation.

It also allows for quality oversight from a management perspective and it really mitigates the effect of if a device is lost since everything is stored to the cloud. Kind of associated with that, it saves time. We already talked or Adrianne alluded to kind of freeing up recruiters to more high value activities. The goal of this is to make it so your recruiters aren’t stuck sending emails and leaving voicemails. By adding a texting solution, you’re just going to speed up the workflow. You’re going to be able to reduce no shows, reduce touchpoints, just make your recruiters’ jobs easier, their lives easier. Just a higher overall satisfaction kind of within the workplace. And then the last little bit is just the staffing industry is probably one of the earliest adopters of text messaging as a whole. From a competitive advantage standpoint, this is one of the technologies that if you are not using it, you are putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage.

Specifically again, just because of those other three points, you’re going to see your response rates are higher with texting. You’ll be able to leverage just a larger suite of features with high volume messaging and working these into your cadences. And again, just looking back at the origin of texting, it’s designed to be a personal communication tool. The first text was Merry Christmas. And even within a business perspective, it’s still very personal. Using that you can build stronger relationships. You can kind of keep these candidates coming back to you job after job. And then also it just helps you reach passive candidates. If you ever need to reach out to people who might’ve fallen out of the pipeline, it helps with that as well.

Adrianne (SIA):  Hey Brandon, one question we had come in and also, around candidate engagement, I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t include texting in your plans. It just makes a bunch of sense there. But is texting proven to elicit a greater response than emails? That’s a question from John.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Yes, definitely. Let’s see, digging back into my archive of learned knowledge. I want to say that open rates of text messages is about 97%. And I think 90% within the first five minutes for texts being opened. Even if you’re not necessarily eliciting a response from just an optics perspective, getting in view of that candidate, that’s going to just drop shoot that way up right there. And then I want to say some of the stats that I saw thrown around for response rates were in the 40ish percent rate for texting opposed to in the single digits for calling and emailing. Right there, you’re seeing a many times over effectiveness increase by having text messages. And I can pull the literature after the presentation, if anyone’s more interested in that, that is just off the top of my head. That’s what I recall.

Adrianne (SIA):  Yeah. And you know what? After the presentation we’ll send you John’s question if you want to elaborate on it too.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Okay, perfect. Okay. I guess moving into the next segment, just some of the common use cases that I’ve really seen done or helped implements with my clients adding texting. Going back to that original use case, the use case for the short code texting that has been now migrated into A2P texting, as well as toll-free texting. It’s the high volume use case, the ability to send group messages. Imagine you’re a recruiter, you have a list of candidates from a tearsheet or a hot list that you want to reach out to all in one fell swoop about a job opening. You have a rush order you need to fill, you insert scenario here. Basically with many texting solutions, you’ll have the ability to do a group text where you can load in candidates and do a broadcast out to everyone so they can see that. And you’re doing the one to many. You’re reducing a 100 touch points the recruiter needs to make and making it one touch point. That then hits a 100 candidates. That is the tried and true kind of original texting use case.

But moving it even further, there’s a lot of different reasons you would use texting above and beyond that. And again, it all surrounds just driving engagement, having things like your pre-canned messages, your templated messages that allow you to kind of create this common language across all of your recruiters. Having different touch points that you can then schedule out like alarm clock text messages or first day on the job texts. If you’ve ever had an issue with candidates ghosting or no-showing interviews or jobs, sending a reminder text often is all it takes, just that little nudge to get them actually to show up to work.

Adrianne (SIA):  Yeah. I’ve heard ghosting’s a big deal right now with staffing firms, big deal with candidates.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Yeah. And that’s the use case I think that was the alarm clock text was described to me by a client at a conference maybe four years ago. It is again, just a tried and true way to get candidates to show up to things. Also within that, from a recruiter perspective, cutting down on their work, helping them streamline and automate their recruiting cadences, their workflows, their practices. Things like different scheduled campaigns or future text messages, also important aspects of where recruiters are using text messages. These different touch points that make the recruiters’ jobs easier and also get in front of the candidates. And then even moving past your standard SMS into the MMS side of things or the picture messaging. I don’t know if you’ve ever had an issue with candidates not submitting timesheets. It’s very easy for a candidates to go onto their cell phone, I think every cell phone these days has the ability to take a picture. Snap a photo, text it in, there you go, you have your documentation. Same thing with onboarding credentialing. All of these are different things I’ve seen and helped my clients use texting for.

And then I guess on top of that, automation and personalization are also big aspects of some best practices for texting. Have you thought about using texting kind of in the marketing sense? What comes to mind here is the traditional keyword texts. I’m sure you’ve all seen the commercial come on or across the radio or on the billboard for a personal injury attorney, text injury to 555555. For a recruiter, text careers to 55555. That type of marketing, are you incorporating keywords into your different workflows and cadences, ad words, banner ads? Is that something you use texting for?

Also, keeping things personal. Part of maintaining kind of the sanctity of texting is doing all of this business communication will also maintain that relationship with a client. Are these text messages dynamic? Are they personalized? Do you have it addressed to a specific candidate or is it just a generic one to all? Keeping things dynamic is also an aspect of texting that is important. And I guess I’ve already kind of hit on the scheduling and the cadence side of things, but again, just using this automation to reduce the type of or just make your recruiters lives that much easier.

And then of course the oft forgot side of texting is just, how are you actually promoting or marketing texting? How are you incorporating this in your top of funnel? It’s very interesting to me because oftentimes I’ll onboard a client and before we even do any no training or set up above and beyond just activating the numbers, we’ll go into their accounts and they’ll see 10, 20 unread messages of just candidates organically seeing their number and texting them before they’ve even prepared themselves to respond to things. It’s obvious that candidates want to text, but how would you increase that number? How do you let the candidates know that they can text? What goes into that is, do you have the ability to brand call or text on your contact us page? Is it in your email signatures? Do you have it worked into your voice messages or on your social media?

All these different kind of channels where people are seeing your number and calling, the goal here is just the educational component of actually informing your candidates that they can also text. And there’s a bunch of different ways to do that. And if you guys want to pick my brain further, please let me know.

But I guess that segues into some of the key changes that we’re really seeing in 2021. And I already kind of gave the SparkNotes version above, but the main thing is just the shift specifically for business texting to 10DLC. And it does sound a bit scary. There’s a registration process, there’s a trust score. There’s a lot that goes into it. And the thing about this is this is also a benefit for you as businesses as well. We do not want texting to become ineffective because it is such a easy, fast touch solution. Keeping things conversational and relevant is very important and this is kind of the carriers’ solution to that. And the benefits of 10DLC, first can allow you to text from your business number. Something that you have spent time and energy, sweat, tears and blood to build equity in, that number that people know you by, being able to text from that just further creates that relationship. It is something you have put a lot of energy in.

Adrianne (SIA):  It’s value.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Exactly. Also 10DLC is going to improve the deliverability and throughput. That’s the other side of things is the actual quality content of these messages. We want those numbers to stay in the nineties of open rates and the forties of response rates. We want these to be delivered, to be seen. And so this is going to help improve that. Being able to text from your business number as well allows just from a branding and a marketing perspective to have one number does it all. It also is a more cost effective solution oftentimes than buying cell phones or business cell phones for people and even looking towards those original mass messagers, short code numbers, oftentimes a 10DLC solution can be much more economic. And then of course, it’s just going to help regulate for spam and just protect your candidates as consumers and you as businesses.

Adrianne (SIA):  And it looks like our poll has come through, Brandon, whenever you’re ready to look at that.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        All right. Okay. Seems like we have 22% are ahead of the curve and have had a conversation surrounding 10DLC and then the rest either don’t text or have not talked about it. This seems like we have a very large segment where this is good information. For that 58% of people who have not talked to your texting provider about 10DLC, hopefully this presentation can start helping you with your questions and maybe even answering some of them, but also prepare you to have that conversation when the time does come. Good to see there.

But I guess going into further demystifying why this matters to you and why it’s important. Again, it’s a set of standards and regulations and there are things that will be going into it. And this is one of those things where it’s kind of like it’s it is coming. It is that Indiana Jones boulder that’s rolling down the street. There’s really no way to avoid it. If you want to use 10DLC in the A2P channel, you will have to register with your provider at some point. This is a conversation that you will eventually have to have. Hopefully this kind of sparks that.

And basically with registering, there’s two different aspects to this registration. The first is you’re going to have to register your business and your business number, just so the carriers kind of know who’s sending what’s across their network and who is the actual entity reaching out with their end users, all the candidates on the cell phone. And you’ll have to register your business but then as part of that registration, you’ll also have to register the type of messages that you will be sending across this network, whether it’s marketing and messaging or recruiting text messages or service text messages, sales text messages. There’s a very, very long list of all the different aspects, but basically as part of understanding what’s being sent, they need to know the type of messages and so you also have to do that registration as well.

And then based on that, the other part will be the trust score that’s assigned to your business. And this is done through a third party agency. And basically this agency is going to assign your business based on the type of messages you’re sending and the volume of messages you’re sending and kind of assess you as either a low risk or a high risk business. And with low risk, typically you’ll see this for businesses that are using texting for things like two factor authentication, just opted in dental reminders. Your more one way informational texting.

And then for high risk, which is where kind of we would see the staffing industry kind of trending towards given the propensity for that broadcast volume, you’ll see texting again, broadcast messages about debt relief or job opportunities, et cetera. And this is going to impact your allocated throughput, as well as just kind of the security of this, not security, excuse me. It’ll just affect the messages you can send and how fast you can send on a daily basis. Being able to dial in your use cases, being able to dial in the different aspects of texting, higher texting your content is really going to help affect that so you can prepare for the future.

Adrianne (SIA):  You make it look so easy. Just three steps.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Three steps. Yes, three steps with a million bullet points below. But I guess the three steps that do kind of help you prepare, again, the first one is just being aware. And looking at our poll it seems like about two thirds of our respondents, this is fairly new to them, the whole aspect of 10DLC. It’s important. The first step is knowledge and just being aware of the possible impact. The fact that you will have to register, the fact that this will potentially impact your throughput. And just by being aware, this kind of puts you ahead of the curve with regards to preparation and also again, just dialing in the type of messages you’re sending, the reason you’re sending it, your different workflows, your strategies around texting. That awareness really helps you prepare for everything.

The second is just to talk to your provider. Chances are, they already have a strategy and a plan surrounding this for registering you as a client for all these different aspects. It’s important just to have that conversation, to call up your representative, see what their strategy is, see what their plan is, see if they have any information surrounding 10DLC or different best practices or protocols that they’ve put into place. Striking up that conversation is another big component that you can do to help prepare for what’s coming down the line.

Adrianne (SIA):  Brandon, we have a quick question from Kara that’s pretty relevant. When exactly are all the regulations going into place? And is a business required to register with all carriers directly? Or can your texting provider do that for them?

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Okay, I’ll do my best to answer. This might be for a more in depth answer best handled offline.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay, that’s fine.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        But I believe it is kind of a general registry and it’s a very moving date. From what I’ve heard internally at Zipwhip, the marker keeps getting extended and you keep different registration and grace periods. Kind of it’s a very moving thing, but it is definitely coming in the not too distant future.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay. That’s fair enough.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        I’ve heard April, last April.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay. All right. Great. I think what we can do is just for some of these, we’re getting a ton of questions from our audience, which is great, you guys. But Brandon is going to be happy to answer them with the Zipwhip team offline if we don’t get to them so don’t worry if we don’t get to your questions. Carry on Brandon.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Okay, perfect. And then the third point is just consider your options. What types of text messaging are you sending? What channel are you sending them through? 10DLC again, is designed specifically for that A2P texting channel that is done across your 10 digit long code, local area code phone numbers. Is a 10DLC solution the best solution for you? If it is then again, prepare a strategy around that. But there are some other options as well that you can potentially explore. Things like cell phones, toll free numbers are governed by a different set of restrictions. Short codes, I know they’re no longer issuing shared short codes, but they’re still an option. And for a lot of businesses the short code option does fit the need. Just understanding the different solutions out there also prepares you to kind of create a plan of action.

And that leads me into different considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when you are either choosing a texting provider or kind of given the industry, doing any sort of reviews or renewals of your current texting provider.

And the first thing you’ll want to know is again, just how much do you need? What do you need? Are you the type consumer that only needs a software solution, you want the out of the box plug and play solution? Or are you the type of person that needs a higher degree of customization and extensibility? What sort of integrations does your provider have? Do they have browser or Chrome extensions that let you text from web pages? Are you the type of person that needs to get even more custom? Do they have embeddables? Do they have a fully functioning API where you can go out and build your own texting solution? It’s important to come in knowing exactly what you want and how much resources and effort you want to put into that for the degree of customization you need.

The second is knowing the type of texts you will be sending. Again, are you the type of business that is primarily concerned with high volume, one way? Are you a short code user? And is that going to solve the need? Are you more of the peer-to-peer, one-to-one low volume, which again, you can think more of like a traditional cell phone or something that doesn’t have the features that allow for that super high volume 10 transactions a second delivery and might be more like 50 a day. Are you the type of person that is not going to be sending quite as many messages, but as more concerned with the software itself?

And then of course that leads us into application appear or the two way high volume. Kind of a marriage of the short code or the peer-to-peer. And what type of deliverability environment are you looking for? And that’s also important to keep in mind because each vendor kind of has their own strengths.

Third bit is going to be what sort of onboarding implementation and ease of adoption does your solution or your provider have? Do they have the ability to do training? Is it going to be online training? Is it going to be in person training? Do they have a support network? Are they going to be working with you from a success and implementation standpoint? Are they going to be able to dial into your specific industry to talk use cases or applications? Are they going to incentivize adoption for your recruiter? Basically what is the solution strategy to make sure that you’re not just buying a software, but also adapting and implementing a software so you’re seeing that ROI?

Fourth consideration, of course we’d all like to pretend that nothing ever goes wrong and it seldom does, but in the case it does go wrong, you want to know kind of what their support resources are as well. Do they have a chat bot or an online support channel where you can go in and do your own troubleshooting? Do they have live customer technical support? You’re going to see very different things from your brand spanking new, five employee startup compared to your hundreds, if not thousands of employees giant industry leaders.

Adrianne (SIA):  Yeah, makes sense.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Do they have a 9:00 to 5:00 support team? Do they have sales reps who are also acting as support people? Do they have a dedicated seven days a week support team? Kind of what do they have accessible to you as a consumer? And then of course, you’ll also want to investigate kind of what the relationship is at a carrier level. Do they have a network operations team? Or do they have direct lines of communications to their network operations team? In case something goes down, are you and are they left kind of in the blank, hoping that the business will get up and running? Or do they have a direct line of communication updating you in real time about the status of the network outage? All these different aspects of support are things you want to keep in mind.

And of course the last aspect of texting is the compliance and security side of things. Basically you want to make sure that the provider you’re working with is not just creating a solution, but also helping you text in a responsible manner. Different things you’ll want to look into is do they have SOC2 compliance? Are they working with TCPA compliance laws? If you’re in the medical realm, do they have a strategy around HIPAA compliance? And then just kind of on the screen are just some different bodies you’ll want to kind of take note of. And then also just from a solutions perspective, how do they encrypt their data? How secure is their data? How does their API archive send messages to make sure that nothing is inadvertently lost or deleted? That kind of goes in eDiscovery as well. Do they have an opt out? And that is probably one of the most basic, if you text, stop, is that going to keep messages from going out? And then of course, what strategies does the carrier have around making sure they’re monitoring for spam or phishing or just different rogue texts, like bad text messages.

Adrianne (SIA):  Hey Brandon, one question before we go there, this came in early on, Bradley was thinking early on about this. He says, “We have multiple SMS providers and we have different trust scores in the central registry. What’s your recommendation for only having one overall trust score for the company?”

Brandon (Zipwhip):        That one I might need to defer to our team. That’s a bit more in the weeds on 10DLC.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay. We’ll do that.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Especially with multiple scores.

Adrianne (SIA):  No problem. No problem at all. Threw you a curve ball there, so that’s all right. You got a whole team behind you who can help him.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Yeah, no. Zipwhip has dedicated a lot of resources into getting ahead of 10DLC. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a good answer for you.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay. Thank you.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Okay, and then that just kind of leads me to just the five key takeaways. If you remember nothing else in my presentation, at least these five things will hopefully have made this a beneficial outing for you all. And the first is just to remember, even though texting has been around since 1992, it is more important than ever. That graph showing that exponential growth kind of validates that. People are texting and not just businesses texting out, but also candidates and customers texting back in. You’ll also want to know that not all texting is created equal. It’s important to know the type of texting you’re doing, type of texting that you want to do and knowing the difference and knowing your options.

Third, 10DLC is happening. There’s no ifs, ands or buts or ways around it. Be prepared, talk to your provider. The fourth, keep the aforementioned things that I just went through when you’re doing a review or renewal or just looking at acquiring a texting provider because it’s important to again, kind of know who you’re going with and have trust and faith that you’re going to see that ROI with your provider. And then the fifth is when you are comparing providers, just be mindful of what they are specialized for, the different services they provide and make sure that you are doing an apples to apples comparison of the different options out there.

And on that, I will now open it up for any questions that we have.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay, well, we’re going to open it up. We have a ton of questions here. Here we go, Brandon, and feel free.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        All right, I’ll do my best.

Adrianne (SIA):  Gear up. Any thoughts on using text as a followup to leaving a voicemail either at the same time or the day following as a way to further engage cold candidates who may not know our company?

Brandon (Zipwhip):        That was a use case that was described to me, very, very early on, as the one two punch of voicemails. A lot of times you’ll want to also include the texting option in your voicemail, but then also supplementing the voicemail. And this goes not just for voicemail, for email as well. Having that text associated with that touch point just makes everything more effective because you can then not only open up texting as a channel of communication, but also draw attention to the fact that you sent them an email, sent them a voicemail. And just kind of elaborate on that further, texting is short form communication. It’s not designed to replace email. It’s not designed to replace phone calling. It’s designed to supplement those two. And by opening up texting, it’s going to make those other two more effective. Off of that voicemail, you can potentially turn that into a call or you can draw them to the email that has a much larger amount of information potentially in it.

Adrianne (SIA):  Got you. And a lot of questions came through asking about the difference between specific texting providers. I’m going to ask that people, meet with Brandon directly to cover those details. Let’s see, I’m going to give you another question here. Can you give any tips on how to make sure the text is personalized enough, but also includes keywords? I don’t want it to seem like they are texting a robot.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        The biggest thing that I’ve seen personally is from an outbound initiation standpoint, keeping it dynamic. I’m sure you’ve all done this with emails as well. Is it going to be the high comma or just starting cold? Or are you going to actually address them? Is this, “Hi Adrianne, this is Brandon from Zipwhip Recruiting. We have a job opening that we think you are perfectly suited for.” Right then and there, the candidate sees and addresses them, there’s already a built in aspect because they know that it’s coming from a specific person or a specific company.

And basically just from a branding perspective, how are you keeping it conversational? I would hope that most people on the call are not robots. Looking at these messages and reviewing them, send it to yourself, send it to your colleagues. Does it look like it came from a robot? Or does it look like it’s something that’s personalized to you? Something that is friendly and inviting. The objective thing is to let the candidate know it’s to them and from you but then also just being English speakers or the language of the candidate you’re trying to place and knowing how to kind of tailor that to feel conversational, that’s also very important.

Adrianne (SIA):  Right. Okay. And a 10DLC question for you from Kelly. See how you feel about this one. Does 10DLC focus on one number for the company? Our solution right now assigns individual numbers to each recruiter so it feels more personal and easier to route responses to the right folks.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        I believe that your registration, and again, I can dig into a more technical solution for you after, but I believe that your registration and your trust score is per company. A lot of solutions will do a DID and then some do team, but everything at the end is going to funnel up to your business, being the entity sending those text messages.

Adrianne (SIA):  Got it. And if there’s any change in that, you can just get back to Kelly after this presentation. All right. From Jason, we have a question. Do you have any best practices around how much of a text conversation gets brought back into the ATS? If there’s auto logging in ATS, are there best practices around protecting personal health information or other sensitive data?

Brandon (Zipwhip):        Personal health and sensitive data, I might defer to your legal counsel with regards to compliance for like HIPAA or what have you. But as far as logging back into the ATS, I personally am of the opinion that everything is important and nothing should be deleted ever, because from a context perspective, it’s important to know the full conversation as a whole. But from a documentation standpoint, usually the way I’ve seen a lot of integrations set up is it’ll take a timeframe and log it into the ATS from the first text within that timeframe to the end of that timeframe.

That might be more specific to your business, but what have you seen? How long does a texting conversation typically take? You probably don’t want it set to be one minute, but do you need it to be a couple hours? And it creates that log on per couple hours? Or do you need it to be a full day? Again, dialing in that level of precision is very personal, but also important. I would say a lot of my clients keep it around the two hour mark, but it really is kind of based on the types of conversation your recruiters are having.

Adrianne (SIA):  Okay. Thanks, Brandon. And then finally, I think I’d like to talk about is there an unlimited level, as far as outgoing messages go per day with companies like Zipwhip and your competitors? This is from Cindy.

Brandon (Zipwhip):        I think 10DLC is really going to change things and I think it’s fairly dynamic, but a lot of it will be based on trust score and the type of texts you’re sending and the way that you’re sending them. And again, I know that there’s different rules and laws between full free versus 10DLC. But a lot of providers already throttle their messages fairly heavily from an infrastructure perspective. And so they might say that they’re unlimited, but they’ll be unlimited to a point. Whereas some providers will go through a short code or a toll free number or even have a very strong gateway where they can offer an unlimited solution. And there’s a bunch of different businesses that offer both and a lot of different pricing options. That’s part of how you’ll want to investigate a provider. Do they charge per message? Are the unlimited? What’s their plan around 10DLC? Some say they’re unlimited, but actually aren’t and some are unlimited, but that might be changing. Some charge per message, some don’t. Again, just fairly dynamic.

Adrianne (SIA):  Good answer though. Thank you. All right. With that, I think we’re going to have to wrap up our Q and A. We’ve got one minute left to close and I want to share some other stuff with you guys. I want to thank first of all, Zipwhip for a fantastic presentation and for your sponsorship. Brandon, I really want to thank you. For anybody who has questions, you can call or text the textpert and you can also email him as well with additional questions. And you will get this presentation in about 48 hours.

Also, there’s a couple of resources for corporate members we have. These are some links to those. If you’re a corporate member with SIA, you can access some of this information, including the workforce solutions ecosystem that I discussed earlier, our talent acquisition technology ecosystem as well, which will give you a hint of some of the providers as well. With that, I want to thank our audience. You guys have been great. Thank you for your wonderful questions. Thank you for being so attentive and for being with us again for this thought leadership webinar around texting. And again, thank you to Zipwhip and with that, have a great rest of your day and I’m looking forward to seeing you all on the next webinar. Thanks, Brandon. Thank you.


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