I love a challenge, and have spent the last 10 years leading and transforming large $100M+ lines of business across Eastern Europe and Asia. This has involved a significant turnaround in business performance by executing revenue growth consistently alongside margin expansion in environments that are both resource and capital constrained.
Last year I made the decision to come ‘home’ and move to Boulder, Colorado with my family where I continue to engage with C-level executives in helping them to accelerate the digital transformation journey.
On today’s episode of SHRM Live, David Gilbert speaks with William Tincup about the use case of Whispir, and how this platform can drastically increase conversion rates with your leads.
The no-code, drag and drop approach makes Whispir accessible for any company. If you need to bulk send emails, texts, and the like they have you covered. There’s more than just one use case of Whispir, listen in to find out if this platform could make you money and make your life easier.
Highlights about the use case of Whispir:
So the north star for us has been, and always will be engagement. Ultimately if you send a message, you want it to be consumed by the recipient. I mean, it sounds pretty obvious, right? But it’s difficult because we are inundated with social media messaging. If your messages are not getting engagement, you need to do something about that.
Listening time: 25 minutes
Enjoying the podcast?
Thanks for tuning in to this special SHRM episode of The Use Case Podcast. SHRM Talent converges top talent from all across the HR and Recruiting space. Luckily, William Tincup is lifting up the curtain to blessed you with some insight from these industry titans.
David Gilbert is the Vice President of Whispir, and wants recruiters to understand that there’s a lot of ways that their platform can increase message conversion rates and keep momentum between you and your potential hires.
Likewise, if you’re digging the podcast then subscribe through your favorite platform!
Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast, live from SHRM Talent, a show dedicated to the story that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. We’re pulling back the curtain and asking the hard questions. It’s what we do. It’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup: (00:28)
Ladies and gentlemen. This is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case Podcast today. We have David on from Whisper, and we’ll be talking about the use case to the business case for why prospects and customers use Whisper. So, David, with any further to do, would you please introduce both yourself and Whisper?
David Gilbert: (00:44)
Yeah. So, hey, hello everyone. Yeah. I’m David Gilbert. I head of Whisper here in North America, an avid soccer fan, as we’ve just been discussing based out of Boulder, Colorado is our North America headquarters. Whisper is a 20 year old company actually, but originally out of Melbourne, Australia. And then we’ve been in North America market about two years growing like crazy, having a lot of fun along on the way with it. Whisper itself is a multi-channel communication platform. So we offer the ability to be able to send messages through WhatsApp, SMS, email, voice, social. So basically every channel, the ability to curate a message in one place and send it across multiple channels. We like to also say that we are four people who are not developers. We are the exact opposite. So we are a no code platform, drag and drop and anybody can use it. So we pride ourselves in getting our clients up and running within 24 hours and getting them sending out messages without the need for any kind of design or technical assistance.
William Tincup: (01:50)
I love that. I love that on so many levels. So one of the things I wanted to ask you is with multichannel, can you do, like in marketing automation, they do kind of drip campaigns and things like that. Can you do those types of campaigns?
David Gilbert: (02:04)
Yeah, absolutely. So the key for us, so workflows are really the key. So when we taught the clients, usually the discussion starts with, okay, just tell me what methods of communication you can deploy. And then we start to get into discussions about, okay, hold on a second. How can we actually automate a manual task? So there’s lots of examples whereby we’ve worked with local governments, for example, to automate instances of occurrences in the community. So let’s say, there’s graffiti or whatever. So they’re able to get an SMS on their phone, go to what we call a rich message, which basically looks like a web form on your phone. Be able to fill that in. That will trigger an event in the local government. Maybe it’ll be sent to a person that needs to go fix it.
David Gilbert: (02:48)
And then that will continue to trigger workflows around, okay, you now need to respond that you have fixed it, respond back to the citizen, that’s done. So a number, it can be as simple, as complex as you want, in terms of those triggers and those workflows. From marketing perspective, you can schedule.
William Tincup: (03:02)
David Gilbert: (03:04)
Messages at certain times of the day. So if you want, we can also throttle messages. So for large use cases where we have clients that are sending out hundreds of thousands of SMS a day, we can throttle that and make sure it’s also within business hours. So nobody wants to get a message that is at 9:00 PM at night. You won’t react well to that. Right?
William Tincup: (03:25)
David Gilbert: (03:26)
So we also manage that also. So yeah, yeah. A bunch of different things.
William Tincup: (03:30)
The use case for recruiters, talent acquisition folks, let’s go a little deeper into that. How do we work with the recruiters?
David Gilbert: (03:38)
Yeah. There’s a good… One of the use cases that I like to talk about and I unfortunately can’t mention their name, but a large materials manufacturer in the U.S. Let’s put it that way. They were having trouble attracting talent and also kind of retaining talent. And what they found was people were actually posting about their recruiting experience online. So now it becomes this thing, where people are actually, the shop window for a company is their recruitment process because the first time you touch a company is around that process. Right? And so your initial impressions are really important. They’re formed at that point. And the problem for this company was they were trying to attack in this stage actually technical talent. And they’re obviously an old school kind of company, which struggles with that anyway. And then they’re recruiting motion actually resembled them as an old school company that you wouldn’t really want to join if you had any real talent.
David Gilbert: (04:36)
Right. And so that was the biggest challenge for them was how do we react quickly to our talents response to when they’re applying for a job, when there’s an interview being scheduled, because what would happen is they would apply for a job. They wouldn’t hear anything for four days and somebody would turn up and say something and then they would apply for an interview and they wouldn’t hear anything for three days and then they’d have the interview and they wouldn’t hear anything for four days. So people expect instantaneous feedback and which is okay. I mean, it’s not a bad thing. Right? And so what we did, we talked to them about, okay, hold on a minute. What if we were to able to automate all of this through SMS texting, email, as well as WhatsApp?
David Gilbert: (05:15)
So various channels that we can communicate with the individual. So as soon as they fill out the form that says, they’re interested, they immediately get a response that says, Hey, great, you’re interested. Wonderful. We’d love to have you. Here’s a link, go select a time to come in for an interview because you do pre-screening on that form as well. And then, here, by the way, you’ve scheduled the interview, here’s the location, right? Here’s the time, here’s the date. Here’s the map. Again, all done through mobile, if wanted. And then again, once you have the interview immediately, thanks for the interview. Here’s the feedback. So it gives you the impression as a candidate, oh, this company’s serious.
William Tincup: (05:49)
David Gilbert: (05:49)
This company is interested in me. They’re serious about me. And maybe I’ll get it. And even if they don’t get the job, if they post about their experience, which they’re likely to do, especially in the younger generation, then at least it’s a positive experience. They can say, well, I never got hired by this company, but the experience itself, was a positive one.
William Tincup: (06:07)
I love it. Where does multichannel communications, where does it fit in kind of your typical clients process or workflow?
David Gilbert: (06:16)
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I mean, we certainly don’t live in isolation like any technology, right? I mean, there’s a myriad of other technologies floating around us. The single most important thing for us is we are fundamentally a messaging platform. We cannot send a message without contact. We don’t store. If you’re a small company, you can store your contact database with us. I wouldn’t recommend it, but you can do it. Right? So most organizations have got large CRMs sitting behind them, right? So they’ve got Salesforce or they’ve got an HR system or they’ve got Zoho or whatever it might be. And so it’s critical for us then to say, okay, we can link back into that. And you can upload, we have an in simultaneous connection with those contacts, so you can keep it in one place.
David Gilbert: (07:05)
So typically the workflow starts there and says, okay, now we have those contacts. And then what is pretty cool about the platform is you can then, we call it dynamic distribution. Think about that as we segment individuals based upon as many criteria as you want. So brown eyes, blue eyes, wears glasses, doesn’t wears glasses, pink shirt, white shirt, whatever it might be. You can segment anywhere you want. And then you can send a message only to that distribution list based upon how you’ve defined it. So typically, that’s how it would work.
David Gilbert: (07:37)
Then we talk about how do you want to define that distribution list? Because what’s important is as well is the message you’re sending has to be relevant to that constituent environment. Because the problem with, if people don’t engage in a message, because they don’t think it’s relevant to them. Right? And so the more targeted you can become, the better. So this works on a one on one level. We talked about recruiting, if there’s an individual. It also works on a one to many level. As long as you’ve defined that criteria, so you’ve got candidates for this specific engineering job. So, that message should be sent to the engineering candidates. Then you have a pool of candidates for truck driving. Well, that message should be sent just to the truck driving applicants.
William Tincup: (08:17)
So you mentioned, without mentioning the word, is there’s an etiquette to messaging, right? So how do you train or how do you kind of get the message over to your clients about kind of here’s how this works. Here’s how this should work.
David Gilbert: (08:36)
So the north star for us has been, and always will be engagement Because ultimately, if you’re sending a message, you want it to be consumed by the recipient. I mean, it sounds pretty obvious, right? But it’s difficult because we are inundated with social media message. I mean it’s ridiculous. Right? The last time you check your Gmail or your Hotmail? I’m aging myself now I say Hotmail. But-
William Tincup: (09:05)
You didn’t say AOL.
David Gilbert: (09:07)
Yeah. I could have said AOL, right? Yeah. With the discs, remember the discs?
William Tincup: (09:10)
You have mail.
David Gilbert: (09:11)
Yeah. Yeah. We got 5,000 minutes free, 10,000 minutes free, a million minutes free. But I think so engagement is ultimately the aim. Right? And so how do you get engagement? How do you get people to participate in the message?
David Gilbert: (09:28)
You have people in the community that almost that there are certain people that will shy away from the responsibility in an organization for engagement with messages. Now, I don’t buy that. Right? You, as a leader in the organization should embrace that. If your messages are not being engaged or consumed, you need to do something about that. So sometimes it can be quite a difficult discussion with organizations to talk about A, it needs to be personalized. So it’s very important that your name is there. So we have abilities at, there’s all sorts of things where we can say, hey David, that’s the first thing you want to be spoken to with your name. Right? I mean, there’s multiple studies going back right in the day that helps. Right?
William Tincup: (10:12)
David Gilbert: (10:13)
The second thing you want to know who this is coming from.
David Gilbert: (10:15)
So identify yourself. So if it’s your company or whatever, it is, just obvious things by identify who you are. And then the third thing is make sure that again, we talked a little bit earlier, the message you’re sending is relevant to that cohort. Don’t send a generic message out to everybody. We talk about organizations, particularly with COVID, around, how can I as an HR leader, how can I engage my organization? And the point is, well, don’t send mass messages, first of all. So I’m interested in the social clubs and I’m interested in… I’m in product development. So I’m interested in product updates. So those are the two things I want to hear about. You’re interested in the IPO release information because you’re in finance and you’re interested in the latest, the last quarter’s results. Okay.
David Gilbert: (11:03)
So don’t just send generic messages out. Make sure that it’s focused on that group and it’s relevant. So those are the conversations we have. And then we talk about, again, the simplicity to you, the immediacy is really important as well. Right? So how quickly can you get a message out? What you don’t want is to say, okay, I’ve got to now talk to the comms director and I’ve also got to talk to the tech guy, because I don’t know how to send this message out. Right. What happens if I screw it up? Because if I send it to everybody, I didn’t mean to, I got to get the tech guy in to double check. Now, you just lost all the momentum because people want to have relevance and immediacy to that message. So that’s the other thing. And then the last thing is channels.
David Gilbert: (11:41)
Again, you have to… Nobody relies on one channel. So are you going to post something to your website? Well, good luck. Send it by email? Good luck. And so this multichannel approach is critical where you can be efficient and curate it in one way, but it can be sent across multiple channels and it has your look and feel, it’s your branding, it’s your colors. It’s your tone. You drag and drop, graphics in there. Look the way you want it to look and it’s consistent across all those channels. So if someone clicks on the email, they experience the same thing than if they click on that SMS, it’s the same view.
William Tincup: (12:16)
Can the user select the way they want the medium to come?
David Gilbert: (12:21)
Absolutely. The user can select every medium, one medium, two mediums. It doesn’t-
William Tincup: (12:25)
David Gilbert: (12:25)
It doesn’t matter. So if all they want to do is send email, that’s fine.
William Tincup: (12:29)
David Gilbert: (12:29)
It’s not a problem. And some messages may be more conducive to email. The immediacy element may be SMS. We do a lot of emergency communication. And if you think about… You just have to think about yourself, right? How often do you check an email versus your SMS?
William Tincup: (12:43)
David Gilbert: (12:44)
Now, SMS, you be very careful because SMS is intrusive. There’s lots of regulations and guidelines around it. So, again, we white glove our clients through that to make sure that they are endearing to that stuff. So you don’t get messages blocked because that’s very important.
William Tincup: (13:00)
David Gilbert: (13:00)
But yeah. Clients can decide how they want to send.
William Tincup: (13:04)
As you mentioned engagement, I want to make sure the audience understands that this isn’t just one direction. This is bidirectional.
David Gilbert: (13:11)
I’m glad you brought that up because there was a point I didn’t bring, but yeah. The two way communication is key. So this can be a multistage kind of approach. So for example, there could be an organization that requires sends out information about events. They’re looking at RSVPs, the RSVP, then they’re looking at, do you have dietary requirements? And so there’s an engagement with the message that comes back and then that can also trigger a third message to go back out and it can be an automated back and forth based upon the message that gets sent backwards as well.
William Tincup: (13:44)
Is that a mixture of AI and ML?
David Gilbert: (13:45)
Yeah. It’s a little bit of both. The AI practice within the organization is growing considerably. But I would say that at this point, a lot of it is ML typically. We’re not at the… I’ll be honest, we’re not quite… Ideally, the ultimate aim is to… So our ultimate vision is to be able to tell you that based on your message, I can predict the level of engagement.
William Tincup: (14:08)
David Gilbert: (14:09)
Right. And then I’m going to say to you, Hey, tweak this a little bit and your engagement will go from 67% to 82% and now you can send the message.
William Tincup: (14:17)
And once you’re sitting on all that data, you’ll be able to tell them here’s when, here’s how, here’s why, all of those things.
David Gilbert: (14:22)
All that stuff. So it’ll be-
William Tincup: (14:23)
David Gilbert: (14:24)
The message content, the medium, the timing, all those things, we’ll be able to tell you, okay, here’s how you increase your odds before you send the message.
William Tincup: (14:32)
Which again, you nailed it with engagement. It’s creating the message, being able to get it, but you want people to consume the message.
David Gilbert: (14:41)
A lot of people think that their job is done at the send.
William Tincup: (14:44)
No, no. That’s just starting actually. Let’s pivot and talk a little bit more about Whisper in the sense of when you show Whisper to someone for the first time, as a product person, what’s your favorite part?
David Gilbert: (15:01)
Yeah. My favorite part is typically the way that we can manipulate… We can kind of segment contacts, I would say. So I think the ingestion of the contacts is kind of straightforward. Even the channels are kind of straightforward, but my two favorites are when we show clients, hey, you have different workspaces, which we talk about as digital filing cabinets. So we think of them as digital. So we have unlimited workspaces in the platform. So you could have a workspace for HR, finance, for different departments. You could have a workspace for different products, if you’re a marketing company, whatever. So that’s one area and the other is the ability to be able to tag contacts in any way you want. It’s completely flexible. So we’ve got a number of contacts, but you can add as many as you want to that.
David Gilbert: (15:54)
And then the second part, I think that’s really exciting is the actual creation of the message. So the drag and drop functionality is really fun, right? So you get clients that will pull over a sliding bar chart, for example, that just says, hey, we get a lot of discussions about mental health and wanting to check in with individuals, on how are you feeling one to 10? And things like that, you can drag and drop in map coordinates, where you can pinpoint certain things. So that’s kind of fun as well because you’re just… And also the graphic element of it where they can put their own banners on there and all that kind of stuff. I would say that those two things are probably the most fun because clients really then start to feel the power of it. They can really start to… It becomes more concrete for them in those two areas.
William Tincup: (16:39)
I love the no code. I love drag and drop. I know folks listening to the podcast will wonder about their data.
David Gilbert: (16:46)
William Tincup: (16:46)
They’re sitting on their data. They’re worried about their data. It’s dirty. It’s not good. It’s not a hundred percent, this, that, and the other. How do y’all interact with them?
David Gilbert: (16:53)
Yeah. So, there’s two things about data, right? One is security. Security is on top of everybody’s minds. We work a lot with local governments, like I said, emergency communications. So, we are fully on Amazon. I’m not a security expert. We have a lot of what seems to be really interesting certificates.
William Tincup: (17:11)
David Gilbert: (17:12)
And everything else. So they’re all-
William Tincup: (17:13)
There’s a bunch of numbers.
David Gilbert: (17:14)
Yeah. There’s a bunch of numbers and [inaudible 00:17:16] so with things and everything else. So that’s all taken care of. And of course we don’t sell, we are not in the business of selling your data. We’re not in the business of any… I mean, your data is your data, your workspace is your workspace. It’s completely, a hundred percent yours. So I’d say on that side. In terms of data, hygiene is really important.
William Tincup: (17:36)
David Gilbert: (17:37)
Data cleanliness. So we do a few things. One is we have automated de-duplication inside the platform, which is really important when you’re dealing with large numbers of contacts. Right. So it’s very important that, especially in the marketing use case.
William Tincup: (17:50)
David Gilbert: (17:50)
Usually in businesses, it’s not a big deal, but in marketing use cases, it is critical because sometimes they get leads from various different areas. Right? The other is automated opt outs, which is really, really, really important. Even for internal communication, so you have to give the individual the ability to be able to opt out of that message.
William Tincup: (18:07)
David Gilbert: (18:08)
And the key thing is if I’ve opted out of the message, I better not get it again.
William Tincup: (18:10)
David Gilbert: (18:12)
I’m going to be really upset.
William Tincup: (18:12)
Some of the elements of canned spam that kind of come over to this is that, again, you give the person the ability and I would assume that you help folks structure their data. If it isn’t already structured in a certain way, you help them structure with the data hygiene.
David Gilbert: (18:29)
Yeah. Yeah. Again, it’s about making sure that once those messages are sent, you can talk about undeliverables and all sorts of things. So there’s reporting, the way you’re looking at, okay. Again, we all focus on engagement, right? So first of all, but you have to start with, did the message actually get delivered, right? You got to start there. So that’ll be a lot about, do you have updated information and you can see very specifically which messages and why aren’t delivered. So it could be either you’re trying to send an SMS to a landline. It could be that the email’s invalid, I mean there’s a million different things. So we also help out with making sure that contact information is updating clean and you’re not spending money continuing to send messages to dead outlets.
William Tincup: (19:12)
Right. I love that. I love that. So as a product person, what have you seen where people have used Whisper in a way that you just love? Maybe you didn’t even think that it was going to be used this way, unintended-
David Gilbert: (19:27)
William Tincup: (19:28)
Unintended way or whatever, but just no brands, no names, none of that stuff.
David Gilbert: (19:32)
William Tincup: (19:33)
Just ways that you’ve seen people use the product. You’re like, ah, that’s cool.
David Gilbert: (19:37)
Yeah. I mean, there’s really… So I’ll give you two examples, right? One and more sophisticated and one is, I kind of like simplicity as well, right? From a more sophisticated perspective, I think a really cool use case is if you go back to emergency comms, the ability to be able to actually pinpoint people in an affected area using polygons inside a mapping functionality. So it’s kind of cool that you can actually pinpoint streets and addresses. You can draw a picture, a polygon around that and make sure that you can target a message to the individuals that are within that environment. Right.
William Tincup: (20:14)
Oh, that’s cool. Geo positioning.
David Gilbert: (20:17)
Now it doesn’t, to be clear for you out there. I don’t want to… It doesn’t track your cell phone.
William Tincup: (20:21)
Right, right, right, right.
David Gilbert: (20:22)
Only FEMA can do that.
William Tincup: (20:23)
David Gilbert: (20:24)
That’s okay. That’s left to them. But what it can do is if you’ve identified yourself, for example, it’s very helpful for business continuity. I could identify myself in an office in Boulder. Someone else can identify an office in Denver in a particular location. And I can make sure I can draw a picture around that and say, oh, I need to get messages out to those individuals that are located there to tell them that there’s an incident and they need to do something.
William Tincup: (20:48)
Especially an emergency situation, a tornado, earthquake, this, that, and the other. You need to be able to get-
David Gilbert: (20:52)
The recent fires here as well as a good example of being able to get those messages to those individuals as quick as possible. So that’s kind of cool. Now from a simplicity perspective, I really like something we did recently with a small local government where they had, or they have, a form on their website where citizens can go and talk about a, what we call 311 incidents. Right? So incidents that you can’t call 9 1 1 about, but they could be potholes. It could be graffiti. They could be whatever nuisances, basically-
William Tincup: (21:24)
David Gilbert: (21:25)
Yeah. Noise ordinances, things like that. And so what would happen is people can go on the website. So the workflow was citizen would go on the website, they’d fill this thing out. Person would come in on Monday morning, they’d print all this stuff out. And then they’d have to figure out, okay, who’s it going to go to? Because there’s a different person for graffiti. There’s another person for noise and this and then they handed the paper over and then they didn’t know where the paper went. They didn’t know, is the person finished that job or are they still doing it? And the citizens, even worse, the citizen themselves got no feedback. Right. It’s gone. And so we basically came in and automated that entire thing through the Whisper platform, which is actually pretty cool, because it’s not really something when you look at a communications platform, but now you’re really talking about workflow automation.
David Gilbert: (22:10)
You’re not even talking about communication. So the way we did that is we said, okay, people can still fill out the form on the website, but they can also text in if they want and we can text it to them or they can QR code it. They can do it. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is we can then absorb that, pass it in, get the information of those fields in the platform. And we can automatically send it to the owner of that particular task. They can acknowledge ownership. So that’s a trigger.
William Tincup: (22:36)
David Gilbert: (22:36)
And then they can tell you when they finished and then once they hit finish, we can trigger another back to the citizen say, hey buddy, you know that thing you said? It’s completed now. So all of that becomes an automated process. And so this feedback loop that occurs is pretty cool, really simple.
William Tincup: (22:54)
The analytic behind that have to be just fantastic to be able to look at.
David Gilbert: (22:58)
Yeah. I mean, it’s fascinating to see just… And the feedback we’re getting from the client is the response from the community is just-
William Tincup: (23:09)
You actually care.
David Gilbert: (23:10)
Wow, you actually… Right. You actually… This is amazing. You’re actually listening to me because citizens have an expectation of a consumer-like experience, but they’re not getting it.
William Tincup: (23:21)
Turns out the… And you’re paying taxes. So fair enough.
David Gilbert: (23:24)
Not that hard. We’re not talking about implementing. These things can be done. I love the simplicity. I love hacking around stuff. I love just getting it done. We don’t talk about nine month timeframes, a million dollar budgets. I mean, this can be done.
William Tincup: (23:39)
I love it. Love it. David, thank you so much for carving out time for us today.
David Gilbert: (23:42)
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. Appreciate it.
William Tincup: (23:45)
Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case Podcast. Until next time.
Speaker 4: (23:51)
You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up recruitingdaily.com
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.