[014] SMS Strategies to Help Your Sales Team Win, with AC Evans from DRIPS

Episode 14 August 23, 2021 00:42:20
[014] SMS Strategies to Help Your Sales Team Win, with AC Evans from DRIPS
Scalable Call Center Sales
[014] SMS Strategies to Help Your Sales Team Win, with AC Evans from DRIPS

Aug 23 2021 | 00:42:20

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Show Notes

Before picking up the phone, how do individuals want to interact with a company? What role does SMS Automation play in your company’s growth?

We all want better discussions, more conversations, and more engagement, and Drips is all about using technology to promote conversations and get customers where they want to go.

In this episode, AC Evans from DRIPS, and I talk about his experiences in co-founding a whole marketing strategy. We also discussed its success and how it has aided other businesses in scaling up.

Learn about the SMS platform used in the call center industry, and the distinction between contacting people on your own and learning what it is and how you can help them.


Find out if your Sales Operation in Scalable

Buy Selling With Authentic Persuasion: Transform from Order Taker to Quota Breaker

Get help with your sales team

Connect with Jason on LinkedIn

Or go to Jason’s HUB – www.JasonCutter.com

Connect with AC on LinkedIn

AC‘s Bio
Aaron Christopher (A.C.) Evans is a pioneer in conversational marketing and the co-founder and CEO of Drips.com. Drips is the first conversational texting company of its kind, founding a new category and leading the way for some of the biggest brands in the world to use automated, humanized conversations at scale. On a daily basis, Drips engages in tens of millions of completely humanized conversations with zero client-side human resources or operators.

AC’s Links
http://Drips.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronchristopher/


Jason: Hey, what’s going on, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the show, scalable call center sales podcast. I am super excited and honored to have my guest with me today. He essentially co-founded and is the CEO of an organization that.

[00:00:17] Created a whole industry and a whole marketing strategy. So with me today, I have AC Evans from drips and drips is focused on a, being a conversational SMS platform in the call center industry, basically any industry. And what’s interesting is right before we were hitting record here, he was sharing some stats and I want to talk about it.

[00:00:39] And then we’ll weave this into the conversation as well. Literally drips to date has sent over half a billion conversations in, and our had over half a billion conversations. And what’s fascinating is every second Drip’s platform and its clients are sending, having 175 touch points. Every second, uh, big companies, small companies, just all at scale.

[00:01:04] And it’s helping with lead generation customer service, debt collection, all kinds of things, uh, where it’s humanizing the conversations with people using technology at scale, and obviously for a call center podcast, and anybody that knows that I focus a lot on the lead side, the marketing, and then facilitating.

[00:01:25] Is whatever you can do to have better conversations, more conversations, better engagement is obviously better for the organization, for the consumer, for everyone involved. And we all know how important SMS is in our daily lives. And so what AC has done with drips is just amazing. Uh, AC, welcome to the scalable call center sales podcast.

[00:01:45]

AC: Make sure that me, Jason, good seeing you.

[00:01:48]

Jason: Yeah. So I’ve known you for years. Uh, there was a point at which we were a client of yours early on in Drip’s evolution, after meeting at a conference and helping run some platforms and you guys have evolved and you have lots of big brands, big logos, but also, you know, other companies that you’re working with looking back, because I don’t always do origin stories, but I’m super curious with you.

[00:02:11] What was it? And that years ago, Where you’re like, this is a problem we need to create this platform. And then what did that look like?

[00:02:21]

AC: Yeah, the, the, the Genesis stories funny. And I’ll give you the two minute version versus the 20 minute that, uh, our founding partner, Tom are our original client, uh, usually give to, uh, clients and investors, but long story short, um, Friend of mine and business that we’d had some other businesses in, uh, lead generation marketing, whatnot, uh, had a texting program that broke, uh, his system would send one message every day at noon, uh, you know, to, to the same audience of people, trying to get them on the phone.

[00:02:51] Hello, call us back at five five, five one two one two, you know, to get your student loans consolidated and his system broke overnight. He asked me to fix it. I explained to him. You can’t fix somebody else’s software, but once you explained to me what it did, I was like, well, it’s simple enough. I, I I’ve been a programmer for some time.

[00:03:10] Um, not, not a great one, but I can put together a little bit of code and I just kind of rebuilt it overnight. And he went from converting 10% of his records to calls to 15% of his records to calls overnight 50% increase in conversion. And he was blown away. He’s like, Hey, see, what, w what is the difference?

[00:03:27] What did you do different? I was like, well, you’re creative. Was a little lacking, right? The message itself. So I put in some personalization that said, Hey, Jason, I’m glad you found us on Facebook. He was buying Facebook lead ads at the time. So I put in some recency, right. Some context and, uh, and, and social proof and authority and whatnot, and the message and said, you know, you can call me back anytime.

[00:03:45] Here’s my personal number. Uh, let me know, and we can talk, you know, that kind of thing. And that got them a 50% lift and, uh, and performance, I think he said, well, what else can we do? You know, immediately? And I said, well, you’re doing the same message every day. The same audience. Let’s change it up. Let’s do on day two.

[00:04:01] Let’s do a morning message. Day three. Let’s do an afternoon message. At this point, it was still outbound, right? It was still primarily just, just scheduled messages going out. And that lasted for some weeks. And then I brought in my technical, co-founder a partner of ours. Uh, Anthony Greco, our CTO now, um, he rebuilt it.

[00:04:17] And the first thing he’s noticed was all these people are texting back. Right. You know, go figure. Right. Uh, all of these people are texting vaccines. Call me now. And then we would never call them or don’t ever text me again. They didn’t say stop. So our system didn’t understand that don’t ever text me again and then get another text, you know, the next morning.

[00:04:35] So the quickest way we could go conversational, which was to build a chat room. Um, and we staffed a couple of people, uh, and they handle the responses. They had a frequently asked questions, kind of copy page rebuttals. You know, what do you say if somebody says I’m busy, what do you say. That’s how much it costs, you know, these types of things and, uh, long story, short weeks and weeks and weeks of iteration automation and building auto responders and some basic NLP modeling.

[00:05:00] We got it to the point where Tom was buying about five to 10 times more records than he was. And he was converting them at 42%, same exact. Records with a different engagement model. Uh, and since then we’ve just been iterating and scaling ever since, uh, we call it drips as kind of a tongue in cheek nod to the old way of doing a drip campaign.

[00:05:21] Ours is completely antithetical and counterintuitive to what a drip campaign is a drip campaign, as I’m sure you know, is outbound only pushed only it lasts forever. Our conversations last, an average of five days they’re meant to engage, which is not what a drip campaign is meant for a drip campaign is meant for.

[00:05:38] Uh, direct response, right? Hey, don’t forget to buy the socks that you left in your shopping cart. You know, that kind of thing. So, you know, again, it’s a little, a little tongue in cheek, kind of like a Tesla, or if you named a supercomputer and Abacus, you know, um, a lot of people say, do you guys do drip campaigns, Rick?

[00:05:54] No. No, it’s, it’s a, it’s a whole, it’s a communication tool. You know, it’s kind of the opposite of a drip campaign, but the name stock has got some good notoriety and we’re, we’re pretty happy.

[00:06:03]

Jason: Yeah, you’re definitely stuck with that name. Uh, would you have named it? Anything else? No,

[00:06:07]

AC: no, no. I, I love it. I’ll tell you what though.

[00:06:10] Um, in the beginning, you know, we thought it was a clever nod to a marketing term that people would recognize, uh, they did not. You were talking about AFCC earlier, before the call, we got made fun of a lot at those early shows. Really? It sounds like a, sounds like an STD, you know, do you need, do you need a shot for that?

[00:06:27] Oh, that’s the drips guys, you know, nobody had a clue. Nobody had a clue what it was, uh, you know, referencing, uh, which is just kind of funny, but yeah, it’s a one word domain, great brand. Um, we’re happy with it and you know, we’ve kind of redefined what it can.

[00:06:41]

Jason: Yeah. Well, and that evolution is interesting.

[00:06:43] And again, usually on the show, I don’t go into a lot of that. The backstory kind of the hero’s journey, if you will. But I think what’s fascinating is seeing picture. I think it was like your social media or something from. There was a picture of like the first, I think maybe leads con or something that you guys did where there was a table with like a table cloth and then a couple of people.

[00:07:04] And. And then like the mega booths that you guys have now, and just the number of people you’ve employed, the way you’ve grown it. And the way you’ve changed the, the marketing industry to put this tool in place to just help again, it’s great to help companies I’m here to help call centers. And at the same time, it’s about the consumers too.

[00:07:22] Right. So what do people want, who do they want to interact with? How do they want to engage with a company prior to getting on the phone? Because obviously you’re not selling things over SMS. That’s not the goal. You’re facilitating the conversation. So there’s still something that needs to be talked about and getting them there.

[00:07:40] And

[00:07:40] so

[00:07:41]

AC: that’s the key right now. Those two things, helping the client and helping the consumer are one in the same. If you’re not helping the consumer, you are hurting your efficacy, you’re hurting your performance. You’re it may seem like, you know, dialing that 37th or 38th time is backing out, but.

[00:07:56] Long-term it doesn’t last. And we’re seeing that time and time again. And the, the, the, I know exactly what picture you’re talking about. It was actually, it was our first trade show. It was 2016 contact that I oh, uh, which is super fun because to my left, you had, uh, uh, Anthony Greco, our CTO is one of the most introverted people I’ve ever met.

[00:08:14] He was there selling right beside us, you know, just pitching as a, as a developer is great. And then you got Tom who was our original client. It wasn’t even a partner at the time, but still put on the drip shirt. Represented us and, uh, Jessica, who is our first quality assurance agent who was doing the chatroom.

[00:08:29] Tom actually married Jessica. Uh, they live in Maui now and we’re the headline sponsors that contact that IO in a, in a, in a handful of weeks. So it’s, it’s a, it’s a fun story, you know, it’s, I love that.

[00:08:42]

Jason: Yeah, that is awesome. And to think so that people know like you’re now at what what’d you say? 150 employees.

[00:08:48] Yeah. Something about that industries, ton of companies in lots of different verticals. So let’s talk about not just talking about you and drips in general, but the key is the effectiveness of SMS. And when it’s done, right? So people are listening to this and they’re thinking, okay, well, I’ve tried SMS.

[00:09:07] I’ve tried that push notification. I’ve tried that, you know, that blast outbound mode, which is, Hey, call us back, call us back, call us back. And, or even with engagement, I see somewhere, they try this engagement platform, but it’s not really working. What do you see as the difference in just contacting people versus like actually getting to what it is and how you can

[00:09:28]

AC: help them?

[00:09:29] Look, there’s a reason that my local. Auto insurance agent, uh, like my local, uh, guy at the local, you know, Allstate branch can get ahold of me easily and it’s because it’s a human and he’s taken his time and he’s scheduled, he’s rescheduling. He’s trying me and I’m not answering, he’s leaving a voicemail.

[00:09:46] Then he’s following up with a text message. Then he, you know, that’s what big brands have to get to because otherwise they will never contact their audience. The problem with that is. Big brands to instill automation at scale, they have to use those blast systems. You’re talking about. They asked to use direct mail.

[00:10:02] They have to use email. They have to use a power dialing call centers. And what those a few methodologies have in common is they are one way in nature. They’re push in nature. And just like, I don’t know about you, but I don’t watch commercials anymore. Right? Like I can pause live TV. I got better things to do, right.

[00:10:21] To fill my time with other than to hear some pitch, to have some company steal my time. So even, uh, not just as a professional, but as a regular consumer, you have to schedule time with me now. Right. And that’s everybody, that’s every millennial that’s every grandma, that’s every uncle it’s, it’s not just the professionals that are defending their time.

[00:10:39] The way that, uh, professionals and business owners would normally have to schedule their time. It’s just, everybody’s busy and everybody’s busy. There’s so much stuff to do. Like I just read some study recently that nobody’s bored anymore. Right. And that’s one of the things that are killing the telephone.

[00:10:54] Like I can’t even call my mom. She’ll text me back and say, I’m busy. What’s up. You know, my mom only parents do

[00:11:00]

Jason: texts back and forth and schedule a

[00:11:02]

AC: call. And that’s because people have things that they’d rather be doing. Right. And let’s rewind back. Right. 1980s, 1990. Me and my sister were throwing sticks at each other, you know, for entertainment, right.

[00:11:16] We didn’t have smartphones. We didn’t have Netflix. We didn’t have a candy crush and Instagram. Uh, and when the phone rang in the house, that was a super exciting time. And we would trip over each other, trying to get to the phone. It’s the opposite today, right? That’s somebody trying to steal your time, even if it’s your son, even if you’re, if it’s your mother, you got better things to do.

[00:11:36] The trick is big companies have to act very small. I don’t care if you’re Liberty mutual or the general or T-Mobile or sprint, they have to act super, super, super small. And that means communicating on a one-to-one basis. That means not just pushing messaging. It’s asking, Hey, Jason. Following up about your new iPhone.

[00:11:55] When can we connect? When’s a good time, then you’re going to schedule it. Then you’re going to get busy and they’re going to have to persist. And that’s the hard part. It’s hard to do this at scale on a humanized fashion. That’s what I think drips, uh, has, has really pioneered, you know, is that, that conversations at scale that still feel very human because.

[00:12:12] Just like multi-tiered IVR systems and I’m sure a lot of your clients are used to that everybody hates, right. Nobody wants to talk to a chat bot. It’s just not the, the, the world is not there yet. So it has to be humanized.

[00:12:26]

Jason: Yeah. And I’m, I’m that same way. Right? When the chatbots, when I know it’s an automated chat bot and it’s not giving me what I need, I just start getting frustrated.

[00:12:33] Like when I, when I’m in an IVR and I’m like customer service, customer service, just get me to a human, get me out of this thing. And so when you’re talking about that, engaging with someone, especially someone who here’s one thing I see all the time, and I just see this as a consumer. And then I see this across industries.

[00:12:51] Consumers in general is most people don’t trust or like dealing with salespeople. They don’t trust her, like dealing with a company they haven’t dealt with before they do it because they have some need or some goal that’s greater than their dislike of what’s going to happen or their distrust. So they do it, but they enter it in.

[00:13:10] Guarded. Right. And so they slow. I was like, I’m gonna fill out this form because I don’t want to call someone. And then somebody gets called and it’s like, I gotta be careful. And so I see this a lot with SMS, which is like, okay, so I might engage with some SMS as a consumer, but maybe I’m just worried about where this is going to go.

[00:13:27] How do you. Or what have you seen as the industry has evolved? And the consumers evolved where it’s the difference between just contacting, just to like push and schedule versus like understanding the other person. And their intent is such that like you can actually provide value and get through those walls.

[00:13:46]

AC: I think the creative is ultimately the variable, right? There’s many different methodologies. There’s push there’s two way enablement for a call center agents, which I’m sure plenty of your clients maybe have done if they haven’t, they should, you know, like get the whatever five, nine uses to allow you to send and receive messages.

[00:14:03] Like that’s a great first step, but it still doesn’t scale. And there’s no quality assurance and it doesn’t persist and people need to sleep. Right. And people need to take breaks. Everybody’s on the same methodology, which is what we’ll just say. We’ll just call conversational AI, right? Which is humanize long tail conversation that can answer questions and warm people up and educate people once you’re there.

[00:14:25] The creative is absolutely the variable, right? You have to know who is this person? Right. What’s the use case and where are we trying to drive them to? And then it’s all about the cadence and the creative. What are you saying? What are you asking? Sometimes it’s better to ask the question in terms of size or to make a statement.

[00:14:41] Sometimes it’s better to add an urgency, a buy one, get one free type things. Sometimes it’s better to take, you know, three weeks to hold the conversation and just lightly remind them. And every industry, every use case. It’s fairly disparate. Um, and a lot of testing needs to go into it. Um, that’s, that’s kinda the managed technology part of our group is understanding if it’s, you know, if you’re trying to remind somebody to pay a bill, like, what are the best times to do that?

[00:15:05] You know, how do you do it? What are you allowed to say? What are you not allowed to say this ton of regulatory stuff, which I’m sure you all are aware of? You know, when you can call somebody, when you can text them what you can say, third party disclosure, you know, all of these things have to go into consideration.

[00:15:18] It’s not just turn on texting it’s I wish it was that.

[00:15:22]

Jason: Yeah, for sure. So you said it’s about that messaging, right? It’s about what you’re saying to them. What have you seen as the more successful strategy, even in that messaging when getting to what somebody wants and then how you can help them as the intermediary with

[00:15:39]

AC: that brand?

[00:15:40] I think there’s a couple of things I think adding as much personalization and, uh, Psychology is you can write if you, I mean, you’ve written some of these books, right? So I’m sure you’ve read some of them. Uh, but you know, the, the social proof, the recency priming, letting them know why you’re reaching out.

[00:15:57] Right. Uh, having some authority using the right brand names in the right places, um, concession, you know, giving them a deal three days later, if they didn’t engage. Giving them multiple avenues, right? Like you can call us or we can call you right. Giving them the illusion of choice. Um, and there’s just so much that goes into it.

[00:16:15] So, so there’s the psychology part of it. That’s just the creative itself then there’s also the cadence, right? Like how often, when and how many do you do a text verse or a call first? And there’s, there’s not really one right. Answer again. Cause you’re thinking about disparate use cases against disparate verticals.

[00:16:30] So, uh, I would say that. In, in, in most scenarios, uh, speed to lead is still number one, right? If you can put a human on that first dial, great do it. Right? Like we, we, we work, we’re a hybrid to, I’d say 90% of our clients, right? We’re not necessarily a replacement of the call center. Weren’t enhancement to it.

[00:16:50] So if you got great speed to lead and you’re a high-end high efficiency call center, do that first dial, maybe even do that second time. But what everybody sees after that third dial is the contact curve falls off a cliff, right? That’s when you want to start using a different channel, right. Then not on the 38th dial trying to get ahold of, you know, age records that you already have a sunk cost.

[00:17:11] And it’s it’s that’s when you get the one plus one equals three kind of magic of adding in. Conversational AI into a system. And then there’s a lot of other best practices. Like, you know, say the user comes in at midnight. Should you call them? Probably not. Right. But you can absolutely send a transactional text that says, Hey, Jason, three-day blinds.

[00:17:30] Sorry. You caught us after hours. But look, I’ll be back in tomorrow at 9:00 AM. Make sure you’re contextual with time zones. Great user experience. I can try you at 12, two or three. What works best for you? Question? In, in both that response, right? That example it does about 60% better than just saying we’re closed.

[00:17:50] We can contact you Monday through Friday eight to five because you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s, it’s robotic. It’s not a listening response. And it’s also making somebody else pick when to follow up. Even if you said we’re open Monday through Friday. Eight to five. When can we talk? That’ll still get half as good of an engagement versus giving them the options.

[00:18:10] And again, it’s all, it’s a lot of psychology. You’re adding in scarcity. You’re adding in the humanization standpoint, you’re making them feel like these are finite amounts of times that they get to select. And it’s also easier. It’s marketing 1 0 1, right? Like remove the friction, like make it easy for the consumer.

[00:18:25] And when they. Remind them politely.

[00:18:28] Hey,

[00:18:28]

Jason: it’s Jason here. We’ll be right back to the podcast in a moment, but first are you ready to help your inside sales team close more deals? In my experience, there’s a certain percentage of your team that acts more like order takers than sales professionals. The first step to creating a scalable sales team is to equip your reps with the right mind.

[00:18:45] And proven strategies to transform them into quota breakers, to build a team of authentic persuaders that will crush their goals. Email [email protected] or go to www.cutterconsultinggroup.com. Well, and I think that’s so key too, is just removing an overwhelming number of choices and narrowing it down to a or B, B, or C, C, or D.

[00:19:09] And then just having them move that forward. Let’s talk about like the automation piece. Cause you said you’re a hybrid, right? So you’re not a replacement. It’s not like all leads have to go through you before they can go to like, everybody’s going to be different. But then also those strategies. What about the automation piece and in your views and your experience now, what you’ve learned over time and where is things going is like how much automation.

[00:19:35] Is a good amount or where does automation kind of like hit its peak in a sales operation or a marketing process?

[00:19:43]

AC: That’s a great question. My, you know, kind of simple saying is if it can be automated, it should be automated. And when I say it can be automated, I mean, well, right. Like, can it be replaced? You know what I mean?

[00:19:55] Like if you can do this with automation and it is. Indeterminable uh, to the, to the human eye on the other end, automate it, try to automate it, do your, do your absolute best automate it. Right. But, but then there’s all the way at the other end, which is just, you know, if a call center doesn’t have the ability or, you know, doesn’t want to pay drips to handle their conversations.

[00:20:16] Maybe just send a text message, just saying, Hey, we’re going to call you in one minute. Like that priming texts, that single text message will cost you less than a penny to send. We’ll sometimes double your contact rates in that first call because people just don’t know who’s calling them. You know? So that’s something that can be automated very easily and it’s not this huge AI machine learning, natural language processing, you know, Tool that is drips.

[00:20:39] It’s just, just simple automate the first X, you know, uh, the transactional after hours, a message automate that, you know, so I look at it like depending on the client, depending on the size and the scope of, uh, the volume, uh, and also the value. That’s a whole, another thing that we didn’t, I don’t generally talk about, but we don’t do a lot of B2B because the value of the record is so high.

[00:21:03] That’s why my, my, my wealth advisor, my financial advisor, whatever, like they don’t use automation to get ahold of me. They get on the phone, you know, and they do their best to get a hold of me. So usually it’s more B to C. Usually it’s more volume. If you’re low volume, high value, it’s normally more of a tool like, uh, like a bot splash or a verse or some way that your team, you know, 12%, the 15% call center can just send text messages back and forth.

[00:21:28] You know, it’s just an enablement. So. No. Great answer there. Other than the, say the bigger the volume, the more you should try to automate it, because again, you know, Liberty mutual, can’t staff out to do what we can do now, even on our side, it’s not all automated. Um, we have a human layer as well, so we’ve built an NLP model.

[00:21:48] As you said we’ve had over a half a billion conversations. We’ve had, you know, back in the beginning, when it was that chat room, we’ve used those reps to train, uh, an NLP model, meaning we know 7,000 ways to say I’m at work. We know 6,000 ways to say I’m driving 20,000 ways to say I’m busy. We know that a double middle finger emoji is probably somebody that doesn’t want to get more texts, right?

[00:22:11] So we built this huge model, but it’s never perfect. You know, uh, I think a little less than 1% of the messages and calls that we send out are humans, but if a message comes back, and this is really important for those of you that are in more regulated industries, which are doing automation at all, you are, if a message comes back, And you’re not sure it’s not a, what we call disqualified, but a lawyer would call it a revocation of consent.

[00:22:36] You gotta be really careful. Right. So if somebody said, and I’ve seen this with, um, there’s one, uh, mortgage carrier, I remember I won’t name them, but they were showing me, oh, we can do texting. And I was looking at some of the logs. And somebody texted back said, no, I’m good. I already got, I already got my refinanced on.

[00:22:51] And the loan officer came right back and he’s like, but did you know that you can X, Y, and Z and interest rates are an all time low. And like that, that could be a complaint, you know, that could be a legal problem. So there’s a place for automation. If it can be automated, if you can do it perfectly, our threshold for competence is 98 plus percent.

[00:23:08] Uh, but those ones. A hundred percent. We send it to a human who’s trained quality assurance. They review it, they click a certain button that then trains the model. So, you know, I’d say, start with the basics and then work your way up. Just like we did.

[00:23:23]

Jason: Well, and I love kind of the scaling of the automation, because a lot of times I see people who feel like it’s gotta be all or nothing, or they gotta put it in all places.

[00:23:30] Like it’s gotta be something you can automate, something that you can do. That’s gonna work well, uh, with, you know, keeping in mind those exceptions. And then I love that example that you gave about the mortgage. You know, a lead because what I see a lot is where somebody takes a strategy that they would do over the phone.

[00:23:48] Cause you could hear that conversation. I can literally see and hear that conversation. A salesperson who doesn’t want to take no, who feels like their job is to just overcome a base and see that as an objection where over the phone, that’s one thing, because you have the consent, you’re on the phone call.

[00:24:03] Like you’re already there assuming you do right. Um, and if they want to end it, they’ll just hang up. And then there’s the text or there’s email where they made essentially are opting out and telling you to stop talking. Cause they’re okay. But the sales salesperson is just reacting in sales mode on a different platform.

[00:24:20] Which could then cause challenges, right? Cause

[00:24:23]

AC: huge exposure, right? Like quality assurance for, and again, I still believe that enabling two-way texting, uh, for a lot of call centers is the right way to go, especially in the beginning, but you have to train and retrain and, you know, get, get counsel’s opinion on what you can and shouldn’t, and should say when you should and can say it, uh, I mean, there’s just a ton that goes into it.

[00:24:45] It’s not. Unachievable. It’s just something like you said, if you go in treating SMS, like we do a phone call you’re in for a world of a world of hurt, right.

[00:24:54]

Jason: Yeah, especially because there’s different consent rules and then messages, we all have this experience where messages is, can be read completely different, uh, by the end user, then the intent that was sent.

[00:25:08] So you have to be careful like who’s right. So let’s shift a little bit, because one of the things that’s fascinating about you, uh, and drips is that your in a lot of different industries, so it’s not like you’re just focused on one thing. You’ve mentioned some companies already, which I know they’re their clients and, and, you know, industries that you deal with.

[00:25:26] What are you seeing? Let’s say somebody is listening to this and people are listening to this episode and they’re in various industries, various verticals. Um, what are you seeing as far as like adoption, those verticals, the speed at adoption and evolution. Even regulatory stuff, concerns in different things.

[00:25:46] I’m sure

[00:25:47]

AC: you want to go with that. Yeah. Uh, as far as speed of adoption, it almost, when it, when it comes to marketing automation, it almost always starts with, uh, the digital agencies, right? Like they’re out there, they’re working, you know, they’re grinding, they’re generating, uh, leads just like Tom was way back in the day.

[00:26:02] Right. Our partner. And, uh, then it’s who are they selling to? So it’s usually the digital agencies who often selling to. You know, financial services, uh, credit repair.com. One of our first clients, uh, as far as the service provider goes, they are digital first. They’re dealing with all these agencies.

[00:26:19] They’re going to be the quickest to adopt, you know, even though that’s a financial service, just like JP Morgan, chase, JP Morgan chase is a much larger company and much more risk averse, much more regulatory scrutiny. So they are going to take their sweet time on the big companies. Right. They never want to be first and they never want to be last.

[00:26:36] So it’s, it’s, it’s very important to get the proof points where you can and scale, uh, accordingly. Right? So digital agencies get you to insurance agencies. Insurance agencies gets you to small regional insurance carriers, a small regional insurance carriers get you to large carriers. You start in non-standard then you get to standard that proof, you know, and then the, then healthcare will start to take an eyeball at it.

[00:26:58] So right now, what I’m seeing, uh, to answer your question directly is, uh, PNC insurance is all over this. I mean, they they’ve seen it. It’s working where their track position for not closed, uh, billing, retention, renewals, wind backs. I mean, the use cases are, are many. Um, and that that’s, that’s a, that’s a pretty clear distinction of what we do, right?

[00:27:19] Like we are working on. Driving conversations. We are not in the, how can I help you business? Right? Like we’re not in servicing, we’re not in claims. We’re not trying to figure out what somebody is needing from a company. The company knows who they are. They usually would have used direct mail or a call center to try to push them out of bucket, being in a bucket C that’s really where we specialize in it.

[00:27:42] Because most of those conversations are really just trying to figure out the right time to talk to Jason that you know, is convenient, answer some basic questions. That’s why we’re able to traverse so many industries and we’ve, we’ve been pretty maniacally focused on, uh, servicing industries, you know, insurances, health, insurances, life insurances, health care, financial services, home services, uh, because it’s, it’s, it’s a PR it’s a considered purchase.

[00:28:06] Um, it’s a high value target. And, um, candidly in e-com, uh, like shopping cart, re-engagement Shopify, that kind of stuff. Like that’s a pretty, pretty well established market with companies like attentive and emotive and some others that are just doing shopping cart reminders, you know, like, Hey, don’t forget to buy your socks.

[00:28:24] Right. That’s more of that direct response, but for a lot of your clients, I assume, and a lot of our clients. It’s long tail high consideration. You got to get over, you know, pricing considerations. You’ve got to figure out like why the consumer is stuck. And that’s what SMS can give you. Instead of just dialing them 8, 9, 12, 20 times, trying to figure out when to get ahold of them.

[00:28:46] You can just ask him, Hey Jason, when can we talk? You know, like something that basic, well, what’s this about? Well, it’s about your policy. It’s going to expire. Okay, well, how much is it going to cost? Well, it’s going to cost this much, but I think I can save you some money. If we can jump on a call, that’s the magic of it.

[00:28:59] You know, it’s like, it’s understanding, like why is this person stuck in the first place? It’s asking the question first, then getting contact and then getting outcome. So it kind of flips the regular outbound model on its head. A little.

[00:29:12]

Jason: And what about different industries? What are you seeing as far as, you know, with some industries have to deal with and others don’t regulatory compliance or the way that the consumers are different?

[00:29:25] Uh,

[00:29:26]

AC: Yeah, it depends on the consumer is honestly like, know we’ve done a ton of studies on this when we were, it was just use age as the most, the simplest one, you know, our senior market they’re texting. I mean, they’re, they’re like the worst part about them is they text a lot, meaning like they will write you a book.

[00:29:43] Right. Which, which kind of trips up, uh, in LP and AI, you know, so, uh, grandpa or grandma, you know, texting back, like they’ll take their sweet time. To write out a lot of information. So which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but, um, they’re texting, uh, damn near as much as everybody else. So as far as the age goes, um, this channel works.

[00:30:03] Whether you’re young or old, it doesn’t really matter. Then when it comes to regulatory, I mean, there’s a lot, right? Like if you’re financial services, you know, the credit repair dot coms that that dot comes in the world, you got the CFPB to deal with. If you’re dealing with, um, even something as simple as billing reminders, Which is a big use case for us first party billing reminders saying like, Hey, Jason, don’t forget to pay your bill in some states when that bill is due.

[00:30:30] It’s considered a collection attempt, even if it’s not a collections, even if it’s just do, even if you’re still active on the policy and you still got insurance coverage, certain states have different rules that say, no, this is collections. We don’t care what you say. Uh, so you’ve got to treat it differently.

[00:30:45] Certain amount of touch points, certain things you can, and can’t say. Uh, third-party disclosures like different than if you’re on the phone and you’re talking to somebody, if you just send somebody a text message, you can’t expose Phi health information. You can’t expose a again in certain states and certain use cases, the amount of the debt, the fact that the reason even as a debt.

[00:31:04] So it can be very, very careful and work with your counsel on, you know, what you can and can’t say, and when you can, and can’t say it did, you know, like, I’m sure. Your, your clients are super familiar with the TSR, uh, doing, doing outbound telemarketing. And there’s the TCPA, obviously there’s new stuff.

[00:31:22] That’s coming out in Florida. Like they’re a little mini TCPA, uh, which is, which is very broad and very vague and very, and there’s there’s teeth to it. You know, there’s private right to action. So. I think, you know, making sure you get good counsel, uh, or, or, you know, uh, to review what you’re doing is super important.

[00:31:40] Uh, you can’t just, you know, send somebody a thousand messages. Um, it’s very, very, very important that you’re monitoring for the opt-outs any opt-outs right. As I understand it, doesn’t say they have to send stop in cancel unsubscribe, which is what most systems handle. You know, again, if they send you back the stop with four O’s in it, you gotta, you gotta have a way to remove that.

[00:32:03]

Jason: Yeah. I’m trying to think of some messages that I sent when I’m trying to get it to

[00:32:06]

AC: stop. My favorite one that I’ve seen is, uh, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll give you the non super allude version of it, uh, because I’ve seen some bad ones. My favorite one I’ve ever seen. It was a, it was an insurance carrier that was, were sending, there was a quote for saving money on there, there, you know, Honda civic, auto insurance, whatever.

[00:32:26] And apparently this was a, you know, somebody typed in the wrong number as we, that the message went out and the, the message came back and said, I’d rather ride a sandpaper seat, bicycle nude down, you know, whatever street they lived on, you know, um, whatever Boulevard than to ever drive a effing Honda. You know, you gotta deal with that kind of thing.

[00:32:46] When you’re, when you’re doing two-way texting, you gotta be ready for anything, uh, emojis, you know, like you gotta be able to speak hieroglyphics, you know, like it’s, uh, th there’s a lot, you ask human questions, you get human responses, which is great because you’re engagement. Double, literally contact reach is going to double, but you gotta be ready for human responses.

[00:33:06] And then it comes back on all shapes, sizes and color. So

[00:33:09]

Jason: you’ve been in this game now to five years, uh, and then obviously around sales. And consumers in general, what do you see? So if there’s a call center, listening to this with their sales team, like, what are you seeing as the behaviors? Obviously there’s the texting and making it easy about that for them and meeting them where they want to be, but more on the sales side.

[00:33:31] So, you know, I know you’re facilitating these conversations. You’re talking to companies like once they get somebody on the phone, is there anything that you’re seeing that’s different or what companies are doing that’s working. Yeah. And that post, you know, the actual conversation piece. Cause I’m curious.

[00:33:46] Cause I know you see it all the time. I mean, I know you’re, you’re looking at these companies and talking to them about what works and doesn’t once you’re on the phone

[00:33:54]

AC: context is the biggest thing, right? Like the last thing you want, if you’re using drips or anything like it, you think about the user experience up to that point.

[00:34:02] Right? Cause drips will. Answer questions, follow up, persist, schedule, reschedule calls, and actually make the call towards the end. Right? So you said calls at 12, you know, we rescheduled a couple of times. We get there, we answer some questions. We make the call to the consumer. The biggest mistake I see is when companies have a system like this and conversational AI system, and then the user calls in it looks like the user calls into the call center.

[00:34:26] Right. And then they go, thanks for calling us and hold on, Jay Jason, you called me. Who have I been talking to? Right. So it’s that, it’s that right. And that little in-between that handoff moment, you know, there’s ways to do it. Whispers there’s ways to track with, you know, did, but making sure the continuity is not broken again, it’s marketing one-on-one right.

[00:34:45] Like remove all friction, keep all continuity, make it seamless. And if you can do that, it’s a great user experience. If you got a bunch of information in that conversation, which we do, we call them actionable insights. So if somebody said, ah, I don’t have that car anymore, but I got this car. Uh, but you know what?

[00:35:04] I also lost my job, so I can’t pay my bill. Now we have two really, really strong, actionable insights. One, maybe they need some help with forbearance too. They have a different car. So their, their policy needs updated. We can give that information back to the call center. I think a great that is right versus.

[00:35:20] If the call center gets on the phone and they say, Hey Jason, how can I help you? Well, hold on. We’ve been, we’ve been chatting about this. So making sure that somehow you’re getting that information, ideally just through signals and you know, you don’t necessarily want it to read a two week long chat log, but use that so that they don’t have to repeat themselves.

[00:35:38] That’s that’s a huge.

[00:35:40]

Jason: Yeah, it makes sense. And it’s, you know, it’s going back to the classic. If you’ve ever run a call center or anything, sales and operations side, then you want avoid this experience, which we’ve all had as a consumer, which is you call in, you give your story to somebody about whatever your issue is or whatever you need.

[00:35:56] Then they say, oh, I need to get you to another department. Let me put you on hold. Then they send you somewhere else and you have to tell your story again, and then you have to go to somebody else and tell you, and we all hate that. And so the biggest thing, if you’re running an organization, don’t do that to your potential customers.

[00:36:11]

AC: And what’s the cost of the organization, right? Like that’s that’s hours, you know, that’s a lot, I mean, wasting that kind of time, like you should, our calls. They should last a little longer because they should be closing. Right. Cause they should be warmed up. So it shouldn’t be like the short calls.

[00:36:25] They’re like, no, no, leave me alone. Know, but they also over time should get shorter because it should be somebody who’s warmed up and you got whatever valuable, actionable insight that persisted before the conversation. But yeah, making sure that information is passed off is key. You know, continuity is always the key.

[00:36:43]

Jason: Yeah, I think that’s great. So one last thing, cause you know, I know this is a big deal in general, right? We’re recording this, uh, slightly over halfway through 2021, which is hiring right now. There’s a solution like yours. That’s helping with the call centers that may be struggling with hiring cause it’ll automate some.

[00:37:04] But when it’s really effective, they need more reps because you can convert more. Right? So there’s this delicate game there. What are you seeing internally with challenges with hiring or solutions or, you know, ways that companies who are winning, what are the best practices they’re doing about hiring them?

[00:37:21]

AC: That’s a great question. Uh, I don’t know if anybody has it cracked right. This moment. I mean, drips even deals with this with a lot of our entry level positions, uh, quality assurance and whatnot. And we’re seeing 10 times the no shows that we used to see when hiring right, 10 times more resumes coming in with the same amount of people showing up, which means that people are, you know, in order to get, uh, whatever it may be, stimulus government help, state, state level help.

[00:37:48] Uh, they have to show that they’re applying. Right, but they don’t necessarily have to show up to the interviews to keep, to keep the checks running. So this is happening everywhere. I don’t know if you’ve been to New York or any big city recently. I was just there a few weeks ago. The service was horrible.

[00:38:04] It was the worst, worst, worst. I’ve seen literally in my life. And it’s because you have half, as many staff. Effectively twice as much demand because there’s so many people coming in with half as much staff and they’re, on-call either new, you know, new group of waiters, new group of cooks, new group of, uh, whatever.

[00:38:24] Um, they say that that experience is going to last 12 to 18 months. Most recent studies show. So if restaurants can’t stay. You know, I, I feel really bad for our friends and, and healthcare and Medicaid, Medicare, uh, this time, this year, sorry, a couple of months for open enrollment AEP. I think they’re gonna have a terrible time staffing up because a lot of these companies, and I’m sure your clients are some of them, they have to four X, five X their call centers to deal with that, that big wave of enrollment.

[00:38:53] And I, I think it’s going to be difficult. I think people need to be investing in automation today to deal with it. And I don’t mean drips, uh, but just, you know, if you’re a large client, you know, we’re not working with you yet. Sure. But, uh, in general, even if you can send that one test. Before the call goes out, or you can send that one text overnight at nights and weekends that’s automation, you know, and that’ll help.

[00:39:16] That’ll help a lot. That’ll take your contract rate up 20%, which means you need 20% less people, which means you have 20% less seats to fill. Right. I don’t know when it stops. You know what I mean? I think, I think when the, when the free check stopped rolling out, that’ll people get back to work, but is a call center the best place, you know, during a pandemic post pandemic, you know, to rack and stack bodies.

[00:39:38] I don’t know, you know, we’ll see. Yeah,

[00:39:41]

Jason: I think we’ll see. Well, ACI appreciate you being on here. Awesome stuff. I mean, again, I love the evolution and seeing you, I think I met you guys in 2017. I don’t think it was 2016, but it wasn’t too short after that. Um, and to see where you’re at and with this technology and serving this need for people who are listening, I know one of the best things they can go to drips.com.

[00:40:02] Like you said, one word. URL that you guys have any other ways for people either get ahold of you or your team or follow you or find other contacts.

[00:40:11]

AC: Yeah. I mean, I’m on LinkedIn. Of course. Uh, drips is probably the best place where we have a great content team. Now we’re putting out a ton of thought leadership on a lot of the stuff that we talked about today, including hiring an automation and the seven different methodologies for SMS, the creative, uh, the art of the message.

[00:40:29] I’m just super, super, super proud of our team. You know, this about us, but we’ve, we built a company and, and, and focused on executing, but now we’re, we’re really sharing and putting a ton of content out there. To help the whole industry, you know, our, our competitors in the light kind of get to where they need to be, uh, to communicate with consumers these days.

[00:40:47] So check out the blog, subscribe to the newsletter and we’ll see you guys on the road soon. Yeah, for sure.

[00:40:54]

Jason: Uh, AC appreciate it. Thanks again for, uh, joining me on the show.

[00:40:58]

AC: Thanks. Jason, did you get some inspirations of ways to help your call center sales team win bigger, stronger, and faster. Hope you are fired up to scale your sales operations.

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