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How Bluecrew Uses Multi-Channel Notifications To Connect Thousands of Hourly Workers With Employers

Posted by Courtney Chuang on November 12th, 2020

Bluecrew’s Chief Product Officer shares why the W-2 staffing platform chose Courier to scale their notifications infrastructure. 

Bluecrew is changing the way employers find and manage hourly workers. For decades, hiring temporary staff meant combing through spreadsheets and waiting on unpredictable phone calls. Bluecrew’s innovative platform takes the headache out of temporary staffing, by providing instant access to a W-2 workforce for employers and more choice and benefits for workers. 

Today Bluecrew operates in more than 26 markets across the United States. With new workers and employers signing up everyday, the team relies heavily on multi-channel notifications – across email, text, in-app, and Slack – to keep people and jobs moving through the platform.

“Communication is a big part of our platform, since it's a two-sided marketplace,” explains Cooper Newby, Bluecrew’s Chief Product Officer. “We send thousands of notifications every week to alert workers about job opportunities and employers when jobs have been filled.”

But managing notifications for both workers and employers, while orchestrating delivery across so many different channels and APIs, has been a complex challenge. To scale their notifications infrastructure, Bluecrew turned to Courier. 

The growing complexity of multi-channel notifications

As Bluecrew’s community of workers and employers grew, so did the number of channels the business used to reach them. Before long, Bluecrew’s notifications were spread across Twilio SMS, Mandrill, Slack, and Intercom for email and in-app messages. 

It became difficult to keep track of what was being sent and to whom. For channels that required a direct API integration, it also led to a growing reliance on development time. “If the notification was built by an engineer and hard-coded, you had to wait for the next release cycle to update even a small typo or change channels from email to SMS,” says Newby. 

In search of a solution, Bluecrew initially purchased marketing platform Braze, which promised to bring many of their channels under one roof and enable non-technical teammates to manage notifications on their own. But locked into an annual contract, the team soon discovered Braze fell short of the centralized platform they needed.

“Braze’s template editor is really counterintuitive,” Newby says of their decision to move off the platform, “and the shortcomings with their Segment integration meant we couldn’t reliably trigger event-driven notifications without writing custom code.” After a year, Bluecrew decided it was time to look for an alternative. 

A single platform with a powerful Segment integration

When Bluecrew finally came across Courier, the team had all but given up on finding a solution. “We were looking at building it ourselves,” Newby admits. “Nothing had all the connections we needed. We wanted something that could hook into Segment, send multi-channel notifications, and keep all our templates in one place.”

Courier, luckily, was just the platform they were looking for. Courier’s breadth of integrations meant Bluecrew could finally unify all their communication channels. “Now we can manage every notification, for every user, across every channel, in a single view” says Newby. Setting up each provider took just a few minutes – to connect Mandrill, it was as easy as copy-pasting an API key. 

Paired with a robust Segment integration, Bluecrew’s product and marketing teams can create and send notifications with a truly no-code experience. “Anyone can pick an event in Segment, map it to a notification in Courier, and start sending a new message on any of our channels – without a single line of code,“ explains Newby.

“This saves a significant amount of engineering time,” Newby adds. With Courier and Segment, Bluecrew’s engineers can get back to building their core product, while their product and marketing teams focus on optimizing the user experience.  

Delivering a personalized notifications experience 

In order to maintain a high job fill rate, Bluecrew needs to stay in constant contact with both their workers and employers. Their notifications are highly personalized with details about upcoming jobs for workers and about the workers who’ve accepted them for employers.

With both drag-and-drop capabilities and streamlined code editing, Courier’s designer makes it easy to create dynamic notifications. “We track Segment events everywhere in our product,” Newby says, “and all that data is passed directly to Courier. Anyone can add a content block and insert a custom attribute like ‘shift start time’ or ‘cancelation reason.’ We also have the flexibility to add custom code anywhere in the notification.” 

Personalization at Bluecrew goes beyond just the message itself. It also extends to the channels they’re using to notify users. “We want to send notifications on channels that our workers and employers are actually engaging with,” explains Newby. “If for some reason, our in-app message isn’t seen, then we want to send a text. And if that fails, we should send an email.” 

That’s exactly what Courier’s orchestration engine, with its ability to set channel priority and rules, enable Bluecrew to accomplish. “Our long-term goal is for every notification to be specifically tailored to each user and sent on the channel they prefer,” Newby says.

More opportunities to drive meaningful user engagement 

Shortly after implementing Courier, Bluecrew began to see a positive impact on their business. “We recently finished setting up notifications in Courier to move new workers along the application funnel,” Newby shares. “Those notifications improved the completion rate by 55%.”

As Bluecrew looks to the future, they see plenty of opportunity to use Courier to drive deeper engagement among workers and employers by adding new notifications and new channels. 

“Courier will continue to help us improve our job fill rate by putting the right job in front of the right workers on the best channels for each individual,” Newby says. “These notifications are key to keeping more workers engaged and more employers filling shifts with our flexible workforce.”

Learn more about Courier

Author
Courtney Chuang

Courier
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