Speaker 0 00:00:05 Hello listener. Welcome back to the audience podcast today. I'm delighted to sit down with him at McCaffrey customer experience manager here at <inaudible>. She joined the company last year. We're finally getting a chance to sit down and get her perspective on supporting you the podcast creator, the podcast customer here at Casto sun. If you're not a Casos customer, well, maybe this will entice you to get that inside. Look to what support is like here at Casos your favorite podcast hosting company and what we're chatting about the framework that she uses to approach, uh, customer support and success here in, in some of the interesting insights she's learned in the podcasting industry since taking this job here at Casos. A lot of us here at castles are podcasters. We love podcasts. Of course, we love listening to podcasts. We love hosting podcasts, and there's always this a eyeopening experience.
Speaker 0 00:00:55 At least there was for me. And there is for Kim. When you join a company like this, to see how so many of you out there are using podcasts to do and solve and get your message out in ways we've never even thought of. As you'll find out in today's episode, we are hiring two customer support specialists, uh, to work right alongside Kim, to help podcasters launch their podcast, to be successful in the castles.com platform, go to castles.com/careers. If you want to see that job listing, if that's you, if you're somebody who loves to support people, creating podcasts, getting them set up with WordPress, getting them set up in castles.com. This is something that is interesting to you. castles.com/careers. Okay, we're going to dive into the episode with Kim today, picking up on what her role is here at castle
Speaker 1 00:01:42 Supporting podcasters in general, specifically Castro's customers. I joined this team specifically because I wanted to work with the customer base. I was very excited about that. Have a passion for podcasting. There was a path that led me here. We have so such a variety of questions that are coming through the, through the support desk. And I started to see some common denominators kind of coming through. So what we're looking at is really overhauling our self-service resources for two very specific groups of customers that we have and kind of helping them navigate and be able to use the product and for their specific use case. For example, we have two primary groups of customers at Casto. So we have podcasters who want to be able to create a podcast and distribute that episodes across any and all podcast listening platforms. But we also have podcasters who are very invested in their WordPress website and they find it very valuable to be able to manage that podcast right there directly in WordPress with, with RS seriously, simple podcasting plugin while Casto serves as the host.
Speaker 1 00:02:50 So we have two very specific types of customers, all kind of with the same goal in mind, but wanting to be able to do it in two different places. So one of the things I've really very early on is that there are some kind of confusion around that folks that were kind of reaching out, not understanding like asking, do I need to have a WordPress website? Of course, casters is built beautifully for both types of podcasters, whether they're managing it in the Cassius web app or WordPress and helping them be able to get the information that they need. And it's kind of a, not a great business model for support, but our goal is to put tools in their path that they don't have to even reach out, to support in the first place to put those tools and to empower them, to run and manage and publish episodes and get those distributed. However, whatever works best for them,
Speaker 0 00:03:43 Craig, who is another coast. And I suspect that you'll be our third cohort as time marches on here on the audience podcast, but he brought, Craig brought me on, especially for my experience in the WordPress space specifically, I was already a Castle's customer. I was using it every day for my pod, for my many podcasts that I do. So I had a unique angle on, on using WordPress. I know that you have used WordPress before, but you weren't living and breathing WordPress, maybe like I was. And maybe some of the other people, I know you said that both tools, what we've built are beautifully crafted for both of these experience. You're giving us some credit there.
Speaker 1 00:04:23 There's some Def there's definitely
Speaker 0 00:04:25 Look, we know that there's, there's definitely some stains on this, on this tabletop and we're trying to clean things up and there are some bumps in the road. What has that experience been like for you kind of just learning WordPress more deeply since you've, since you've been here, any major obstacles from like, even just like the WordPress side, like I can't believe people do it this way. Is there anything like that?
Speaker 1 00:04:48 Very much so WordPress, I had a basic understanding, but I came to Cassius and had an opportunity to work with people that would say we, I bleed blue. There is such a great community around WordPress and there's such a, an open and rapid exchange of information across to people that, that use WordPress and the information that's out there. They're eager to kind of help each other do that. But there is also, there's a vernacular. There's a, there's a language around that, that isn't spoken. It's not, the tongue has been almost like learning a new language altogether. And that's really important when you're working with customers to be able to, I have to be able to write maybe a knowledge base article, like a help article in their language. It has to reflect them. And so really, um, being very intentional about understanding the language and uh, why is it valuable to be able to manage the podcast and WordPress? Why is that so important? And that information was easily learned like, Oh, okay, I totally get it now. Why some, why that would be important to somebody, but making sure that our self service resources speak to both both of these groups.
Speaker 0 00:06:03 I think one of the advantages and one of the advantages of using our plugin seriously, simple podcasting plugin, uh, on WordPress is that, that level of ownership, I think we have a unique stance in the market where not only are we compatible with WordPress because of our popular plugin, because we have extra integrations with something like an Elementor to help people build their website a little bit better for podcasts. It's that, that degree of ownership that I think a lot of people like, but you sort of living in that world of WordPress, which if you're a brand new podcaster, maybe WordPress is not the answer for you to build a website, right. To have a website for your podcast. Maybe this is too early to tell from your experience here at Casos, but do you ever run into a customer? Who's trying to make that decision, like, man, I'm really struggling with this WordPress thing.
Speaker 0 00:06:55 And then you just say, Hey, just, just use our built-in website click at the end of the day, just use our built-in website to cast us. And maybe you should just be a Castle's chasm because for that $190 for the year, you're trading a huge level of ease of use. I know I'm bias. We're both biased on this podcast, but at the end of the day, it's like, man, if you really want to make a go with this podcast, $190, a short money to do something grand with a podcast, and it's going to be way easier for you. Have you thought of a great way to, to bridge that gap or make help somebody make that decision
Speaker 1 00:07:27 More often than not. What we're seeing are new podcasters coming into Castro, us and publishing in the Castro's web app and then wanting to then move to WordPress there. Now they're kind of building that audience and they're wanting to kind of maybe build content complimentary content around that. At the same time, we do have customers that there's website building company in there, their tagline is a website makes it real. So my favorite taglines, I think marketing wise is one. I just thought that was spot on and people are very excited. They're ambitious, they're excited. They want to get started and they build a website. And of course, you're going to go to WordPress to do that. And as you're kind of getting ramped up, sometimes it can be, there's no end to the plug-ins. And the themes that you can have in the download will work together perfectly and understanding that language.
Speaker 1 00:08:12 They're also starting to learn how to tap, to speak fluent WordPress. And now they're using a series of simple podcasting and it is a seriously simple way to add a podcast to your WordPress website, but they are eager. They're their eagerness to have a platform for their voice, exceeds their eagerness to have a website platform. And that's when, and one of the reasons why I was so excited to work with this specific customer base is my desire to make it easy for people looking for a platform for their voice, whether it's to make us laugh or to teach us something or to have a conversation around common topic, whatever the case may be. Podcasting just opens up the door to give people that didn't have a platform for, excuse me, for their voice. Now they can do that. So with the Cassius web app, you can come in upload that audio file, add the episode, distribute that across Apple podcasts, whatever platform you want and your voice is out there in the world. So sometimes when we, when I am kind of gauging what, what is valuable to them when they are really, they have a sense of urgency to have their voice out there. Then I might say, well, let's look at this option instead of, well, you can circle back to the plugin later, but let's get your voice up and going. But more often than not, I'll have somebody in the web app publishing in the web app. Now they're ready to take the next step.
Speaker 0 00:09:47 Yeah. It's an interesting, it's an interesting take. It's a, it's an intelligent take because in my old age, when people would get really loud or even to the point of like an obnoxious cry for, for help or aggravation, there's something deeper there. And it's, and it's like you said, it's, it's this. We want to get their voice out. So it's not that they're having problems with WordPress. Maybe some of them are, there's maybe a technical issue at their web host company or something like that. But for all things being equal, it's like, they're, they, they're excited to get this out. And WordPress is kind of just like, it's like buying furniture from Ikea. You rip open the box, you throw the instructions to the site. Like I just want to play, I just want to get this thing put together or some new toy, right.
Speaker 0 00:10:29 For my children. And they're just like, let's put this thing together. And then they're like, wait a minute. This is getting frustrated. I want to get, I want to play with this. I want to have this desk set up and then you can reach back to the instructions. And it kinda is this moment where like, Oh, I gotta do this. Yeah. You kind of have to do that here with WordPress, but your, your team is there to, to, to understand that and to help people through it. And largely it's not just WordPress it's Hey, I want to get my voice heard. And how do I do this as fast as, yeah.
Speaker 1 00:10:54 Anybody with a background in customer experience, specifically customer support, any support specialist worth their weight in salt knows frustration comes from a passion. I don't get frustrated about things that I don't care about if I don't care about them. It's like whether it works or not, like I don't care, but if it's something that is really important to me or is going to help me accomplish a goal that matters to me and I can't get this to do what I need it to do. I'm frustrated. And that's where a good support specialist or customer experience person, that's our approach. And that's been at what, what a pleasant surprise to, to join this team and find that not just a support team, but literally from the top down our engineers, our product facing folks, our customer facing folks, our CA our CEO or founder, genuinely having this customer centric focus. And it's very, I wish it wasn't unusual
Speaker 0 00:11:55 Unique.
Speaker 1 00:11:57 It's one of those things where there's either a focus on the product and building new features or on maintaining the infrastructure or whatever the case may be. Very rarely do you find time and revenue invested in that balance? Not just building new feature sets, but making sure our customers are also aware that they can find those feature sets, that they understand how those features could be used and how to use them. That piece is often missing. It's I can tell you, it's not unusual for a customer experience manager to join a team and spend the first 90 days just trying to sell the team on the idea that this matters. And then they can kind of get some momentum joining. Castro's it. I landed on this solid foundation, very unique foundation, already built by people who were already there on that mindset. So it's been just a lot of fun to kind of start to just take the tools that we already have and fine tune them.
Speaker 1 00:13:00 And even though WordPress, I might be like, smacky instructions for the seriously simple podcasting plugin. We want this to be there, to be an ease about it. A step by step, easy to understand so that if anybody speaks fluent customer experience or, or UX reducing that friction, reducing the cognitive load of that information so that there is an ease about it. So that it's seriously simple. And that's that goal. So whether they want to publish in Castro's or they want to publish in WordPress, my goal is for there to be an ease about doing that
Speaker 0 00:13:39 Marvel Avengers movie. One of the crossovers that you and I have are this weekly webinar, and it's not even a webinar. I shouldn't say that it's actually, we've started out as a webinar, right? That was the idea behind. I was like, Hey, we'll just have this webinar. And we'll sort of present to cast those customers. So if you're a Castro's customer, you're listening to this. Now this is sort of a call to action to reach out to us, hello, at castles.com with some feedback. So we had this ideas, like we'll do this, this weekly webinar for our customers, and we'll sort of present to them and I, whatever concept of podcasting thing. And we quickly found that simply calling it open office hours where you and I will stare at each other on a zoom call until somebody shows up onto that zoom call. Right.
Speaker 0 00:14:21 And we'll just talk about the day. And then we had this open office hours thing. Again, this is something that is probably unique to a lot of software companies that you might be paying for. Right? If you're listening to this, certainly if you're on our arch-nemesis anchor dot there's no one at Spotify is meeting with you to talk about your podcast every week for an hour. These are things that, that you have experienced in from your past. You used to host as many webinars as I hosted podcasts. These are great tools for communication. A question, Mark, these are great tools for communication with customers. Like what do you see? Good and bad. And again, if you're listening to this, what do you want out of communicating with castle? It's like, what else can we do to help and educate you as a podcast or two to give you long-term success. But Kim, from your perspective, webinars, this interaction, this live streaming thing, call it what you want good or bad in your eyes.
Speaker 1 00:15:14 I think it's excellent. Not just for our customer base, but also for us. So to be able to have an opportunity to interact with our customers and to the fact that, that we do what we do. We open hours, it's live streaming. That requires a certain level of vulnerability. Anybody could show up, we could have a customer show up and say, Kim McCaffrey. I followed those steps in my website, crushed it. It could go one way or it could go the other. So there there is, but that's a big part of who our team is. There is transparency. We are not, we are meeting the customer where, where they're at. And for some, maybe not a video is, is the right medium for them or even written, but to be able to get on a call and say, Hey, this is what I have going on.
Speaker 1 00:16:05 And Matt, you talk them through it. Meanwhile, I'm taking a look at their, at their podcast at their website. I'm kind of troubleshooting and we're going through step-by-step or like troubleshooting in real time. Or we have folks that are coming in and where you are just the absolute rockstar is to say, here's how I want to grow notch. People. Like I can't figure this out these steps, but I want to grow. I want to grow my audience. How can I do that? How can I use private podcasting in a better way? How can I utilize the platform and maximize that value? But the questions that are there are asked, those are things that as from a support background, customer experience background, I am making mental note of paying attention to the language. Like every people in the team, kind of kid like up, Kim's going to want to edit or revise. That sentence
Speaker 0 00:16:57 Is our word here. Whenever a way we need a word for something we call Kim,
Speaker 1 00:17:02 Whether it's like an error message or even just small mess of texts in the app, words matter. They all matter very much. They matter when it comes to software. So paying attention to things like that, but I'm also able to understand even more what what's important to them and not just them as our customers, but this individual, this is where I'm able to kind of gain that insight into their sense of urgency is having the platform for their voice, where this sense of urgency is incorporating their voice and this podcast and this content into their website. And then we're able to kind of guide them. So I'm kind of learning just as much learning where, where are they getting stuck? And if they're getting, if I'm seeing the same thing over and over and over again, that they're getting stuck at a certain place, I've dropped the ball somewhere. I have a help doc out there or something that I need to go back and look at and improve, uh, to prevent that question or, or issue from ever coming up in the first place.
Speaker 0 00:17:59 Yeah. And we're doing everything. We, we can, I, this is sort of leading with transparency. We've we feel like we're, we're fairly transparent with our customers, humans, helping humans, kind of thing. Like we're not this mega media company. Like you will get these messages sometimes. Like, can't I just call somebody right now. We don't have the infrastructure to, to take phone calls from the thousands and thousands of podcasts, hosting customers that we have. It's literally quite literally impossible. So we're trying to put these things in place intelligently. And these are my words, not yours, but you know, we're at the Academy, we got you leading up a whole new knowledge base, which people will see fairly soon, depending on when this goes live, it'll be this week. So they won't see it this week. They'll see it next week, probably. But we were doing all of these things. We have the open office hours. We have the YouTube channel. We have the blog, we have the newsletter, like trying to put all this stuff into place so that we're an efficient team and who the heck wants to have a call center for support nothing wrong with it. But it's, it's just a massive thing. And I think at the end of the day, it would be really tough to keep that same high level of quality from folks like you and the team that you're building. So
Speaker 1 00:19:04 Equity, right. And what we know to be true, the data tells us the customers are software users. They don't want to call you, email you or chat with you. If they need to find an answer, they will spend around 20 minutes looking through self service tools first. And if they can't find the answer, then they're going to reach out to you. They really, the preference is always to find it on their own and trying to put those tools in their path just in time when they need it and not having to dig or try to kind of suss out what is relevant to them and being able to do that. It kind of like how you were describing with our folks that are, are using seriously simple podcasting and publishing right in WordPress. They liked that sense of control, that empowerment to, to they're running their stuff. They're running this pocket, they're managing it. They don't want to have to reach out to the support team, but if they do need us, we want to be here and be ready to offer them the information that's accurate. So looking at those self-service resources and just putting folks in a position to they're driving this bus and, and giving them the tools they need to do it.
Speaker 0 00:20:12 Changing gears just a little bit. What has, or what has changed in your mind about either being a podcaster or the podcast industry now that you've experienced it now here at Casos. I know that there was, I thought I knew everything about podcasting. When I first started, I was like, boy, I'm really going to just just know everything. When I get into this role. And then I saw how the many, many different types of castles customers that are out there and the people knocking on our door for things in the podcasting space that I had not even knew was a thing, let alone even thought about it. Has there any been this eyeopening moments for you as somebody who loves podcasts and has podcasts? It has podcasts. And I was now talking to people, trying to launch their endeavors.
Speaker 1 00:20:57 He's fascinating. Just the diverse customers, the topics that are being discussed. It's just across the board, how they're using podcasts, not just a podcast episode, we're seeing so many unique use cases for private podcasting that I thought, Oh my gosh, I would never, with all of that, it's really amazing. And really kind of speaks to that, that easily accessible platform, what they're able to do with it. The possibilities are, are endless. And it's just been fascinating too, to see how folks are using it and, and what's important to them and how they go about it.
Speaker 0 00:21:40 Has there been a favorite podcast category that you found, whether or not you want to name the podcast or not that you've come across to help somebody like vegan cupcakes experiences or like something like some crazy, like, I can't believe as a podcast, like we, one of the ones that I first did when I came here was if you just Google create a spotlight on unusual tea party and maybe we'll link it up in the show notes. Oh, a woman that I interviewed a Castle's customer who is a handwriting detective. I was just like, I didn't even know. That's a thing, let alone, you're running a podcast about it. My mind was just spiraling when I was interviewing anything like that come across.
Speaker 1 00:22:15 Did you have her, uh, analyze your handwriting?
Speaker 0 00:22:18 I, you know, we, I didn't, but she, we did. I said, I don't want to, I don't want you to analyze it because you'd be afraid. And she was like, Oh, a lot of people say that, but she wasn't. One of the things that you did say is when you like, sign your name, do you emphasize going like really big letters, like up? And I was like, yeah, that's, that's what I do. And she's like, okay, that's a good sign. It's a sign of like creativity and things like that. So long as it's not everything like trends down like, Oh God, like this is, so this is too much
Speaker 1 00:22:50 Really been excited to see how many podcasters are creating content around women and women's issues. So w women led podcasts speaking to women's health, just women's experiences in general. I obviously I'm an avid podcast listener. Most of the podcasts I listened to are around customer support, product marketing, things like that. I just, I, I love the topic. I love learning about it and hearing about it. And it's really, I thought I need to stop listening to all the work related podcasts and start to listen. Maybe start looking at these podcasts that just kind of maybe speak more to my own personal experience, but we really have a lot of solid, really just like a lot of traffic, well, followed podcasts around women's issues when women's topics, I've been really excited to see that.
Speaker 0 00:23:41 And you've pitched a podcast to host here at Castile's right. For, for the team. Tell us about that. That maybe this will inspire someone else in their own organization to do the same thing. Hint, hint, wink, wink, hosted a cast dose, but something that you'd want to do here for Castro's. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:23:57 So one of the first things that was very early on after I joined the team, we actually had a customer that reached out to us and had pointed out that there was a page on our website that was not accessible to his screen reader. I'm, we're relatively active in disability rights sort of activism. And so I immediately was like, well, let's take a closer look at this. And so, and again, it kind of going back to that, this team that already had laid this amazing foundation, bringing this up to the team like, Hey, we have some weak spots in accessibility in the product. And without skipping a beat, Craig, our founder had said, so what do you think about spearheading that accessibility project? Um, so one of the things that I've been working with, one of our developers work in the pre-planning stages and prioritizing, but we are on an accessibility journey.
Speaker 1 00:24:50 So we're looking at the website, the Castro's web app, the player, the plugin, our tutorials, the knowledge base articles, and evaluating them for accessibility and making changes where, where they need to be made. So accessibility being things like screen meters, obviously can somebody navigate a page just using the tab key or the enter key, or it making sure that things are accessible to our customers who are deaf or hard of hearing color blind have disabilities, maybe that affect motor skills. These are things that are, that we should all be doing all the time. And what we're looking at doing now is getting us to where we need to be first and building at the same time that we're incorporating this now into the process of building new features. So I've been working with Alec. He is one of our developers and he and I together, I had said, I really want to document this journey.
Speaker 1 00:25:44 Like why, why did we start doing this? Why was it important, really kind of pointing to, again, Craig's immediate, like, absolutely we needed to do that. And just kind of talking about what that's like there, there's a lot of content that's already out there about accessibility and kind of customer experience accessibility. But I was really excited to bring in a developer. We don't have a whole lot of a conversation happening around a developer and accessibility and how that might change the, their workflow and that sort of thing. So I was really excited to have that conversation. So we're going to be just recordings prob we're in the vision. We're envisioning it at this point 15 minute episodes. We're just going to publish it all as a series from beginning to end, just documenting that, that journey. So we brought the tools together. We have created a huge checklist. We have already started to prioritize the work has already begun and it will be ongoing. We're never going to have a stamp at the end of this, like, boom, we're done. This is always going to be an ever evolving process, but we are really excited to be tackling it.
Speaker 0 00:26:48 Yeah, that's awesome. Hey, listen, I know, I know an open office hours. You guys could join every Thursday at 12 o'clock. If you have any of those questions on launching the podcast, Kim, and as we wrap up here top frequently asked questions that you get ones that are like bizarre and another galaxy or your most common frequently asked question that as soon as you see it come through the help desk, you're like, I know exactly what this person needs. Do you have any of those fun quips that you can share?
Speaker 1 00:27:17 Our customers are migrating podcasts from previous hosts. So always important to remember that that's going to be a two-step process. The first part is going to be migrating that content from the other host to Castro's, which we make super simple, grab the RSS feed URL from the old host, you're gonna pop it right into Castillo's or in WordPress, wherever it is that you're managing your podcast. And then we're going to migrate that content in that's all going to come in. And then you're going to kind of fill in the feed details that weren't included in that migration process. Step two is redirecting that original RSS feed to the new one. We kind of like to say, you want to think of that as leaving a forwarding address when you're moving, what we want to do is make sure that in the next couple of days, if a subscriber clicks on the play button on Apple podcasts, we're going to make sure that Apple podcast is going to be redirected to Casto is not to this previous host.
Speaker 1 00:28:19 So that's really nine times out of 10 is simple as copy your brain, your new Cassius RSS feed return to your old account with the previous host. And they're going to have a place where you can paste that feed, leave that account in place for like two weeks. Don't run out and cancel your previous account right away. Give those podcasts, listening platforms, an opportunity to kind of update their system. So eventually what they're going to say is, Oh, we're no longer going to look to this previous host. We know that this is with Castro's redirect. That feed also means you're going to keep your subscribers. This doesn't mean that you're ending up here and then you have to start all over from the beginning. Your subscribers are going to be moved with you as well. So migrating is bringing over the content from the old host to Castillo's step to redirect that feed
Speaker 0 00:29:10 It's awesome stuff. Kim McCaffrey that's that's rap. I think that folks are going to be, I know the team is excited to have you here. I'm sure the folks that are castles customers, are you going to be excited to work with you and see everything that you have, uh, going on with support and customer experience here at Casos. I appreciate everything that you do, and I hope everyone else listening does as well. When you interact with Kim and her team, generally, I say, where can folks find you on the website? Thanks. But it's at casos.com. That, is there any, anything else that you'd like to say as parting words in today's conversation?
Speaker 1 00:29:43 I just, I can't say enough about our customers. I am thrilled to support them to be a part of that process and really excited to welcome two new customer support specialists here in the near future. So it's going to be growing and changing and we'll be rolling out a new knowledge base and those self-service resources. But the feedback from our customers is really going to be what drives that come to those open office hours right now we're doing them every Thursday, 12 o'clock Eastern time. Just jump in anytime within the hour, ask a question, let us walk you through that. But I'm just having a great time getting to know everybody. I just am just having a great time.
Speaker 0 00:30:22 Email us email@example.com. That'll open up a ticket, a support ticket, and that could be a feature request. And I think we'll have a feature request section on the site fairly soon. Again, probably within a few weeks of you hearing this you, the Castle's customer. So check that or stay tuned for that stuff. Everyone else, castles.com/subscribe. Speaking of subscribe and words matter, Apple's changing that to follow no longer the subscribed word. So at the end of the day of your podcasts are out there. We all have the change, our call to actions now to say, follow our podcast on Apple podcasts or Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts. All right, we'll see you in the next episode.