Published: Oct 19, 2023Time to read: 6mins Category: Insights
PeopleFluent’s Bright Lights: Meet Thao Nelson, Customer Success Manager
In this edition of Bright Lights, we introduce another key PeopleFluent team member: Customer Success Manager, Thao Nelson. When she’s not at work, Thao loves spending time with family, playing tennis, and traveling. Let’s get to know her better!
So, Thao, what’s your role at PeopleFluent? How long have you been working here?
My role is Customer Success Manager, and I've been in that role since mid-2021. My priority is to develop strong relationships with our customers and help them plot a path to grow and succeed within our solution.
What did you do for work prior to joining PeopleFluent?
A lot! Before I joined PeopleFluent, I worked at a business school. I led their corporate partnerships and career services team for about ten years. On the career services side, I was helping connect business students to companies matching their hiring needs. On the corporate partnerships side, I was cultivating corporate investments back into the university.
Prior to joining the business school, I worked in HR and organizational development roles as a consultant and also a practitioner in the healthcare, academia, and government sectors.
What do you like about your role?
I really feel the customer success manager role suits me right. At the end of the day, I simply enjoy working closely with our customers. Having been in the HR and consulting space in the past, it allows me to learn and understand what customers are aiming for. I'm always curious to ask customers: What are you working on? What goals do you have? I also advise them on how our solutions can help achieve that. So that's what makes me love what I'm doing—I'm able to be really close with customers and help them reach their goals.
What skills are needed to be successful in your role?
There are a lot of skills! But, for me, it boils down to two things. The first one is active listening and seeking to understand. When our customers recognize that we’re genuinely interested in what they have to say, they will openly share—and this allows me to understand what success means to them. That’s important, because for us to be successful as a business, we have to study what they're doing within our product, what's working, and what's not working.
The second skill is around problem solving and resolution. There are always challenges that come up, and it’s paramount that I identify the core issue and get the right colleagues aligned to help the customer resolve their issues. I believe the future success of any SaaS (Software as a Service) organization, like PeopleFluent, hinges on the ability to listen to customers, solve their problems, and continually adapt the product to meet their greatest needs.
What skills would you like to develop further?
I'm always striving to learn more about our products, our features, and functionality. I think it's important for me to continue to have a finger on the pulse of the talent management space, making sure that I'm on top of emerging trends and the challenges our customers face. Whether it be talent transparency, skills-based hiring, or a new workforce of humans and bots, I need to understand the customer's priorities and pain points so that I can align our solutions to help them reach their goals.
How would you describe your team dynamic?
We definitely have a positive team culture! Words that come to mind to describe my team are collaborative, supportive, and trusting. I feel comfortable being able to safely share ideas and information. Our team has the shared purpose of making sure that we're the client advocate, that we are customer centric, and that we're all trying to make sure customers have success with our solution. This dynamic is present within my immediate team, but it also goes beyond that—I certainly feel it more broadly within PeopleFluent.
Have there been any projects you've been particularly proud to work on?
We’re currently working on clinical skills checklist automation with one of my clients. I'm enjoying working on the project because this topic was talked about a lot during my early days working in healthcare and so I’m excited to see this has become a reality now for our clients. To be able to see a long-term project come to fruition is huge, and something I'm really proud to be a part of, knowing that there has been a lot of work with our colleagues over the years.
What's your favorite work perk?
I love being able to have the flexibility to work from anywhere, and working with colleagues from many time zones. Having a global network of colleagues has been a lot of fun for me.
What are you doing when you're not at your desk?
My family keeps me busy, and I enjoy tennis and travel. Probably all in that order. I have two boys and my youngest is finishing his last year of high school. Many say, “oh, you're going to be an empty nester soon,” but I read something recently that really stuck with me: instead of being an “empty nester,” someone called it a “bird launcher.” And I'm like, yeah, you know what? I'm a bird launcher. Take flight, boys!
What’s something you wish you'd known at the start of your career?
At the beginning of my career, “what you know” was critically important. Then it shifted to “who you know.” However, now, reflecting back, I've learned that it is actually “who knows you.” My advice would be: learn to build trust and credibility with influential people and make sure that you establish your reputation capital. What I mean by that is, be intentional and consistent with your actions, your behaviors, and your words, because this will allow you to start finding champions who will rally for you when you need them.
MORE FROM THE BLOG | ‘PeopleFluent’s Bright Lights: Meet Kristin Goetz, Senior Strategic Product Adoption Manager’
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