Voices From The Pod: Sophia Gale, Customer Success Manager – Education

Thank you to Sophia Gale, one of our Customer Success Managers in the education team for explaining how we cultivate such fantastic relationships with our schools.
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Hi Sophia! Thanks for joining today! Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to work with Zeelo?

Absolutely! I started working with Zeelo in December 2021. I was actually on a train when I applied for the position (don’t judge me!). The role really combined elements of my previous positions, namely my customer success work within the events and logistics industry and my teacher training experience. I really loved working with people and so it was always something that I wanted to get back into so I’m very excited to be in a position where I can do just that and be supported by a large team whose key focus is delivering the best and most safe service possible.

What does a typical day in the life of a Customer Success Manager look like?

In between launches, I would say that my main focus would be getting both new and existing schools live. For new schools and colleges, this involves taking the requirements from the sales brief and building it into a moving bus, so to speak. For existing schools that can mean amending accounts with new routes or fleet size adjustments in line with need and demand and maximising ridership. It’s also important that we look at routes and capacity in order to optimise the revenue that can be generated by the school off the back of ticket sales.

We check in with clients on a regular basis to discuss any operational issues, questions from parents or anything else that needs to be addressed in a timely and efficient manner.  We often have to deal with issues in the live environment so our reactiveness to this is crucial and we all work together to find the best solution.

Why are the services provided by Zeelo important for schools in this day and age?

Looking after a school’s transport services (often many of which were performed in-house) is a hugely daunting task and I think it is fair to say that only when it is taken out of their hands can they really breathe a sigh of relief. In-house usually finds one person looking after many areas; operations, compliance, routing, finances, customer support etc. When moving things over to Zeelo, this is all taken care of by our dedicated and hardworking team alongside me as a dedicated account manager; which is of course a massive weight taken off their shoulders.

From a parent's perspective, we find that they can benefit from a much more managed and streamlined service rather than just a bus; with a primary point of contact and safeguarding procedures in place to ensure the safety of their children. From a sustainability angle, we are also seeing much more involvement and insight from the students themselves at the moment and I think that being able to provide a fully carbon-neutral transport service is really tackling some of the everyday environmental issues that these students are questioning and speaking out about.  We have actually just launched our first dedicated EV for one of our independent schools, so that’s a really exciting and rewarding opportunity.

Your work sees you interacting with clients all the time, so building relationships is critical. How would you describe your interactions with schools using our service?

As I’ve mentioned before, I really do enjoy meeting and working with new people so it’s really important for me to build that relationship early. There needs to be that level of trust and transparency with clients and parents to a degree, and they need to know that I am there to assist with any queries or resolve any issues that might arise swiftly and effectively.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your role?

I think the biggest misconception is that customer success is the same as customer support and I understand why that may be, however, I feel that the success team is more proactive whereas the support team is more reactive. Ultimately, we are all striving to deliver that same excellence, the same amazing customer service experience. I would also say that people don’t quite understand how good your memory skills need to be in this role; dealing with all of the client’s and parents’ requests, service updates and operational issues really keeps us on our toes.

What gets you most excited about the future of Zeelo and what has been your proudest moment in the business so far?

Working with any startup is always exciting! Of course, it has its ups and downs but our current growth and plans to bring in more schools and FE colleges are really exciting. I really enjoy having these initial meetings with new schools and nurturing those relationships. At one point I was the only customer success manager in the education team; so it was quite daunting looking after around 10 accounts at once and trying to juggle everything but I am happy to say it all worked out nicely in the end so I’m pretty proud of that!

And finally, because it can’t be all about work! What would you say is your favourite pizza topping? And there seems to be a bit of a recurring theme in go-to karaoke songs here at Zeelo, would you care to share yours?

I love any pizza, to be honest, you can’t beat a good margarita and it has to be stone baked! And in terms of karaoke, I think it would have to be something from Adele; one of her earlier songs like Someone Like You or Make You Feel My Love for sure!

Thank you Sophia for your time and thank you for all you do here at Zeelo!

We will continue sharing some of our inspiring team members with you this year. Keep your eyes open for our next employee spotlight next month! Make sure you are following us here and on LinkedIn and Twitter as we continue to celebrate our team.

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