Q&A with Tom Bruhn, Vice President of Customer Success at Ineo
Tom Bruhn, our VP of Customer Success, speaks about the role of trust in client services, finding a tech-forward solution to staffing shortages, and how he’ll always be a musician at heart.
The foundation of any business is its clients, and the global mobility industry is no exception. When you care about your clients and their employees, building customer relationships is a rewarding experience, as their success can feel like your own. Our Vice President of Customer Success, Tom Bruhn, has first-hand knowledge of how fulfilling it is to help clients meet their mobility goals.
With over 30 years of mobility industry experience, Tom Bruhn joined Ineo as Vice President of Customer Success in April 2019. Tom is responsible for helping our customers enhance their global employee mobility programs by optimizing the capabilities of their Ineo relocation and assignment management software and services.
Passionate about client advocacy, Tom has a track record of driving meaningful, productive client and supplier partnerships focused on collaboration, integrity, and respect. Before joining Ineo, Tom served as Vice President, Client Services at both Weichert Workforce Mobility and SIRVA, and was an Account Manager at Cendant Mobility (CARTUS).
Tom earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Music from Elmhurst College. He’s an avid music buff, loves to travel, and enjoys fine dining with family and friends.
How long have you worked in the mobility industry, and when did you join Ineo?
“I’ve been working in the industry for 35 years and joined Ineo about 3 years ago”.
How many times have you moved for work?
“Technically, I’ve moved for work three times. But it’s an interesting question because I worked as a consulting services project manager for two years, where I was always on the road and worked all over the country. I worked on three-to-five month projects, lived in a corporate apartment at the client’s location, and then flew home every other weekend. Some of the cities I had the chance to work in were Bethesda, Maryland; Peachtree City, Georgia; Evansville, Indiana; Stamford, Connecticut; and Westchester, New York”.
What common misconception do clients have about Ineo or the mobility industry?
“When it comes to Ineo, many clients think our main – if not only – product offering is tax services. But many people might be surprised to know that our primary revenue source is our software vertical instead of our tax services.
The most common misconception about the mobility industry is that it’s the employee who drives the engagement. While the end-user is an employee because that’s who is being transferred or going on assignment, our clients are employers, not employees”.
What do you think is the key to developing long-term customer relationships?
“Integrity and trust, and there are three sub-components when it comes to customer service. One of them is availability, another is responsiveness, and the last is accuracy. But if you don’t deliver all three of those with integrity and trust, you won’t have a great foundation for the customer relationship”.
What will be the most significant challenges Ineo’s clients will be facing in 2022, and how does the company plan to address them?
“The biggest challenges will be recruiting and staffing, compliance, and pandemic-related impacts on how business will be conducted.
Generally speaking, mobility is, like so many others, an industry experiencing a significant staffing issue – there is a severe talent deficit. Part of mobility is logistics, and the transportation industry has been absolutely slammed: they’ve experienced huge shortages of skilled driver, port and customs labor.
We hear a lot about the deluge of open job requisitions and how many professionals are either unemployed or underemployed, so although it may seem like easy math just to bring the two together, that’s not how it works. To some extent, technology enhancements will partially alleviate a net reduction in the number of actual human beings needed to deliver some capacity of work.
As noted, mobility industry challenges continue to focus around tax, payroll, visa and immigration practices and compliance. There are technology solutions being developed as we speak, and that will help a lot, but the real question is: Will companies be willing to pay for them”?
How do you recommend clients navigate these challenges?
“One thing the industry needs to do a much better job at is gaining a seat at the leadership table. Executives must understand the ramifications of all decisions in relation to perceived cost savings. Although they’re often fixated on driving down RMC fees, in many cases these fees constitute a fraction of their total relocation spend, averaging only 2-3%. Is a tradeoff being made in achieving and enforcing an acceptable standard of compliance?
In our industry, deviations in compliance equate to increased risk. There is always opportunity for key stakeholders to think about compliance and policy design and pull it all together”.
What does a typical day look like for you in your role?
“My typical day looks atypical. When you work in client services, you don’t know what will hit your desk on a daily basis.
I think one of the interesting aspects of IT is how users have tools to perform a comprehensive analysis of exactly what is going on. You try to zero in as fast as possible to solve the mystery, especially when something is amiss. Many times you’re looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, but you’re unsure of which haystack to start with. In this space, when a client comes to us with an issue, we often have to identify the problem immediately… time is not our friend”!
What is one thing you are passionate about outside of work?
“Music… I’m a lifelong music fanatic! I was a Business and Music major in college, and even though I don’t play an instrument anymore, my family and friends will attest that I still play a mean stereo system, and retain a huge passion for many types of live and recorded music”.
Positive client experiences are our specialty
Tom isn’t the only one at Ineo dedicated to providing our clients with excellent service. The entire Ineo team wants you and your assignees to have an inclusive, stress-free experience. Contact our industry experts to learn more about our full range of client services for every global mobility program.