When Alex Rombak first interviewed for a role as a technical support engineer with IBM Trusteer, he seemed a little different to the others in the room. They were all IT experts straight out of the army — some had even been working in technical support for years. Alex’s background, by contrast, was in hospitality.
“Everybody said you need to be technical,” he remembers. “But I said it doesn’t matter if you’re technical as long as you get along with people, you understand customer service and you know how to talk to people.”
Alex is definitely a people person, and as such, he was a perfect candidate to become a tier 1 technical support engineer — even without a technical background.
Supporting Clients and Co-workers With a Smile
After a stint supporting users of IBM Trusteer Rapport, Alex moved to enterprise support last year and now works with Trusteer’s big financial institution clients.
Besides being the first contact for important customers, he also monitors trends from reported client cases to isolate chronic issues for the products. His clients are both end users and internal colleagues — from product to developers, legal to management.
Working with enterprise customers is very different from dealing with consumers, Alex said.
“It’s not just John or David at home with his computer and an issue; it’s the bank that comes to you,” he explained. “The issues are much larger, and there’s usually more at stake.”
Each customer has a different style that Alex must take into account. Whereas some are friendly and eager to chat, others are strictly business. Alex must adjust his communication style to suit the person on the other end of the line.
From Booking to Debugging
Truth be told, Alex’s tech support work is not unlike his time in hospitality. He spent six years with InterContinental Hotels Group working as a shift supervisor, handling reservations and dealing with travel agencies from all over the world. He said hospitality is a convenient job for a student in Israel.
“I always enjoyed working with people, and that’s why I believe I enjoy working in technical support,” he said. “The interaction is great. You get to talk with different people and help to solve their problems.”
The world of hospitality saw Alex through his higher education, where he studied economics and logistics. He ultimately graduated with such high honors that he was invited to go on to the master’s level with full scholarship. Though Alex was always interested in technology and intrigued by puzzles and riddles, he couldn’t study computer science at university. He had to work, and Israel’s computer science degrees require full-time dedication.
“I finished a master’s degree in something I didn’t really want to do,” he laughed. “But I believe that any degree, no matter what the subject is, teaches you a new way of thinking, or of approaching problems and issues. You make each new decision based on your past experience and learning.”
Every Link in the Chain Is Essential
Alex doesn’t consider his education to have been a waste of time, as some people are keen to tell him. He said he actually draws from his studies in his technical support role. He looks at issues differently than many of his colleagues who come from a purely computational background, and he understands his role in the chain.
“The one thing you learn in supply chain management is you need every part of the chain to work together,” he said. “If all the chain is perfect but someone at the end doesn’t do his job or will be late, the product isn’t worth it. Every person who works in a company is part of its success. Everybody plays their part in the end. Even when you have a great research department, you still need a great support team to assist customers when issues inevitably occur.”
A Friendly Face With Thick Skin
Yes, Alex has heard all of your jokes about tech support — and he doesn’t mind.
“It’s true, the customer only comes to us to say the product doesn’t work. No one comes to us and says hey — great job! Everything’s working,” he laughed.
But that doesn’t mean Trusteer’s tech support team isn’t eager to hear from you. Alex praised the enthusiasm of his colleagues, and noted that everyone is really happy to help anyone who approached them, from colleagues to customers.
“That’s what makes Trusteer a great place to work,” he said. “The teamwork is really valued and noticeable.”