From Industry Expert to Customer Service: Switching to a Career in Tech Support

Categories: Our Company People & Culture

Technology is constantly evolving, and as our tools become more advanced, so too do the needs of our customers and the complexity of the projects they’re working on. To help our customers get the most from our latest tools, our technical support team must have the technical and industry know-how to guide our customers to the right solution.

That’s where Autodesk’s Technical Support Specialist Team (TSS) comes in. Many of them come from the industries they now serve, making them a vital resource for our customers as they work through intricate problems.

Dominique Bouthillitte and Tobias Orlow at desks.

Left: Dominique Bouthillette, Right: Tobias Orlow

I sat down with two of our specialists to hear why they chose to work in technical support and what they do to ensure customer success. Here’s what Dominique Bouthillette from Autodesk’s Boston office and Tobias Orlow from Autodesk Barcelona had to say:

How did your career first start, and what was your path to working in customer support?

Dominique Bouthillette: I started out as a 3D artist and animator in the medical industry, working with 3D anatomy models, surgery animations and forensic recreations. I loved that job because it combined my passion for art and science into one career path. But my perspective radically changed when I re-started my career at Autodesk as a technical support specialist for 3ds Max (Spoiler alert: I fell in love with it).

Tobias Orlow: I began my career in mechanical engineering, working as a precision mechanic and manufacturing parts for various industries. Since I’m passionate about solving issues or coming up with new solutions—a daily task for precision mechanics—I wanted to see what it was like to be on the other side, helping others solve problems and improve the way they work. That’s how I got into my current role where I get to do exactly that for some of Autodesk’s biggest customers in the manufacturing industry.

Learn more about career opportunities at Autodesk

Were you an Autodesk customer prior to taking on this role? What made you want to apply?

DB: In college, I learned Autodesk software as my main toolset for 3D modeling, animation, lighting and rendering, and I continued using it into my professional career. Each studio I worked for used 3ds Max and based their 3D delivery pipelines on its capacities.

I honestly never had any intentions to move from production work to a technical support role. It was purely happenstance when a wonderful Autodesk recruiter messaged me on LinkedIn after I had recently experienced an unexpected lay off. I decided to apply the next day.

After my first two interviews for the job, I realized the role actually fit what I love doing: helping people, creative problem solving, and using software I loved and was passionate about.

TO: As a mechanical engineer I used many different CAD and CAM tools and was very aware of Autodesk and what they do. What made me want to apply is actually a funny story: I had just moved to Barcelona to start a career in sales, working for a startup. At the time, Autodesk Barcelona was growing rapidly, and the company’s values and focus on sustainability resonated  with me. I wrote a letter describing my interest in what Autodesk was doing and sent it over along with my CV. I wasn’t applying for any specific position, but rather asking them to evaluate my profile and let me know of any positions might be a fit. I got a prompt reply and after a couple of interviews, I started my journey at Autodesk!

What kind of customers do you work with? What makes someone good at providing support to our customers?

DB: I have the best customers! They’re so creative and unique; seeing their work is incredibly inspiring. Sure, you’ll encounter instances of heightened stress because of an issue with a looming deadline, but it’s really nice to know they’re just as passionate as I am about the software. I work with our 3ds Max customers, but I encounter users from all around the world. It’s amazing to be talking to someone in Brazil one day and then speak to someone in France or South Africa the next.

In my experience, people great at providing customer support if they can acknowledge customers’ concerns and empathize with their situation (showing you truly care goes a long way in this role). It’s also important to be action-oriented, adaptable, and committed to continuous learning.

TO: I mainly work with our enterprise customers in the manufacturing sector. I’d say that good support means helping find solutions as quickly possible, so our customers can get back to work. But, it can also be helpful to probe for more information, identify usage patterns and see how the customer might avoid the same problems in the future. That’s what makes for great customer support.

Dominique and Tobias with their teams

Left: Dominique volunteering on an Autodesk Foundation project; Right: Tobias at a team dinner.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

DB: My family has always said ‘If you can help one person a day, it can make a world of difference.” I completely agree. I love helping others, so when they are able to meet their project deadlines, or finish making the next great game or product, it’s very rewarding.

TO: Helping our customers is the most satisfying aspect of the work we do; receiving good feedback always feels very rewarding. The trust we build with the customer through constant interaction and helping solving their challenges is crucial for everyone’s success.

When you started out in customer support, what were you surprised by? Did it meet your expectations?

DB: When I started in this role, I was surprised by how process-oriented it was. It was so interesting to be onboarded and trained on the new tools (like Salesforce and JIRA) that would help me do my job. I was also very excited to be using and learning 3ds Max by working through support cases with customers. The software is fairly vast so even the mightiest of Max Gurus may not know it all!

TO: It actually did meet my expectations, no surprises regarding the support aspect of my role.

Any tips for those interested in applying for, or just getting started in support roles?

DB: Be open minded and just go for it! For a long time, my career gravitated towards specific production pipelines and the creative “making” process. But if you’re seeking a change in environment, constant creative problem-solving, and perhaps even just some stability in business hours, work-life balance, or income, I think a support role is the perfect fit.

TO: There’s no need to worry if you feel you don’t bring enough expertise in certain areas yet. The customers will constantly challenge you and you’ll keep learning new things to get more sufficient using the skills you need. The most important thing is to stay curious and keep challenging yourself.