Customer Service is an attitude
Interview with Tobias Neumann, Global Head of Customer Service at DE-CIX
“The best service is delivered by people who love to support. It’s all about attitude.”
A spontaneous interview at a music festival in 2012 brought the IT support specialist and Heavy Metal enthusiast to DE-CIX, where he has been Global Head of Customer Service since 2016. In this interview, he gives an insight into the passion he brings to this role and how the Internet became an ever larger part of his life over the last 25 years.
Tobias, what are your main daily tasks?
My days are focused on managing the Customer Service team, taking care of customer requests (provisioning, troubleshooting and consulting via tickets, phone, etc.) and continuously improving the service experience and quality for our customers. Everything I do is geared towards making sure our customers are satisfied with our services.
If you want to deliver the best possible customer service, you need to have the right attitude and you have to be enthusiastic about supporting your customers in every possible aspect. The best service is delivered by people who love to support. It’s all about attitude.
How does your daily work contribute to DE-CIX’s mission of providing premium network interconnection services?
My team and I connect all customers worldwide to the DE-CIX interconnection platform and make sure that our customers get help quickly, if they are having any difficulties. We are always available to answer any questions our customers might have. I am involved in many DE-CIX projects and focus on continually improving service. Above and beyond all that, I care deeply for my team and work hard at being a good manager.
What is the best aspect of being part of the DE-CIX team?
DE-CIX grants its employees a lot of freedom and trust – resulting in an environment where I feel I can be free, be myself, and develop my own ideas. This is important to me and it is one of the best aspects of working for DE-CIX. I am also really lucky to work with excellent people in my team and in other departments. Only when a team really fits together, can you offer great customer service. It is a real pleasure to work with these people; it would not be the same without them!
“Only when a team really fits together, can you offer great customer service.”
My special thanks go to Wolfgang Tremmel who took me on board at DE-CIX and introduced me to the world of peering with a lot of heart and passion. I will always be grateful for that! There is always something you can learn from Wolfgang who has been in the industry for many, many years. He also has rather fantastic taste in science fiction literature.
“In summer 2012, I met Bernhard Hahn at a music festival and mentioned I was looking for a job in IT support. I started working at DE-CIX a few weeks later.”
What makes your job fun and exciting? What makes you come to work every day?
My customers and my team make working for DE-CIX exciting. I am a very optimistic person and every day I am eager to come to work and see which challenges wait for me. This never gets old.
What did you do before coming to work for DE-CIX?
Before I started at DE-CIX, I worked in the IT Support department of Frankfurt’s Goethe University. My job was to provide IT support for the students and staff, wherever that was needed on campus, which meant I got to meet a lot of very interesting people. Prior to that, I worked for the non-profit Hertie foundation in a project focused on schools throughout Germany and for Fujitsu-Siemens Computers.
In summer 2012, I met Bernhard Hahn at a music festival and mentioned I was looking for a job in IT support. He immediately switched to English and basically interviewed me on the spot. After a more formal interview at the Frankfurt office, I started working at DE-CIX a few weeks later.
Which were your favorite milestones in the development / history of DE-CIX?
The infrastructure change from the old architecture to Apollon. It was – and still is – amazing to be a part of DE-CIX worldwide expansion while continually improving the customer service experience. For example, extending our service team’s office hours this year to ensure availability across multiple time zones. Not to forget the improvements to our customer portal where we just added self-service features which will be continuously extended this year and further on. I believe that self-service is an important and very welcome addition to our service portfolio.
What did you want to be when you grow up?
Many things, but mostly I wanted to be a Heavy Metal musician leaving my mark in the book of Heavy Metal (at least I made it into the “metal archives”. 25 years ago that music genre had a life-changing impact on me and it’s still a very big part of my life, as was and are computers. My father let me use our first x86-computer whenever he was not working on it. I remember coming home from school one Friday starting to play “Civilization” (it was on a single floppy disk!) until I fell asleep over it. By Sunday, I had reached the end of the game and it felt amazing. In those three days, I had learned a lot about history, civilization, and culture, and it triggered my interest in these topics so I went on to do a Master’s degree in Sociology and Social and Political Science. And yes, I am still heavily into video games in my free time. :-)
What were your first experiences with the Internet?
My first interconnected experience was playing an “online”-role playing game via Telnet. I was using a computer at the University of Kassel which hooked me up to the Telnet for free. Quite early on, 1995/1996, I participated in the FIDO net and had my own digital mailbox or BBS to which just one user could connect at a time – though just when my parents were asleep to not block the phone line! The first step into the Internet was then through AOL (do you remember the one-hour-free discs which were suddenly everywhere?). I have been online since.
“When everyone else came aboard and interconnected with us, that was – for me – a key moment of the Internet, where we all met and came together.”
What – for you – are the Internet’s key moments and major achievements; the highlights, the peaks, the milestones etc.?
For a long time, my friends and I used the Internet and it felt new and exciting and soon it became an integral part of our lives. But my parents and a big part of the society did not even know that it existed, let alone take it seriously. And then, at a certain point, the Internet became mainstream. When everyone else came aboard and interconnected with us, that was – for me – a key moment of the Internet, where we all met and came together.