Trainers: Have you rewarded your tech support team lately?

One of TechRepublic's readers speaks out on the importance of rewarding your tech support team. Some trainers don't realize how valuable this team really is to their success.

In reviewing the e-mails and forum responses we’ve gotten this past week, I ran across an e-mail from one of our readers that expressed appreciation to a special team of people who we don’t often think about as trainers. Do you rely on your system support team to ensure that the training computers are up and running before each class? Maybe not all trainers have this advantage, but one of our readers does, as do I.

A TechRepublic reader responds
One of TechRepublic’s readers mentioned that her tech support was responsible for prepping the training room and ensuring that all workstations, logins, etc. were functional, not to mention the fact that they had to configure the laptops for their field staff and instructors. She stated, “It is most often when I arrive at training to see red-eyed, but victorious administrators who have worked through the night (without anyone else's knowledge since it would involve overtime) to ensure that the room is ready for instruction.”

Wow! Is that a dedicated tech support team or what? They deserve a pat on the back, don’t they? That’s what she said, too. “How many instructors realize that without this invaluable team, they would be dead in the water? … Instructors should seek out the people responsible for their training success and at the very least, offer a heartfelt ‘Thank you.’ After all, without IT and the administrators, we instructors are nothing.”

My experience
As a one-person training team myself, most of the time I rely on those guys and gals to help keep me up and running, too. Without them, I’d sleep on a cot in my office every night when class is in session. I have to admit I have one of the best system support teams anyone could possibly dream of. Of course, I can do some of it myself, but anytime I need something I give them ice cream with a cherry on top—ask nicely and thank them for their assistance. Don’t you like to be told you’re doing a great job and your time is appreciated? I know I do! Some managers might say, “It’s your job, that’s why we pay you,” but how much does a simple ‘thank you’ cut into your budget?

What type of reward?
So you say your tech support team is rude? You’ve sent how many e-mails and left how many voice mail messages? What do you mean they haven’t fixed those passwords yet? So you have to ride their backs to get them to help you? Well, what have you done for them lately? Did you take the time to formally thank them last time they fixed those passwords or loaded the new software onto the computers for you? You have to give respect to receive respect. Here’s a good phrase: Kill them with kindness. Tech support people are just as busy as everyone else, and they can’t always just stop everything to fix your problem.

I learned a long time ago that there are certain people you have to keep happy in this world, and your tech support team is on that list. Trainers, here are a few suggestions of ways to reward your tech support team:
  • Send a thank you e-mail addressed to the entire team.
  • Print up a nice thank you card in MS Publisher or other software package.
  • Pick a Friday and bring them a box of donuts.
  • Bring in a bag of chips and salsa or cheese dip.
  • Bake them some cupcakes.

I bet you’ll get your computers up and running more quickly next time you ask! Of course, it might take a few acts of kindness before you start seeing the results, but treat them the way you would like to be treated.

To close, I always smile when I think about the laughs I get from the new hires during my Vanna White tour of the facility. When we get around to the tech support team area I say, “By the way, don’t forget to share your morning bagels and donuts with these guys and gals; they can make or break you!” Often someone comes back to me months later and says, “Remember what you told us on the first day about keeping the tech support team happy? Well you were right, it works!”

Trainers, don’t forget to check out the forum site and share your story or comments with our fellow IT trainers. If you’d like to comment on this article or share your reward stories, send me a note .

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