Photo: Flickr / fomu
A Fordham University institute is helping airports across the country harness military-grade people skills to handle frustrated fliers. The Human Resilience Institute runs a special program called N.I.C.E (Neutralize Irritations Customers Experience), which trains veterans to pinpoint problem passengers and address their issues effectively.
The vets, who are typically airline employees (sometimes called ‘ambassadors’), keep track of every customer interaction and submit them back to the institute. In return, they compete for incentives like restaurant freebies and vacations.
“Now we’re tapping resources offered by vets working at the airport and training them to apply their inherent leadership strengths and … help their airport enhance service,” institute director Tom Murphy told MSNBC.
New York City’s JFK International Airport is already participating, along with L.A. International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport, among others.
From the sound of the testimonials on the NICE website, workers help with everything from arranging transportation to giving simple directions. Here’s an entry from LAX worker Uriel Matus:
“I was working when a traveller in a car shouting over to me asking if I would help him. I stopped what I was doing and listened to him describe how he couldn’t find where to return his rental car and he was very upset and agitated because he was afraid he was going to miss his flight. I understood why he was upset and I took a moment to show him where he needed to go, and made sure he understood. Thank you, he said, and quickly he drove off, but I felt good I had helped him.”
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