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Thursday, May 17, 2012
JFK airport trains its workers to be N.I.C.E.
By Harriet Baskas
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone who worked at the airport was nice? At John
F. Kennedy International Airport, they’re working on it.
On May 22, 30 veterans who work at the airport for several airlines,
government agencies and private security and service companies will get
N.I.C.E (Neutralize Irritations Customers Experience) program training to
teach them how to use skills learned in the military to help frustrated
passengers at the airport.
Many other airport employees at JFK have already gone through N.I.C.E
training offered by the Human Resiliency Institute based at New York’s
Fordham University, which also has a special program for veterans. Now the
program is tapping vets already working at the airport to use their
leadership skills to help enhance customer service.
“Through our Edge4Vets program, we at Fordham have first-hand knowledge of
the strong leadership strengths vets possess,” said institute director Tom
Murphy. “Now we’re tapping resources offered by vets working at the airport
and training them to apply their inherent leadership strengths and their
‘N.I.C.E.’ tools to help their airport enhance service.”
Murphy said the special N.I.C.E. Corps training for veterans will include
role–playing exercises in which they will use the keen observation skills
they’ve learned in the military to spot and come to the aid of passengers in
need of assistance. Members of the N.I.C.E. Corps will also be trained to
note when other airport employees go out of their way to help frustrated
passengers and to document those success stories on the ‘N.I.C.E’ website.
Employees caught using N.I.C.E. skills become eligible to win a variety of
incentive awards, including gift checks, meals, and hotel stays. Two
veterans participating in the JFK N.I.C.E. Corps will win a fishing trip to
Alaska so they can catch salmon for a salmon-bake for the whole team.
The chance of winning that fishing trip isn’t what convinced veteran Egbert
Haynes, a TSA supervisor at JFK, to volunteer to be captain of the JFK
N.I.C.E. Corps. “I’m a New York boy; when I need fish I go to the fish
market,” said Haynes. “But when I heard of the program and saw the potential
to recognize the good things done daily by airport employees outside of
their job description, it all made sense.”
In addition to JFK, employees at Los Angeles International Airport,
Pittsburgh International Airport and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport have
been trained in the N.I.C.E. program.
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