“I can help you” – Delivering on a promise

A clear, concise, well delivered message is a thing of beauty. Seldom do I think I’ll hear such a message amidst the chaos of an airline terminal. So I was fascinated to hear those words – I can help you– as I approached the intersection of two concourses at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport yesterday.

I can help you.  A simple statement delivered in a calm, direct manner by a man wearing an airport vest, a man positioned to see travelers with questions in their eyes and concern on their faces as they tried to discern which corridor was the route to their next flight.

The man – a host – did not waste time with extraneous pleasantries such as, “Good morning” or “How are you today?” He didn’t even phrase his words as a question – “Can I help you?” Instead he delivered a solution with calm assurance in the four words anyone with a question wants most to hear – I can help you.

Each transaction was completed in seconds. Each traveler sent on his or her way more relaxed. Efficient. Effective.

Soon my traveling companion and I realized these hosts were posted throughout the airport. We’d seen them when we walked in from the curb though we didn’t realize what they were doing at the time. We saw them at the top of escalators. Hosts were positioned at each point where a traveler could wonder where to go next. Always the statement was the same – I can help you.

The Phoenix airport bills itself “America’s Friendliest Airport.”  Quite a claim for a facility that serves 40 million passengers a year. No doubt research identified the problem and the exact words. But how gutsy of airport management to be willing to invest the money to put such a program involving so many employees in place.

Gutsy and smart, because I expect the result for other travelers is the same as it was for me.  I heard the words and I felt more welcome; I felt relaxed; I felt more confident all was well. How nice to find an organization that delivers on its promise.

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