Western Daily Press: The importance of making the best of adversity
The ability to emerge relatively unscathed from blunders such as that which saw an airline flying a passenger to an island thousands of miles away from their intended destination is priceless.
It is easy now to laugh at the series of mistakes that led to holidaymaker Lamenda Kingdon ending up in Grenada rather than Granada.
It was a classic case of a simple mistake having dramatic consequences.
Fortunately she survived the adventure in good spirits and has quite the holiday story to tell her friends.
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But it could have been a public relations disaster for the airline involved – British Airways – if it wasn't handled correctly.
All businesses instinctively know customer services and public relations has a value – even Michael O'Leary of Ryanair appears to be belatedly tiring of being viewed as Mr Nasty – but quantifying it is a fairly difficult process.
Businesses make mistakes and occasionally let their customers down, but dealing with it in a smart and sophisticated manner can be rewarded with increased loyalty.
A case in point was demonstrated yesterday by the conflicting manner in which two of the train companies operating in the West dealt with the impact of the forecast worst storms to hit the region in two decades.
Both undoubtedly faced difficult – and in fairness different – operational decisions regarding services given the terrible forecast.
As it transpired, the 'St Jude' storm, though powerful, did not cause as much damage or disruption as forecasters feared it might.
It left South West Trains, which had decided on a much more cautious policy on Sunday evening of a blanket cancellation of early services, facing criticism from customers yesterday when the storm was not as bad as predicted.
First Great Western was able to offer a much fuller service to its customers through its decision to play a waiting game and see if the weather did its worst. If the storm had been heavier it would probably have incurred higher staffing costs than South West Trains, but the responsive contingency planning was rewarded.
Of course, the real heroes of the storm were the emergency services and others on the front line who cleared roads, restored power and rescued those in difficulty.
After their efforts, a tweet from one West MP praising the 'Herculean' efforts of MPs getting to Parliament struck a discordant note. The Herculean efforts were performed by those who made it possible for people to travel, not MPs merely making it to London.