Examples of great leadership can come from all sorts of sources at unexpected times...in this case a
I've recently returned from a holiday in Spain - a great escape from the cold for a few weeks! Barcelona was the last stop. A friend and I stayed at Barceloneta beach for a few nights.
Late on the afternoon of my last day there, I discovered only by accident that we were in the midst of a 24 hr taxi strike. I was due to fly out at 5am the next day and had planned to take a taxi to the airport around 230am. The logistics of taking 2 buses for an hour whilst grappling with 2 suitcases + hand luggage etc on my own just wasn’t feasible so I reluctantly booked a limousine online, (as uber and the trains weren't available either.)
I received the confirmation of booking via email so relaxed with a late dinner and some sangria (of course!) prior to the pick-up. Randomly flicking through emails whilst eating, to my horror I discovered that the Limousine company Managing Director had not long emailed me to notify that the car I had organised had infact now been cancelled and there were none others available.
I nearly choked on my Paella!!!
I didn’t read the email properly as panic set in. I was furious but had to move quickly to try to organise another way to my airport destination.
To cut a long story short, I arrived at the airport in time for my flight some time later thanks to a friend of our landlord, 80 euro and a rickety Toyota! It was then, once checked in, that I sat and read properly the email that had been sent from the MD of the Limo company. My thought had been that I would email and complain….until I read on….
The gist of it is below.
I am sorry to inform you that we have had to cancel your car booked for 230am.
As you are aware there is a 24 hour taxi strike currently in Barcelona. I have just been made aware that there have been threats of violence made towards my drivers. Their health and wellbeing must be my first priority so I have asked them all
to cease driving immediately and return to their homes so that they are safe.
I understand the huge inconvenience this will have caused you…..”
He went on to apologise and offer me a 50 Euro credit to use anywhere in the world with their affiliate companies.
My anger dissipated. It was great to see this leadership demonstrated, through an honest explanation under trying conditions, unwavering support of employees and of course the icing on the cake – excellent customer service in offering compensation.
A simple combination, but a good example of leadership getting it right….