Amazon moved quickly this week to rectify the problem that hindered customers from taking advantage of a terrific deal on the new Lady Gaga album. On Monday, when Amazon offered Lady Gaga's new album for only 99 cents, customers rushed to download it. The incredible demand overwhelmed Amazon's systems. To their credit, Amazon apologized for the error, fixed the problem, and then brought the offer back to its customers on Thursday. The company deserves credit for learning from its less effective response to its cloud service difficulties just a few weeks ago, when it was slow to acknowledge the problem and apologize to customers.
The story offers a few key lessons for managers. First, learning from your stumbles and translating that learning into immediate improvement can have a powerful positive effect. In addition, when you do make a mistake, you have to do three things. First, you have to acknowledge your error publicly. Second, you have to fix the problem. Finally, you have to remedy the situation with your customers when you are sure that you are able to serve them effectively. Too many companies either are too slow to admit their mistakes, or they rush to make it up to customers when they still aren't ready to offer an exceptional service experience. Amazon took a couple days to get the problem ironed out before coming back to its customers with the deal on Thursday.