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Social Media – Tennis – Defense to Offense

I don’t know about you, but I had a fantastic July 4th weekend! My wife and I stayed at The Curtis Hotel in Denver for our anniversary, and enjoyed restaurants like Ocean Prime, Euclid Hall and Sam’s #3. We checked out the diverse Cherry Creek Arts Festival and enjoyed people-watching at Washington Park. We highly recommend all of the above!

We also enjoyed one of our favorite pasttimes: watching Wimbledon. We have new Wimbledon champions after this weekend, so perhaps we are seeing some Changing of the Guard at the top of the ranks. Here is Petra Kvitova hoisting the Rosewater Dish:

Novak Djokovic shows his focus on one of his winning shots:

Djokovic had an entertaining point against Tsonga that illustrates this “Defense to Offense” concept.

  • Note the return of serve at 0:02. The return used to be considered a defensive shot since the server had the advantage of choosing the location and speed of the serve. However, the return of serve is now a weapon to allow a returner to quickly go on the offensive. In this case, Djokovic didn’t do it with power…he did it with return depth that pinned Tsonga on the baseline!
  • At the 0:12 point in the video Tsonga goes from scrambling defense to a strong offensive shot to briefly take control of the point.
  • At 0:16, Djokovic hits a dipping cross-court shot thus taking the offensive with a single shot from a defensive position.
  • At 0:20 Djokovic hits a diving volley that finally won the point.

How could we relate to this “defense to offense” concept with social media? The easiest parallels are with both brand protection and customer service.

  • Brand Protection – A competitor runs a negative ad campaign against your brand or chooses to tell only “part of the story” that benefits them. I love the “Mac vs PC” commercials and the “Can you Hear Me Now” Verizon commercials. However, are either of those telling the full story relative to their competitors? Does any advertisement for that matter?!? How about when a disgruntled consumer attacks your brand via social networks, blogs and review sites like Amazon and eOpinions?
  • Customer Service – Gone are the days where a customer will call an 800# or go to your corporate website to submit a customer service inquiry. Now a customer may enter a complaint on their Facebook wall, a Twitter feed, a YouTube video or perhaps as an Amazon customer review.

Remember Dave Evans pointing out in Social Media Marketing – An Hour a DayYour customers are already talking about you.  The fact that you aren’t participating is your implicit endorsement of whatever it is they are saying. And a frequently quoted statistic from a Convergys Corporation survey back in 2009 states that a negative review or comment can cost a company 30 customers! Therefore, we need to become proactive.

A proactive approach to both brand protection and customer service is to use a social media monitoring (SMM) tool. A good SMM tool will allow you to aggregate “mentions” of your company brand and even measure customer sentiment and “percentage of customer voice” relative to your competitors.  An even better SMM tool will go a step further and allow you to engage the customer wherever they are (social networks, review sites, blogs) and actively participate in the discussion. The key is to engage the consumer (Defense), acknowledge their complaint/concern regardless of fault, and courteously respond (Offense) to address their issue or provide a timeline on when you can address their issue. Here’s an encouraging statistic from RatePoint95% of unhappy customers will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently (National Association of Retail Marketing Services).

I’ll leave you with an anecdote from a recent Mantis Pulse Analytics demonstration (our Social Media Monitoring tool). We recently presented Pulse Analytics to a clothing retailer. They enjoyed seeing their good brand health. Pulse had also identified one of the trending “negative topics” for this retailer involved free shipping. Consumers loved the brand, but some refused to purchase their products “on principle alone” because they did not offer free shipping. Now, during that same presentation, we switched to the Live view. A recent tweet indicated a disgruntled customer who had tried to enter a retail location holding a baby in one hand, pushing a stroller with the other hand, and trying to keep the door open. The customer was frustrated because the retailer’s employees watched the whole incident without offering to help! This customer did not call an 800# or fill out a survey. He blasted the retailer with a tweet as soon as he was safely in the door!!

Imagine if that retailer was actively monitoring social media using a tool like Pulse Analytics. Customer service could have contacted the customer via Twitter while concurrently notifying the retail location (if the tweet was geo-tagged). That retailer could have turned around a bad customer experience by then offering an apology and some form of discount. Since a portion of the exchange would have happened in the very public Twitter eye, the retailer would have won the loyalty of both the original customer and several other consumers following the exchange. Meanwhile, marketing would have noted the trending topic around free shipping and perhaps constructed a new marketing campaign that offered free shipping.

What do you think of our 2011 Wimbledon champions? What do you think about the importance of social media monitoring for brand protection and customer service?

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Brian Vickery

I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed in that I also love my job as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am excited to promote our Pulse Analytics social media monitoring and sentiment analysis solution as well as our core software development and business intelligence services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on .

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6 comments
Shawn Wells
Shawn Wells

1. Glad you guys had a great weekend. I agree that the weather was amazing. 2. Breakfast at Wimbledon has always been a favorite of ours. But the US Open is mesmerizing. Something fun about the late night rambunctious crowds. And there certainly have been some barn burners. For me the order would be US Open, Wimbledon, French Open, then the Australian. Not a fan of Novak. I think Roger is awesome behind Sampras. That would be a classic final for me. Sampras vs Federer both in their prime. Keep hoping that one of these years the US will offer some competition again. Kept hoping that Blake would do something worthwhile. 3. Regarding customer service I have to push back. In the example you give of the person who had a hard time getting in the bldg and the staff watching and not doing anything, why don't we go back to what customer service is about and train our staffs to take care of the customer. I believe that we have allowed social media to dumb us down in how we deal with people. We choose to feel threatened by social media and we train to that handicap. We've gotten to a point where people "pop off" on social media and there are no ramifications to the person that lobs the first salvo. Everything has become reactionary and not done proactively. I feel that there certainly is a place for social media. We have to make sure we don't allow it to control us unnecessarily. Thoughts?

Cheri Allbritton
Cheri Allbritton

Brian, this is a three tier comment: 1.) so glad you and your wife had a wonderful anniversary weekend. 2.) what are you going to do without Wimbledon now? I know there are a million others.... 3.) absolutely LOVED the example of the lack of customer service to a young mother and her child. I can't even imagine how I would react in my facility if I saw this happening let alone letting such a horrible story get shared with the world via a social media site because no one??? did anything to help her! Incredulous!

Brian Vickery
Brian Vickery

Agreed, Chris. Although those 7am wakeup calls for Wimbledon, and even earlier for French Open, is pushing my weekend limits ;)

Brian Vickery
Brian Vickery

First, welcome to my blog Shawn. I appreciate your comment. I agree the US Open is unique and special with those night crowds. It looks like our first two grand slams are the same w/a swap at #3 and #4 since I'd see the Australian before the French (even though we are interested in seeing Paris since both of our daughters already did). You probably would have liked my prior blog post where I compared the 4 Grand Slams. I wasn't a fan of Novak when he went on that petulant quitting streak a few years back, but I like his game. Throw in what his family and country of Serbia has been through, and I think he is a good kid that is just growing up before our eyes. Even Federer had his moments trying to face up to the pressure growing up in the public light. Yes, I'd enjoy more Federer/Sampras just like I enjoyed Sampras/Agassi at their best, but more for the contrast in games with that latter pairing. I really like your insightful comments about "dumbing it down" and training to the handicap. I think you are absolutely right. I still think that Pulse Analytics would have been excellent to go defense to offense after recognizing the customer experience issue and responding immediately. However, the employees probably need a good raking across the coals. Big Brother should not have to watch, and our employees should respond with courtesy and integrity right from the start. We have the responsibility to put the right people on the bus (a little Good to Great reference), and then train them appropriately. By the way, this last part of your comment has inspired my next blog post...which I hope to get out by this Friday ;).

Brian Vickery
Brian Vickery

Thanks, Cheri. We had one of the best weekends ever, and the weather was fantastic in Denver. Yeah, I may have to reevaluate my Grand Slam ratings from an earlier post and put Wimbledon as the 2nd one I want to visit (after US Open). The tennis can be downright acrobatic some times. And the rallies are much longer than like in the Stich/Edberg final in 1991. As for the bad customer experience, I actually reached out to a CIO once (for a restaurant chain) because he honestly and respectfully tweeted his dissatisfaction while at a competing restaurant (he truly wasn't trying to tear down their brand). His tweet showed up in my feed. I just led the conversation with...Imagine if they were using Pulse Analytics. They'd be reaching out and apologizing to you right about now!

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