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.

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 Day: Your 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 RatePoint: 95% 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?