Sunday's NBA Finals win for the Cleveland Cavaliers represents more than a ring for LeBron James. It isn't just about him vanquishing the amazing Warriors, reclaiming his "best player" status from Steph Curry, or silencing his haters on social media. It cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time.

Even as a kid, experts speculated that his natural talent could one day make him one of the best. Since then, he's improved his game every year, amassed incredible statistics, and produced some eye-popping highlights. He's the face of American sports, and this third championship means he'll be considered on par with legends like Michael Jordan.

But while everyone knows that LeBron is great at basketball, they don't know how much he can teach them about the most insanely useful customer development tool of all time: Net Promoter Score (NPS).

You might be rolling your eyes, wondering what a basketball player and a customer service metric could possibly have in common. But both of them get incredibly fast results, are adept at targeting the right people, and work with all the best companies.

Here are the top three lessons LeBron James can teach you about gathering customer feedback with NPS.

1. Get Immediate Results

In 2003, LeBron James was the first pick in the NBA draft, making him a household name at age 18. Expectations were sky high.

But he didn't disappoint. He became the third rookie ever to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists and helped the Cavaliers win to improve their record by a whopping 18 victories. In his third year, the Cavs made their first playoff run since the mid '90s, and would make it back to the postseason every other year LeBron was on the team.

NPS also gets immediate results for the companies who use it. It quickly unearths what value your product brings customers by asking them the easiest question possible:

"What's the likelihood you would recommend this product to a friend or colleague?" on a 1-10 scale.

Then, you give them a chance to explain their score in their own words by following up with a simple, "Why?" By matching common responses to average ratings, you can identify the changes that will have the biggest impact on overall customer experience and implement them at lightning speed. Companies like Qualaroo up the speed and let you hit any customer who visits your site with an NPS survey in real time, removing the need for time-consuming tactics like focus groups.

Those immediate results are why companies like Southwest Airlines and Enterprise-Rent-A-Car have used NPS to drive growth for over a decade.

2. Target the Exact Right People

Early in LeBron's career, critics said that he could only score. So he worked on his game and became one of the best passers in the NBA. He knows each of his teammates' unique characteristics like the back of his hand, and can target the right one with a dish based on the game situation: who he's playing, what the score is, and how much time is left.

NPS is also great for targeting the right customers. With Qualaroo, you can pinpoint who to get insights from based on the characteristics of your choosing, and deploy the survey when they're most likely to complete it.

It's like a heat-seeking missile. You can easily target visitors by how they reached your site, how much time they've spent on one page, or whether they're a repeat customer.

You can also segment user responses by any characteristic you choose. If you're in e-commerce, that might mean average order value or recently purchased items. If you're in B2B SaaS, it might mean the size of their company or which of your pricing plans they're on. Qualaroo can then integrate with your CRM, which lets you pass those insights to your sales team without any friction.

3. Provide Your Fans A Great Experience

Off the court, LeBron has inked deals with top companies like McDonald's, Samsung, and State Farm. People trust him to hawk everything from fast food to car insurance.

Some might say that makes him a sellout. But one reason he gets all these endorsements because he's so nice to fans off the court. He knows exactly what those huge brands do: No matter how big or successful you get, you still need to connect with your customers. If you're not giving them a positive experience, there's no way you'll succeed.

That customer-centric orientation is why NPS has an impressive track record with an equally diverse array of companies. Apple, Netflix, and American Express all use it religiously, even though they're in vastly different industries.

NPS succeeds everywhere because it gets right to the heart of what makes any product successful: the customer experience. No matter what industry you're in, the experience you provide customers determines your success. When you ask someone if they'd recommend your product, you're really asking them, "Does this product do enough that you'd stake their reputation on it?" Slack CMO Bill Macaitis says that his company isn't satisfied unless its customers' answer is yes.

Give it a Shot

LeBron James' uniquely potent skill set, versatility, and humble personality have made him one of the most successful athletes ever, both on and off the court.

Your company can only reach that level of success if it solves real problems for customers. NPS cuts through the BS, quantifies how well you're doing that, and tells you how to improve. It's like having LeBron James on your customer success team.

Published on: Jun 22, 2016
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