The Benefits Of Including Ratings Scales In Satisfaction Surveys

Philip Cleave
October 29, 2012

In customer satisfaction surveys which are important tools for companies to assess how successful they are with customers, rating scales are included to measure satisfaction in a more precise manner. There are different rating scales; they all have their appropriateness in different circumstances, with respect to different products or services. Three, five, seven, ten, or even eleven point rating scales are used by different companies to measure aspects of customer satisfaction.

The three item rating scale is beneficial when less visual space is needed. With three options to choose from, there is enough robustness to capture data and still retain the visual appeal of customer satisfaction surveys.

In their turn, five and seven point scales are beneficial as they have been established to provide the most reliable results. Bipolar scales yield the best performance with seven points included, and unipolar scales perform the best with five points. Five and seven point scales are very beneficial when customers are asked to provide their opinion and satisfaction on new products or services.

Specifically with respect to customer satisfaction surveys, ten point scales are established to be the most appropriate when more granular data are needed. Scales with fewer points are not able to provide granular results which can enable companies to take the best and most appropriate corrective actions to settle the issues found out with the aid of satisfaction surveys. With a ten point scale, grades nine and ten are rated as results of fully satisfied customers. Yet the two grades show a slight difference which enables researchers to distinguish between almost complete and complete satisfaction. Then the analysis of the bottom line in terms of satisfaction is easy, because tools such as regression used to analyze satisfaction surveys yield better results with more granular data.

Finally, the eleven point scale has its benefits too. With grades from zero to ten, customers find it easier to rate their satisfaction, based on the fact that in most parts of the world the metric system is widely used. The zero to ten standard is adopted by leading companies to establish customer satisfaction via satisfaction surveys, as the detailed rating opportunities enable them to express their satisfaction more precisely.

Including rating scales in satisfaction surveys has definite benefits. With the specific number of points or grades, the scale length tailored to specific studies of customer satisfaction enables respondents to differentiate different levels of attribution in the incentives they are invited to rate. When respondents are invited to express their satisfaction on some new products or services, the most beneficial scale is the five or the seven point one. When respondents are invited to rate products that they know well, an eleven point scale, with ratings from zero to ten, is the best. To be most beneficial, rating scales should be balanced, and have equal numbers of positive points and negative points, e.g. completely satisfied, completely dissatisfied, etc. There can be exceptions but modifiers should be symmetrical on both ends to the best possible extent.


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