Quick question: What number is lower #1 or #5? Did you say #1 is lower than #5, or higher? It depends, doesn’t it? For example, in the hotel industry a 1-Star rating is lower than a 5-Star. Yet, a business ranked #1 is higher than #5. In some contexts, 1 is lower than 5. In other contexts it is higher.
Confusing, isn’t it? Yet, marketers across industries routinely ask customers to complete surveys without defining whether #1 indicates the highest level of satisfaction or the lowest. One way to avoid this confusion is to ask consumers to complete a survey with a Likert Scale. There is a good chance you’ve completed such a survey, which seeks your level of agreement:
- Strongly disagree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Strongly Agree
Imagine you send a survey to customers asking them to rate your service on a scale of 1-to-5. Some respondents will likely disagree as to whether checking #1 is the highest level of satisfaction or the lowest.
You receive the data, see #1’s checked and assume the customers are dissatisfied. In reality, some are happy. Dr. Rensis Likert, an organizational psychologist and pioneer in management research, recognized this problem in 1932. His Likert Scale has been used – and modified – for decades by organizations to remove ambiguity from survey responses. Yet, some practitioners still send customers confusing surveys that generate useless data.
There are many considerations that go into creating a good customer survey. The starting point: Removing even the slightest hint of ambiguity by using a Likert scale. If it is possible customers could misconstrue something…they inevitably will. The results will be costly marketing mistakes due to decisions based on flawed data.