Our Thoughts

Rating Scales for Customer Satisfaction Research

26th July 2017

If you want to measure anything you have to have a measuring device. Unfortunately, no measuring device for customer satisfaction has ever achieved the universal adoption of the Celsius scale, the speedometer or the 12” ruler. That’s partly because there isn’t a definitive answer to the question “which is the most suitable rating scale for market research?” However, much of the reason for the proliferation of rating scales used for CSM is due to practitioners’ ignorance about the characteristics of different scales and their advantages and disadvantages for customer satisfaction measurement.

There are two key reasons why organisations conduct customer satisfaction surveys:

1) Taking action

Since organisations can’t address everything simultaneously they need to prioritise the allocation of resources. Without measures it would be impossible to make reliable decisions about the best areas to focus resources to improve customer satisfaction.

2) Judging success

If customer satisfaction is a key indicator of business performance, trying to improve it without a yardstick for judging success would be like trying to improve profits without producing financial accounts.   

Whilst one obviously must use a scale that is technically valid, the choice of rating scale for customer satisfaction measurement should be based on its suitability for achieving these two objectives rather than its validity for many other kinds of market research.

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