The Likert Scale’s reputation for reliability and accuracy when it comes to measuring opinions, perceptions, and behaviors can work in your favor. “Yes” or “No” questions have severe limitations in the realm of cognitive probing – understanding why employees and customers act the way they do. The Likert Scale focuses instead on finding out the degree of emotion one feels about a subject – thereby providing groundbreaking insight into motivations. We delve here into the scope of Likert Scale surveys and their ability to help companies understand their employee experience (EX), customer experience (CX), and Customer Service demands.
What is the Likert Scale?
The Likert Scale represents a range of verbal or numeric options on a measurement scale designed to register respondents’ intensity of agreement or disagreement with a proposition. Introduced by renowned social scientist Rensis Likert, it rests on a straightforward formula displaying the following unique characteristics:
- It is a menu of scales suited to the needs of different situations.
- The 5 Point Likert scale is the most popular. It ranges from 1 to 5, where one and five are markers for the most extreme respondent sentiments.
- There are also 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10 Point Likert scale options (the last two mentioned suitable for highly customized situations).
- The odd-number scales include a score for “no opinion one way or another,” somewhere in the middle (i.e., a neutral rating).
- The even-numbered Likert Scales force respondents to have either a positive or negative viewpoint on the question asked.
- Users often refer to the Likert Scale as “the satisfaction scale.” It goes a step further than binary scales where, for example, you know customer service is either excellent or disastrous. It allows you to express emotions that are not so polarized. “Somewhat satisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied” are also in play, or simply, “I have no opinion.”
- The Likert Scale options hang their coat on people’s passion, or lack thereof, for an event. When the objective is to create a positive connection, an understanding of the challenge to shift attitudes makes all the difference.
Any opinion survey that employs the Likert Scale is exploring the depth of respondents’ mindsets and aligned feelings around experience touchpoints. It can influence behavior significantly because the more one knows, the more one can apply strategies that target and reverse negativity. Alternatively, one can take advantage of momentum going in the right direction. A big challenge is shifting neutral respondents to like what the company is doing.
Examples of Likert Scale Questions on a 5 Point Likert Scale
The easiest way to understand how to write survey questions in this format is through the lens of Likert Scale examples. We’ll show how it works for uncovering dispositions of employees, customers, and even associates.
Example A: Customer Satisfaction Likert Scale example
Question: How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with our latest brand model?
- Extremely satisfied
- Moderately satisfied
- No opinion either way
- Moderately dissatisfied
- Extremely dissatisfied
Example B: Employee Engagement Likert Scale example
Statement – I’m satisfied with management’s recognition of my contribution to the Dallas project.
- Strongly agree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Strongly disagree
Example C: Associate feedback example Likert Scale example
Question: How supportive was our presentation in getting more affiliates interested in the brand?
- Highly supportive
- Very supportive
- Didn’t help but didn’t obstruct
- Not so supportive
- Not at all supportive
In the examples above, we show no significant complexity around the Likert Scale survey format. It boils down to:
- Defining the touchpoints in the workplace or marketplace that you believe are obstructing or furthering your competitiveness.
- Then digging down to see how customers feel about it.
Sogolytics offers numerous Likert Scale templates to get the job done, and you can customize as needed for specific projects.
The Expansiveness of Touchpoints to Which the Likert Scale Can Connect
It’s like asking how long a piece of string is. Organizations can learn about feelings after a promotion airs; a special sale ends; a website changes or a new branch opens – on and on. Inside the company, learn about employees’ attitudes to management support; ability to advance up the corporate ladder; team member acceptance or induction programs – the list is endless.
The critical constraint is the time it takes to construct the surveys, which ones are a priority, analyzing them, and finally, what to do with the results. It’s one thing to conduct Likert Scale surveys over a range of issues; it’s quite another to act on the results and execute the appropriate actions.
Surveys that interrupt customer and employee routines are most acceptable if the company responds with substantive responses. When nothing happens, respondents’ next reaction may be one of irritation and indifference. Aside from these critical pitfalls, Likert Scale surveys correspond to a respondent-friendly design.
Keeping your respondents engaged
The Likert Scale survey format has come a long way toward erasing respondents’ impatience, frustration, and general reluctance to participate in surveys. When questions require long responses or ones that require too much thinking, resistance rears its ugly head. Likert (the scientist) understood this behavioral trend, thus directing the system to solicit instinctual responses, discouraging any hesitation in the process.
Shortcuts like “yes/no” or “select all” tend to spoil survey results by stopping short of real insight. The Likert Scale proponents laud it as encouraging simple-to-understand questions that are easy to answer. Nonetheless, some discipline will inject structure into Likert Scale survey formats, making the results more compelling and useful.
Here are six tips to keep in mind when designing your Likert Scale questions:
#1. Focus on one topic at a time, and develop all your questions to open that up.
For example, for an online company, a Likert scale going progressively from “I strongly agree” to “I strongly disagree” could constructively apply to all the following statements:
- It was easy to navigate the new homepage
- The lead-in on the home page to the “About Us Page” caught my attention.
- The Homepage headline pulled me into the content lower down.
- The footer headline pushed me to hit the BUY NOW button.
However, if the topic now changes to the “Why Us” landing page, the company should initiate another Likert Scale survey, perhaps along similar lines. Staying with one landing page at a time creates a focused overview and in-depth understanding, instead of throwing them all into one survey.
The disadvantage is that many separate surveys come on stream. The advantage is you don’t need many survey questions on each to reach decisive conclusions.
#2. Be Accurate in question development.
Test for confusion in every question. If there’s a chance that a question overlaps into another activity within the same topic, make it clear. For example, if you own a retail store:
- You may ask about the customer service, but you actually want to know about the cashier’s attitude.
- In the survey, be exact – say “cashier’s service.”
- It may seem obvious, but it’s a Likert Scale error that repeatedly occurs.
Substitute generality with specificity wherever doubt arises.
#3. Don’t be over-descriptive.
People have different interpretations of words like “terrific,” “abysmal,” “so-so,” and the like. The choices should be definitive, like “extremely disagree,” or “neither for nor against it.” Words like “moderately” or “slightly” are ideal for in-between sentiments.
#4. Unipolar dimension works best for applying a Likert Scale customer satisfaction survey.
Stay with one construct on the scale, rather than move way off beam to bring in an extended level of observation. For example, rating the courteousness of a cashier.
- It goes together with “Extremely courteous” on the one end, and “Not at all courteous,” on the other. That’s a unipolar structure.
- If it reads, “Extremely courteous” and “very rude” on either end, it’s not the same thing. You’ve introduced an extra level of negativity (bipolar choice) that paints a different emotional picture.
The more you can channel and balance participants’ thoughts, the better.
#5. Ratings in response to questions vs. Agree/Disagree to statements
We’re not too pedantic on this item. It’s good to mix things up a little, but go the question route if there’s a choice. Human nature shies away from disagreement as a default. People like to be nice most of the time.
#6. Other key considerations
- Numbers as scale metrics can befuddle the mind. Often the interviewee doesn’t know if five is “best” or “worst.” Therefore, wording works more efficiently.
- Stay with odd numbers, so that the neutral rating genuinely has a place in the middle.
- Generally, respondents can express genuine feelings quite adequately with five options. 7 point scales force you to think of two more word descriptions per question – unnecessary in most situations.
- There are rare cases where interviewers are interested in bipolar responses, in which case larger scales are relevant. Even then, exceeding a range of one to seven is inadvisable. It leaves too much room for random choice, resulting in inaccuracy.
- Ensure that the range is end-to-end, setting understandable limits. Again, this dispels a bipolar outlook and numerical ratings, because they are each in their own way less explicit. Clarity is everything, whereas room for interpretation by the respondent may disrupt the results.
- The view of the response range must be easy to interpret, and from all accounts form a continuum. With numbers, it’s easy, but words take some thought. It’s a small detail worth taking note of.
- The flow of questions should follow a logical sequence. For example, if question two only applies to those who register “dissatisfied” or “extremely dissatisfied” in question one, set Question Disaplay Logic to ensure that only those participants see question two.
Likert Scale Options
- 4 Point Likert Scale (sister to the 6 Point Likert Scale) – known as the forced Likert scale, because there’s no room for a neutral rating. It’s a “satisfied” opinion on two levels (extremely or moderate), or dissatisfied in the same way.
- 5 Point Likert Scale (brother to the 7 Point Likert Scale) – most popular in the Likert family. It seems to fit the mindset of most respondents. The latter easily align with two degrees of “like” and “dislike” on either side of the neutral divide line that gives the scale everything it needs.
- 7 Point Likert Scale – A 5 Point Likert Scale on steroids. It offers more options, still revolving around the neutral zone at point #4. Interviewers use it if they want to explore extra emotional reactions related to a stimulus. The downside is that it possibly makes interviewees overthink things.
- 6 Point Likert Scale – is also a “forced measure,” leaving no room for a neutral opinion. However, it emphasizes negative and positive responses more forcibly.
- 9 Point Likert Scale and 10 Point Likert Scale are applicable only in highly customized situations where pinpoint expressions are pertinent. So much so, the interviewee can express likes or dislikes in four or five different ways. In most cases, this is too heavy for customer engagement and should only apply in conjunction with a professional consultant like Sogolytics.
Sogolytics is a professional organization fully equipped to help clients delve into the motivations of customers and employees. If you are looking to conduct Likert Scale surveys using say 5 Point Likert scales or perhaps as high as a 9 Point Likert scale probe, contact Sogolytics to set you on the right track. Structuring the right survey questions is a detailed task, but Sogolytics has all the templates at its fingertips. Moreover, the company can advise on a compendium of software applications that merge seamlessly with Lickert surveys. It will save you time, money, and get you mind boggling answers to niggling issues. Sogolytics are the ones to help you get fast, in-depth insight without hassle.