Everything you need to know about the Likert Scale
Want to know how exactly your customers feel?
Are you able to comprehend your customers’ feedback?
Do you want to simplify their complex opinions?
Then, you are at the right place!
You can do it all with the Likert Scale!
But what is the Likert Scale?
Let’s start with the definition of a Likert Scale. The Likert Scale is a rating scale that helps you gauge the attitudes or opinions of your customers. Named after the American social psychologist, Rensis Likert, this bipolar scale gives 5 or 7 different options ranging from one extreme to another for the respondents to choose from.
They are best used to understand how your customers feel about you, your service, or your product. Or when you want to dig more to know customers’ reactions to a particular event such as after a webinar, on the product performance, on a new product features launch, after a customer onboarding, or post customer support. And when you want to evaluate their answers to get a holistic view of their opinions.
Let’s understand this with an example.
In the above question, I am asking my customers how satisfied they are with the CX Platform. Their choice of answers ranges from very dissatisfied to very satisfied making it easy for me to evaluate the overall results.
What are the types of Likert Scales?
Hope you have understood what the Likert Scale is. Now, let’s talk about the different types of Likert Scale with examples, and their pros and cons.
There are two main types of the Likert Scale.
- 5-point Likert scale
- 7-point Likert scale
a) 5-point Likert Scale
A 5-point Likert Scale offers five different options for the respondents to choose from. The options include two extremes, two intermediate, and one neutral opinion. This scale can be used for measuring agreement, likelihood, frequency, importance, quality, and a lot more.
Here’s a great example of a 5-point Likert Scale for easiness.
In the above question, the respondents have five different options to choose from the Likert question, ‘How easy it is to create surveys with SurveySensum’. They can choose any!
But why should you opt for a 5-point Likert Scale? Are there any pros and cons to this?
- The 5-point Likert Scale is easily understood by the respondents.
- It is ideal to evaluate the results of a large sample of respondents.
- Giving five different options to choose from increases the response rate.
- Customers have diverse mindsets with different feelings and responses. And this scale restricts them to five different options.
- If you want to understand the intensity of the customer’s positive or negative response or want to add more variants, then the 7-point scale is preferred.
b) 7-point Likert Scale
A 7-point Likert Scale is legendary and has been used since 1932. It offers seven different options to choose from and is majorly used by researchers. It provides two moderate opinions along with two extremes, two intermediate, and one neutral opinion to the respondents.
Here is an example of a 7-point Likert Scale for frequency.
The above question gives seven different options to choose from. They can choose whatever best reflects their sentiments.
Let’s talk about its pros and cons.
- This is the most accurate of the Likert Scales as it captures the best sentiment of the respondent.
- It provides better accuracy in the results and is incredibly useful for researchers.
- It delivers more data points to run statistical information.
- There is a negligible amount of quantitative difference in the data between the 5-scale and 7-scale variants.
- Seven-point Likert items suffer from bias in response style.
Elliot Simmonds, Research Director at DJS Research Ltd comments, “The decision between a five or seven-point Likert Scale is typically around granularity, e.g. are you expecting a range of answers and/or do you need to be able to identify differences between those who are, for instance, SATISFIED, VERY SATISFIED, and COMPLETELY SATISFIED rather than just (say) SATISFIED and VERY SATISFIED.”
However, Dan Kelly, Founder & Senior Partner at The Negotiator Guru suggests. “My suggestion is to use a 5-point scale when you have more than 100 respondents and a 7-point scale for smaller studies (N<100) when you need a better data distribution.”
Alternatively, there are many other types of Survey Scales that you can use.
Alternatively, there are many other types of scales that you can use during a Likert Scale Survey
a) 2-point Survey Scale
Also known as a dichotomous or binary scale, this is the simplest of all scales. It offers two absolute opinions to the respondents such as yes and no, true and false, or agree and disagree. It delivers a clear indication of what you feel.
For example, here’s how we ask if our product is helping our customers achieve their goals.
The above question gives two options to the customer, that is, yes and no. 2-point Survey Scales are easy, effective, and quick and are best to get the absolute answers for your Likert scale questionnaire, however, if you want to understand the sentiment, it is ineffective.
For example, are you satisfied with the product? The answers yes and no are not enough to understand the reason behind your satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
b) 3-Point Survey Scale
The 3-point Survey Scale gives the respondents a middle ground. Along with two extreme opinions, it offers a neutral opinion to choose from. For example,
The above question gives the respondents a ‘Neutral’ option to choose if they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the onboarding. However, this question still doesn’t offer much for the customers to choose from. So let’s head to the 10-point Survey Scale.
c) 10-point Survey Scale
The 10-point Survey Scale gives a much broader spread of the options to the customers and yields clear indicative results. It can be used after onboarding, product launch, new feature launch or to evaluate the overall satisfaction of the customer with the brand.
d) 11-point Survey Scale – NPS
The 11-point Survey Scale is an NPS scale ranging from 0 to 10. It gauges the loyalty of the customer towards the brand. In this, the customers who choose 9 and 10 are called promoters, the customers who choose 7 and 8 are called passives, and the customers who choose 0 to 6 are called detractors.
NPS is a business metric that can help you to measure customers’ overall perception of your brand. Relationship NPS helps you understand how your customer feels about your brand. Transactional NPS, on the other hand, can help you evaluate customer satisfaction after a certain interaction.
The reason behind increasing the scale points is to cover the diversity of customers’ mindsets as everybody has different responses and feelings. And if we just restrict them to a specific scale, it doesn’t cover most of the diversity.
Now you would ask, shouldn’t I just ask an open-ended question instead? Well, the results of the close-ended questions are easy to run statistical analysis on.
But the best approach would be to ask a close-ended question followed by a qualitative or say open-ended question.
Now that we have talked about the types of Likert Scale, let me share some tips that will come in handy while writing the Likert Scale questions.
How to write Likert Scale survey questions?
- Be specific in the questions – If you are asking about the performance of the product, then which product are you talking about? To deliver the best results, it is critical to frame your questions correctly with all the supporting details.
- Label the options – Instead of labeling just the extremes, label all the options for the respondents’ clarity.
- Opt for a unipolar scale – Unipolar scale gives you options that range from none to maximum. For example, a unipolar satisfaction scale would give you options such as satisfied, slightly satisfied, moderately satisfied, very satisfied, and completely satisfied.
The bipolar scale, on the other hand, gives you options that fall on two sides of neutral. A bipolar satisfaction scale would give you options such as very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, neutral, satisfied, and very satisfied.
Go for the unipolar scale! It is easier for your respondents to understand and considering one attribute is always less exhausting than balancing two.
- Be careful with the sequence – While creating the customer satisfaction survey, make sure that for a horizontal Likert Scale, your answer ranges from negative to positive. 1/ negative attribute should be on the left and 5/7/ positive attribute should be on the right.
Similarly, in the vertical Likert Scale, keep the 1/ negative attribute at the top and the 5/7/ positive attribute at the bottom.
This is the best and most unbiased way to represent your scale.
- Ensure consistency – If you have 4 questions in your survey, make sure that the options of all 4 questions are in the same sequence, be it from negative to positive or vice versa. This brings consistency to the survey and doesn’t confuse the respondents.
What are the benefits of the Likert Scale?
There are many benefits of the Likert Scale
- Increased response rate – The respondents do not need to think much about the responses or spend time on them. Likert Scales offer plenty of different choices that reflect their sentiments to choose from. This increases the response rate.
- Analytical data – Likert Scales offer options to the respondents that have a simple yes and no option. The degree of opinion or even a neutral response is easy to quantify at the time of analysis.
- Neutral opinion – The neutral option allows the respondents to give a neutral opinion if they are not too sure about their feelings.
- Saves time – By giving the options to the customer, you are saving their time to take a survey and your time for analysis.
The Drawback of the Likert Scale
There is one limitation to the Likert Scale.
If used without any open-ended questions, you will only gather quantitative data and not a qualitative one.
For example, you get that your customer is not satisfied with customer support. But why he is not satisfied is still unanswered.
That’s all about the Likert Scale!
Are you ready to start your Likert Scale survey now? Click here to get going!
How to create a Likert Scale Survey with SurveySensum?
STEP 1: Sign up free with SurveySensum to design interactive and beautiful surveys and select the Customer Satisfaction Survey or start from scratch.
STEP 2: On the dashboard, you can add the questions, set the scale, and change the label name accordingly.
So now you know it all! What is the Likert Scale, when, and how should you use it, and how SurveySensum can help you create awesome surveys? 🙂
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Likert Scale
A 5-point Likert scale is a psychometric response method where respondents can easily answer questions and state their level of agreement in five points. The 5-point Likert scale consists of the below points – (1) Strongly Disagree; (2) Disagree; (3) Neither Agree nor Disagree; (4) Agree; (5) Strongly Agree.
A Likert scale is a rating system that analyzes the attitude, perspective, or level of agreement of the respondents to a survey question or a statement. It can be used to gauge the quality, likelihood, importance, and understanding of certain items or services.
For example, a 5-point Likert scale will have the below corresponding values.
Strongly Disagree – 1
Disagree – 2
Neither Agree nor Disagree – 3
Agree – 4
Strongly Agree – 5
A 7-point Likert scale is a legendary gauging system and is in practice since 1932. In addition to the 5-point Likert scale values, it gives you two intermediate options. A 7-point Likert scale seems to be the most accurate among all.
A 7-point Likert scale would be like;
(1) Strongly Disagree; (2) Disagree; (3) Somewhat Disagree; (4) Neither Agree Nor Disagree; (5) Somewhat Agree; (6) Agree; (7) Strongly Agree
A Likert scale is the best and most accurate measuring scale to understand the respondents’ attitudes and level of agreement with a survey question. It tells businesses the level of agreement or disagreement users has with your statements. Also, a Likert scale is like a social wall which is easy to launch and operationalize. It allows respondents to be neutral if they do not want to express strong disagreement or agreement.
You can calculate the Likert scale in the following way.
For example – (1) compute the total responses for each sentiment level, i.e., strongly agree, disagree, agree, etc.; (2) Multiply each numerical sentiment level value with the total responses received for that level; (3) Add the total values and derive a sum; (4) Divide the sum with the total number of respondents.
If you have multiple questions on the survey, you identify the score of each question and later add the numerical sum of all three questions. Then, divide the numerical sum by the total number of questions.
Now, you have the Likert scale score.