Likert Scale: Definition, Examples, & Sample Questions You Can Use

The Likert scale can help you understand sentiment around your brand and the products you're putting out there so you can make the right choices.


Get a deeper understanding of what it is, when to use it, and how to make the most of it.


What is the Likert scale?


A Likert scale is a psychometric rating scale, usually with 5 – 7 points, used in questionnaires or as part of a larger survey to gauge the degree of sentiment or feeling towards something.


It’s often used to understand a customer’s experience with your brand. It can form the basis of a CSAT questionnaire about services, products, the checkout experience, and everything in between.


Over time, it has come to be used interchangeable with almost any type of rating scale. In its original form, the definition was more specific. Likert scales measured the degree of agreement with a question or statement.


Today, many types of Likert scales are accepted and used. Because a wider definition is now accepted, the rest of this article will focus on the modern definition and use cases of the Likert scale.

When should you use the Likert scale?

The Likert scale can be used to measure customer sentiment, satisfaction, or attitudes towards almost anything. They can be used after events to understand where you went right or wrong. It can be used to measure sentiment towards products, services, and experiences as well.


Put another way, a Likert scale is ideal when a simple yes or no answer won’t cut it. It helps you understand the degree of a feeling or attitude. Someone may like it and someone else may love it. A Likert questionnaire will distinguish between those two individuals.


These insights can be powerful for identifying psychographic segments in your audience and catering to them.

Likert questions which focus on the same or similar topics can be grouped together to form a “single topic” Likert scale. This aids in comprehension and improves the quality of answers.


Maximize the value of the survey by adding open-ended questions designed to find the reason behind a rating. Instead of only knowing a customer is satisfied or dissatisfied, you can find the specific reasons behind their stance. This is similar to the process used in an NPS survey but it’s more versatile.


How many points should a Likert scale have?


A Likert scale can consist of as many or as few questions as you want it to have. It’s important to provide enough options so your respondent can give an accurate answer. At the same time, you don’t want to provide so many answers that the degree of difference between each one is too small.


The generally accepted number is 5 – 7 answer options for a question. Most provide either 5 answer options:

Likert scale example (5 answer options)

Or seven answer options:

The 7-point scale allows respondents to give you a more nuanced answer without feeling overwhelmed. If there are too many options, your respondent may decide to skip the answer entirely.


There’s another thing to note about the difference between these 5-point and 7-point Likert scales. In the 5-point scale, the most negative response is a null or zero outcome. A customer won’t recommend the product but that may not mean they’ll recommend against it. The extreme positive and negative responses aren’t in opposition.


This is referred to as a unipolar scale. The range of answers goes from none to a maximum.


The 7-point scale does have polar opposites. In this instance, the central answer is the neutral point. The most extreme negative answer is the polar opposite of the extreme positive answer. The person who gives the extreme negative answer isn’t just unhappy, they see no redeeming qualities of the service.


This is referred to as a bipolar scale. The range of answers fall on either end of neutrality such as love and hate.


Odd and even number of questions


I mentioned earlier that Likert scale questions have 5-7 answer options. There can be an odd or even number of answers. Neither is inherently better than the other but it will affect the way respondents are able to answer your questions.


An odd number of responses allows respondents to stick firmly in the middle or report a neutral stance.

likert scale example with neutral option

This can become an opportunity for people to skip the question when they don’t feel strongly enough about any of the other options. Some would argue this skews your data and makes the entire exercise less valuable. 


You can also look at it from another perspective.  The product, service, or overall experience may have been so underwhelming to the customer that they failed to form an opinion in either direction. This is valuable information in and of itself.


If you’re using follow up open-ended questions, you’ll be able to drill deeper into what led the respondent to that conclusion. From there, it’s possible to take corrective action (if that’s needed).


When you have an even number of answer options, there’s no way for someone to default to neutrality. This can prompt the otherwise neutral respondents to think more deeply about the situation. This can be helpful in specific situations and harmful in others.


If someone doesn’t have an option or is neutral, forcing them to choose positive or negative can skew your results in the wrong direction.


No matter what you do, there’s an opportunity for people to give you intentionally incorrect answers. That’s why it’s important to follow up with open ended questions to further clarify their stance.

Likert scale reporting

Surveys can get complicated. Statistical modelling, standard deviations, prevalence of distortions, etc. can all be factored in. We’re going to focus on a simple way to interpret the raw data so you can derive meaningful insights.

We want to understand the percentage of people that answered individual questions a specific way. For example, we’ll want to find out the percentage of people who were extremely satisfied and the percentage that were extremely unsatisfied.

  

The most common method of interpreting Likert survey results is by assigning a value to each option and adding those values together. This gives each customer a score. KyLeads surveys breaks down these percentages for you.


It’s a simple but an effective way to understand how respondents feel about each question. You’ll quickly determine which areas need improvement and the places you’re already doing well in.


Many organizations think they’re doing well in most areas. When they start using Likert scales, they realize there’s a lot of variability in the responses. This can be a reason to dig deeper and figure out why there’s inconsistent service delivery.


Above all, it’s important to focus on getting clean data. If your data is skewed in one direction or another, it’ll be difficult to take the right actions.


Common causes of distortion


There are limitations to the Likert scale’s ability to measure sentiment. Not because of the questionnaire methodology but due to the individuals responding to it. Humans have biases.


Central tendency bias


Central tendency bias is when a survey respondent chooses options closer to the center of the rating scale and avoids options at either extreme. For example, on a 10-point rating scale, a customer may rate almost everything in the 4-7 range. Only one or two questions get an 8-10 or 1-3 response.


One possible reason is that survey respondent gets caught up in the semantics of what “extreme” means. They don’t have a clear grasp of it for the particular question asked.


For example, you may have delivered an excellent product for them and they’re pleased with it. When you ask “how would you rate the quality of the product?” (with extremely good to extremely poor as options) they may be impressed with the product quality but aren’t sure it’s the best they’ve ever had or will have. They hesitate to call it extreme and choose an answer closer to the center of the scale.


Another reason is because in order for them to give more than one “extreme” answer, the level of satisfaction or quality must be consistent. If they give you an “extreme” for customer service, your product must also be on the same level to warrant an “extreme” answer.  


Avoid central tendency bias by defining what certain terms mean within the survey’s context. For example, you can give context around the meaning of “extremely” so a customer won’t get caught up in the semantics. You can also provide space for them to expand on their answer and give reasons why they feel that way.


Extreme response bias


Central tendency bias see respondents stick to the milder answers while extreme response bias has respondents which only answer at the extremes.


There are a number of reasons for this such as:

  • The way a question is worded
  • Cultural factors
  • Intelligence and education levels
  • The effort put in when answering the questions

Most of the factors that cause the extreme response bias are out of your control. You have power over the way the question is worded so make sure you don’t ask leading questions. They predispose a respondent to answer a certain way and skew your data.


For example, “the service you received from our organization was great, wouldn’t you agree?” is a leading question.


Another thing you can do is carefully choose the demographic groups represented in your survey. Studies have found that individuals from Latin America and The Middle East are more likely to be affected by this bias. Those from Western Europe and East Asia are less likely to be affected.


Demographic and cultural markers aren’t 100% accurate because individuals are unique. The only way to be sure is to ask respondents why they answered the way they did.


Gauge the effort put in by looking at how long it took a customer to complete a survey (This is done automatically in KyLeads). If it took them a minute to complete a 20 question Likert survey, it may be a sign that they didn’t put in much effort.


Acquiescence bias


The Acquiescence bias occurs when respondents of a rating scale survey agree with all statements. In essence, they don’t want get on your bad side. Or they want to follow what appear to be social norms.


A common example is when a customer needs help and someone from your business tries to steer them in the right direction but falls short. Maybe they wanted to use the product in a certain way or integrate with other tools but couldn’t figure out how to do it. When they contact support, the rep tries to help but they still can’t figure it out.


When the customer is sent a survey, they’re appreciative of the effort the rep put in even though they couldn’t solve the problem. Instead of choosing an answer that’s in line with how they truly feel, they choose a more positive answer.


Another situation where this may happen is when there are socially acceptable responses. For example, “do you agree that it’s better to give than to receive?” In a social context, the answer is yes.


Avoid this bias by asking clear questions that address specific situations. For example, instead of asking about customer service in general, ask about how knowledgeable reps were, whether the customer issue was resolved, the willingness of the rep to help, etc.


Also make it clear what the purpose of the questionnaire is. If you want to improve service or a product then let your customers know that honest answers are the most helpful to you and them.

Likert scale examples & types

Any time you want to get a better understanding of customer behavior or sentiment, a Likert scale can be used. With that being said, there are common types which are used more often.


I’ll illustrate with examples.


Agreement


This is the most common type of Likert scale question and the easiest for your customer to answer. Respondents are provided with questions and they indicate the degree of agreement (or disagreement) they have with it.

Agreement style question

              

Likelihood


The likelihood version seeks to understand the chances that someone will perform a specific action or adopt a behavior. It can be used to gauge whether or not someone will recommend or use a product.

liklihood question


Satisfaction


As the name implies, this form of the scale can help you understand satisfaction as relates to almost anything. It’s commonly used to understand how customers feel about specific products, services, and customer support interactions. It can also extend to usability, features, and even events.

satisfaction question


Importance


This type of Likert scale focuses on how important something is to someone. Use it to unearth information about the reasons behind general opinions or stances on topics. It can also give you insights into how strongly each reason affects the overall perspective.

importance likert scale question


Frequency


This scale determines how often an action is performed or how often something is considered. It gives you insights into how important something is in the customer’s routine or workflow. Always, very frequently, frequently, sometimes, rarely, very rarely, never.


Quality


This gives you an idea of the perception of your product or service in the eyes of the customer. These work best when you break the questions out into specific aspects of a product or service instead of an overall assessment because even if it’s good overall, it may have specific areas that are lacking. General questions won’t uncover that. “extremely poor, below average, average, above average, excellent.”


Conclusion


Likert scale surveys are a powerful way to understand your customer’s experience and satisfaction with your products, services, and business as a whole. It’ll make it possible to spot areas where you’re doing well and those where you need the most improvement.

Questionnaire: Types, Definition, Examples & How to Design Your Own

A detailed guide that'll show you everything you need to know about questionnaires. 

A well-designed and considered questionnaire can be the difference between success and failure. 


Customers have wants and needs that are constantly changing and evolving. It’s no longer enough to be reactive when situations arise. Now, your customers expect you to solve problems before they become problems.


Questionnaires make it possible to better understand the wants and needs of your customers so you’re in a position to meet them.


This article walks you through what a questionnaire is, the pros & cons, and how to properly design them so you can unlock deep insights.

What is a questionnaire?


A questionnaire is a research device or instrument that is made up of a series of questions which are closed-ended or open-ended. The goal is to collect relevant information from respondents which can then be used for a variety of purposes. When you give the respondent the ability to give a longer answer, it can yield more insights because they can elaborate on their thoughts.


It was first developed by the Statistical Society of London in 1838 and has been in continuous use ever since.


Questionnaires, though versatile, can’t be used in every situation. It’s not advisable to use a questionnaire to ask specific questions about a product or service you’re still considering. This may lead to bias and false positives about the feasibility of the product.


Instead, questionnaires should be used to collect more general information qualitative or quantitative data regarding features and preferences. For example, instead of asking if they’d buy a new pink button down shirt with a unique collar, ask if they like to wear the color pink or if they like the type of collar you’re considering.


Surveys vs questionnaires


Over time, surveys and questionnaires have gotten mixed up and are used interchangeably. They’re not the same thing. The difference is subtle but important.


A questionnaire is a list of questions used to collect data about someone or something. It’s not used to do statistical analysis or find trends and patterns. An example, would be when you sign up for a gym or go for a checkup and have to answer a series of questions about your current physical condition.


The answers you provide are used to understand your overall health, assess risk, and in some cases help find or diagnose issues. It’s not being used as part of a larger data set to clarify the bigger picture or find trends in a population.


A survey is a bit different. Instead of looking at individual questionnaires, it’s used to understand trends, do detailed analysis, and reveal deep insights. The key with a survey is that it’s collecting data with the express purpose of analysis.


An example would be customer feedback surveys, demographic surveys, market research surveys, NPS surveys, etc. If only one person were to respond to these types of surveys, it would severely limit its usefulness. The more respondents, the easier it is to spot patterns and make informed decisions.


Why do they get mixed up?


Previously, researchers and professional marketers were the main groups who used surveys and questionnaires regularly. They made a clear distinction about what they are and when they were to be used.


With the advent of easy to access survey software, more and more businesses have started to handle their own research. The terms became interchangeable.


A questionnaire is when you ask someone a series of questions and don’t use it for data analysis.

A survey is when you ask someone a series of questions and you use it for data analysis.


For example, if you send an employee a series of questions about the working environment, it’s a questionnaire. When you send out that same questionnaire to 500 employees then compile the data to find trends, it’s a survey.


Make sense?


Good.


Let’s dive into the types of questionnaires.


Types of questionnaires


There are two main types of questionnaires and the one you’ll use depends on what kind of information you want and purpose of that information.


Exploratory questionnaire (qualitative)


These are also known as unstructured questionnaires. They’re used to collect qualitative data which is information that can be observed and recorded but isn’t numerical in nature. It’s used to approximate and characterize.


An example of qualitative data would be someone giving your feedback about your writing. They may mention things about the tone, clarity, word choice, etc. it helps you categorize your writing but you can’t attach a number to the feedback.


Exploratory questionnaires are ideal when you’re in the early stages and want to learn more about a topic before designing a solution or hypothesis. For example, if you’re in the early stages of product development and don’t know enough about the market then exploratory questionnaires are ideal.


Formal standardized questionnaire (quantitative)


They’re also known as structured questionnaires. These ones are used to collect quantitative data which is information recorded as a count or numerical value.


The data is quantifiable which means it can be used for mathematical calculations or statistical analysis.  In essence, it answers the question of how much, how many, or how often.


An example of quantitative data would be the answer to the following question, “how old are you?” which requires a numerical reply.


Standardized questionnaires are best used when you’ve already formed an initial hypothesis or built out a prototype for a product. You’ll use it to stress test your assumptions, designs, use cases, etc. before going further with product development. Because of its clear focus, the questions you ask are narrow in scope and solicit specific information.


Just as important as the questionnaire type are the question types you choose.


Questionnaire question types


Not all question types are ideal in every situation. That’s why it’s important to understand the type of questionnaire you’re creating first. With that information, it becomes easier to choose the right question types.


Open ended questions


As the name implies, these questions are open for the respondent to answer with more freedom. Instead of presenting a series of answers choices, the respondent writes as much are as little as they want. This is ideal for exploratory questionnaires which collect qualitative data.


Multiple choice questions


This question presents the respondent with a list of answer options and they can select one or more. The challenge with multiple-choice questions is providing incomplete answer options.


For example, you may ask what industry do you work in and list out 5 of the most common industries. There are more than 5 industries in the world so some people won’t be represented in this situation. A simple solution to this problem is adding an “other” option.


Dichotomous questions


This is a question with only two possible answers. It tends to be a yes or no question but it can also be something like agree/disagree or true/false. Use this when all you need is basic validation without going too deeply into the motivations.  


Scaled questions


Scaled questions are common in questionnaires and are often used to judge the degree of a feeling. This can be used in both exploratory and standardized questionnaires because there are many different types of scaled questions such as:

  • Rating scale
  • Likert scale
  • Semantic differential scale

Pictorial questions


The final type of question used in questionnaires substitutes text for images. Respondents are asked a question and shown pictures to choose from. It usually has a higher response rate than other question types.


Questions to avoid in a questionnaire


While you can ask almost anything in your questionnaire, it may not be a good idea to do so. Some questions may give you poor data while others may stop people from completing the questionnaire.


Here are a few question types to avoid.


Hypothetical questions


A hypothetical question asks a respondent what they would do, think, or feel about a situation that may happen in the future. It’s asking people to talk about their future actions and behavior which we’re notoriously bad at. This kind of question may give you data that can’t be used or will skew your overall understanding of the topic.


Embarrassing or offensive


Even though questionnaires can be anonymous, it’s not a good idea to embarrass or offend the respondent. It may lead to them dropping the questionnaire without completing it or giving you poor answers on purpose. Neither one is a good scenario.


Extreme positive/negative


You don’t want to bias your respondents before they’ve had a chance to form their own opinion on a topic. If a question is presented as extremely positive or negative then it may create a bias that should always be avoided. In the end, your data will be skewed.

Designing your own questionnaire

There are quite a few factors to consider when you’re designing a questionnaire that gives you the exact information you’re looking for.


At the very least, think about the goal, audience, distribution method, etc. Let’s look at the factors to consider while creating a well thought out questionnaire.

designing your own questionniare

1.    What’s the goal of the questionnaire?


This may be the most important aspect of the questionnaire creation process. The goal of your questionnaire will determine both the type and questions to ask your respondents.


As mentioned earlier, if you’re in the beginning stages and are still trying to form a hypothesis, it’s an exploratory questionnaire with open-ended questions. If you’re trying to prove or disprove an already formulated solution or hypothesis then a standardized questionnaire with closed-ended questions would be used.


A clear goal also makes it easier to determine if a specific question is necessary or not. For example, if you’re doing initial product research for a dog toy, a question about the kinds of toys they’ve purchased in the past may be useful. When you have an initial prototype dog toy and want to gauge market response, that question wouldn’t be as useful to you. 


2.    Who is the target group?


Whether or not it’s obvious, every market has multiple groups within it. Let’s take an average SaaS company for example. It usually has pricing tiers that are mapped to different personas. The customers on each subscription plan have different wants and needs.


The questionnaire you create and send out should reflect that. If you have the resources, create more than one so you can cater to the specific needs of different groups in your customer base.


In a situation where you’ve not seen different customer groups, it may be worth it for you to identify and segment your customers. Not only will your messaging become more effective, any time you send out a questionnaire or a survey, but it’ll also be more targeted and get a higher response rate. On average, you can expect only 12.5% of an external audience (nonemployees) to respond to your survey.

3.    How will you reach the target group


This is often overlooked until the last minute but it’s an important consideration. If you have an email list full of past and present customers then this may not be an issue for you.


What about when you’re trying to enter a new market with a new type of product and don’t have customers there? How will you be able to reach them? Can you even reach them online?


This can have major implications on the design of your questionnaire. For example, if it’s a paper-based questionnaire, the design will necessarily be different and the questions won’t be as dynamic. If you’re using ads to get people to take your questionnaire, you may need to provide an incentive and make it shorter.

questionnaire completion rate by method

4.    Clear question progression


The way your questions are ordered sets the tone for the entire questionnaire. You don’t want to start with a deep philosophical question that challenges the meaning of life. That’s too heavy. Almost everyone will bounce.


Instead, you want to start with simple questions that almost anyone can answer without too much thought. These are questions like age, sex, and geography – demographic information. These answers can also be used to further segment your respondents.


After you’ve built up some momentum, move into the core questions you want an answer to. The questions you ask here will depend on your goals but it should relate to your products and services. These questions help you flesh out your product development initiatives as well as create better and more focused marketing messages.  


Finally, tie up any loose ends with your final questions. A common but subpar question is “is there anything else you think we should know?” try to avoid this one. Instead, ask things like how they found you, their experience with buying another similar product, how they’d describe a specific problem, etc.


5.    What kind of questions will you use


Do you want well thought out answers that give you deep insights into the inner workings of the respondent’s mind? Or, do you want a narrow but easily analyzed response? The type of questions you use will determine the type of data you get.


As a rule of thumb, open-ended questions are often used earlier in the research process. Closed-ended questions tend to be used to prove or disprove hypothesis or solutions. Of course, you can use both of them but be sure to pay close attention to question progression so respondents aren’t put off or confused.


6.    Length of questionnaire


There are no hard and fast rules about how long your questionnaire should be. Some of them are hundreds of questions while others are less than five questions. The more questions, the lower your completion rate.

Questionnaire completion rate by length

On average, it takes 5 minutes to answer 10 questions. Depending on whether the answers are open-ended or close-ended, the time could be considerably more.


Your customers are busy and most of them won’t sit through a long questionnaire without some form of incentive or compensation. If you’re able to provide that then fine but most customer surveys shouldn’t require it.


Instead, be considerate of the time of others. Keep your questionnaires less than 15 questions and ideally under 10 questions. It makes it easier for respondents to complete the survey and easier for you and your team to analyze the information.


7.    Presentation


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a thousand bells and whistles to get people to take your questionnaire. A simple design that emphasizes the questions is more valuable than a flashy one. Of course, you can go flashy if you like. The thing is, most people just don’t care.

Select a font that’s easy for people to read and make sure the size is large enough to be legible on all devices. Apart from that, keep the number of pages to a minimum. 2 pages is much better than 30 pages when it comes to a questionnaire.  

 

8.    Choose language carefully


If you ask a question that creates bias or confuses your respondents then you may accidentally contaminate your data. Use clear terms, be concise, and avoid industry jargon.


For example, “We’ve been told we make great eggs, would you agree or disagree?” this question causes bias before the customer can answer. An unbiased question would be “how would you rate our eggs on a scale of 1 – 5?”


Also, avoid combining multiple questions into one. An example of a combination question would be “how did you enjoy your stay and would you recommend us to a friend?” These are two distinct questions bundled into one.

Advantages & disadvantages of questionnaires

It’s important to understand both the pros and cons of questionnaires and put proper safeguards in place before you start using them to make important business decisions.

advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires

Advantages


Let’s start with a few of the good things.


Inexpensive


Sending out an online questionnaire is one of the cheapest customer research strategies available. Unless you’re offering some type of incentive or are using ads to get in front of respondents, there are few costs associated with it.


Self-administered questionnaires avoid the need for hiring people to administer it, remove the cost of in-person interviews, and have versatile distribution methods.


Results come in quickly & can reach a large audience


Business moves fast so one of the most powerful advantages of a questionnaire is the ability to get it in the hands of a large group of people quickly. You don’t need to start mailing it out and waiting days for it to get to the intended recipient.


Instead, you can send an email, post it on your website, or share it on social media and start getting responses you can use almost instantly. Also, there’s no real upper limit to the number of people who can respond to the questionnaire.


Easy to analyze the results


The majority of questionnaires are quantitative in nature which allows for quick analysis of the answers. This is even more important when you have a larger pool of respondents.


With a survey tool like KyLeads, you can easily spot trends and derive insights from your questionnaire with our easy to use & understand reporting features.


Respondents can remain anonymous


If respondents are unable to remain anonymous, they may not answer some of the questions truthfully. As long as you’ve done proper targeting and they’re not answering for an incentive, it’s ideal to leave the respondents anonymous. They’ll be more comfortable and answer honestly and thoroughly.


Can cover all aspects of a topic


This is an overlooked aspect of questionnaires. With them, it’s possible to ask 100 questions. Of course, we don’t advise this because almost no one will finish an online questionnaire of that length.


With that being said, you can ask as many questions and solicit as much detail as you want. Play around with the number of questions you ask but try not to overdo it.


Disadvantages


There are a few disadvantages to questionnaires which you should be aware of.


Unanswered questions


Sometimes, people will just skip answers or drop off halfway. Since the questions are online and no one is there to prompt the respondent, this happens fairly often.


There is any number of reasons for this like unclear or confusing questions, irrelevant questions, incomplete answer options, etc. Making the answer required can help with this but it also increases the chances of someone abandoning the questionnaire altogether.


Questionnaire fatigue


Fatigue with your survey as well as the other surveys being sent out by other companies. More and more companies are using surveys and customers can’t answer all of them. This results in a lower overall response rate to surveys or questionnaires as a whole.


Conversely, someone may start your survey but drop off because there are too many questions or the questions seem to be irrelevant. You can’t get rid of the fatigue 100% but you can reduce it by creating shorter questionnaires and making your questions easy to answer.


Little personalization


Everyone who takes the questionnaire gets, for the most part, the same series of questions presented in the same way. Now, technology is making this better with features like logic branching and answer piping so the experience can be personalized a bit more.


In the end, it’s still limited because there’s a predetermined series of questions and the questionnaire can’t react to open ended statements.


Improper interpretation of questions


This is why it’s so important to choose your question language so carefully. It’s easy to misinterpret a written question and give a wrong answer or skip the question entirely. Another thing to consider is that certain words have multiple meanings and, without context, a different meaning may be applied.


Prevent this by using simple direct language in your questions and avoiding jargon.


Difficult to analyze certain types of questions


Multiple choice questions and dichotomous questions are simple to analyze. Open ended questions can’t be analyzed so easily.


They’ll require a human touch to ensure you’ve understood what the person is trying to tell you. This isn’t a bad thing but it can get tedious when there are a lot of answers to sift through.

Examples of questionnaires

There are countless types of questionnaires and surveys you can use to get deep insights about your customers and business. In this section, you’ll learn 6 common types that’ll help you improve your business immediately.

Brand awareness


This questionnaire example is ideal when you’re actively focusing on building awareness and doing demand generation. It helps you gauge whether or not your efforts are yielding fruit.


It’s one thing for people to end up on your website through a search on Google or a random post on social media. It’s another thing for there to be brand recall or positive associations about your business.


The brand awareness questionnaire will give you a better understanding of whether people looking for solutions you provide think of your brand, the kind of associations your name creates, and if you’re considered a leader in your field.

 

 

NPS


The NPS questionnaire has become popular over the last few years and it helps you measure customer loyalty and satisfaction.


It’s important to note that in its original form, it’s measuring loyalty and satisfaction that pertains to your entire business as opposed to specific products.


It uses a scale to measure customer loyalty. You calculate the score by subtracting the percentage of detractors from promoters and it’s expressed as an absolute number.

CSAT questionnaire


The customer satisfaction (CSAT) questionnaire example we’re sharing is just one of many. CSATs are incredibly varied. Even the NPS questionnaire is a type of CSAT. In general, it’s used to understand how satisfied a customer is with specific products and services or your business as a whole.


Use the basic outline below then tweak the questions to apply to your business or specific product lines. For example, if you were a shoe company, you could ask how often they wear shoes purchased from you.


If you were a hair extensions company, you could ask how satisfied they were with the product or the shopping experience as a whole.

 

 

Demographic questionnaire


Demographic questionnaires are often used to identify and segment the groups you have in your audience. This type of questionnaire is ideal if you’re entering a new market and want to start building up a profile of the people who will be your customers.


At the same time, you may want to use this to understand your current customer base so you can create better messaging or product pricing. 


Oftentimes, they’re a small part of larger questionnaires used to understand who’s giving what kind of answer.


For example, if you serve a customer group that varies in age and income, you’d like to know what kind of customers are giving answers so you can make decisions properly. 

Psychographic questionnaire


Psychographic segmentation has a firm place in modern business because everyone has demographic data (or can get it).


Demographic segmentation pales in comparison to knowing why a group of people do what they do.


Look at it this way, demographic data helps you understand the characteristics and buying power of your customers.


Psychographics helps you understand the why behind their actions and their attitudes behind certain stances. It can be a goldmine if gathered and used properly.

Post-event questionnaire


Ah, events. If you’re like most of us mere mortals then there’s a love-hate relationship with them. On the one hand, if they go off well then it can power your business to the next level.


On the other hand, everything that can go wrong probably will. As the organizer of the event or someone who had a key role, it may seem like you know exactly what went right and what went wrong.


If you don’t get feedback from as many people as possible then those are just assumptions which may or may not be correct.


Use post-event surveys to talk to as many people as humanly possible to get a clear picture of how you can improve.

Conclusion


This guide has covered a lot of ground so don’t expect to cram everything in one sitting.


Questionnaires are the backbone of surveys. Without them, there’s nothing to analyze. Before you dive in and start designing your questionnaire to collect all that juicy customer data, there are a number of things to do.


Decide on the type of questionnaire and your goals, focus on the right questions, figure out who the target group is, and so much more. Be sure to revisit this guide whenever you’re in doubt.

Net promoter Score (NPS) Survey: What it is and How to Calculate NPS

Last updated November 7, 2019

When you know what your magic sauce is you can do amazing things with it. The ability to answer the questions “how loyal are my customers?” or “are they willing to recommend us to other people?” and even “what are we doing right (or wrong)?” gives you a clear edge.

Previously, finding this info was a challenge that required deep research and an expensive consulting firm or two. Now, it’s as simple as sending out a Net Promoter Score® survey and watching the answers roll in.

In this article, you’ll learn what the Net Promoter Score® is, how to calculate it, and different times and ways to use it.

What is the Net Promoter Score®

The Net Promoter Score® (NPS), as the name suggests, is a measure of how willing your customer or audience is to promote your business, products, or services to others. Put another way, it’s an index ranging from -100 to 100 which measures how willing customers are to recommend a company to others. It’s used to gauge satisfaction as well as loyalty.

You can think of it as a simplified CSAT survey that only asks one question – at times two. The respondents are divided into three groups depending on their replies:

  • Detractors who aren’t happy with your organization/products
  • Passive who aren’t happy or unhappy
  • Promoters who are happy and willing to share your company with their social circle

We’ll look deeper into the nuances of NPS surveys later in this guide. For now, let’s focus on why Net Promoter Score® is important.

Measures loyalty

NPS is an index that serves as a proxy for how loyal your customers are to your business. If someone is happy then they stick around and also tell other people (promoters). When they’re getting a service they find valuable but think it could be better, they may stick around but are at risk of jumping ship at any time (passives). If they’re unhappy then they’ll be gone as soon as they can find something better (detractors).

NPS helps you identify each group and the reasons why they feel that way. With those insights, you can figure out how to create more happy customers and reduce the unhappy ones. The better your NPS, the less likely the average customer is to churn or seek solutions elsewhere which lead to higher retention and more profit. In some cases, 25% – 95% more profit.

There is no good score the first time you send out an NPS survey. Instead, look at your first Net Promoter Score® as a benchmark. Your goal from that point is to improve it and understand if you’re organization is getting better over time.

For example, if you have a lot of detractors the first time you perform an NPS survey you know what you need to work on. If detractors reduce and passives increase on the second survey then you know you’re making progress. When you perform a third NPS survey and the number of promoters reduces but passives increase then there’s a problem somewhere.

Identifies places to improve

An NPS survey consists of two parts. The first part gauges customer loyalty and is what the majority of people are familiar with. The second part is just as important. It asks the reason for the original score.

Without the second question, all you’d know is that someone is happy or unhappy about your company or services. How would you take action on that? The short answer is you can’t. When you ask respondents the reason for an answer, you’re able to get qualitative data that’ll equip you with the tools to improve or continue on the right path.

It transforms the NPS score from an abstract number to a metric that helps you make improvements in your business. The more specific the feedback is the better, after all, there are still trolls on the internet.

Helps you find people who are unhappy

For every single person that complains about something relating to your business, there are 26 people who are suffering in silence. There are a lot of reasons for this. One of them is time. It takes time to reach out and complain about issues.

An NPS survey helps reduce the time investment required by your customers. There is only one main question and a follow-up question where people can voice all of their opinions of your company in clear terms.

You can then use those answers to categorize and reach out to people who expect more from your service.

Used as a benchmark for future performance

This may be a bit controversial but we believe there’s no good or bad NPS score. Not in the way people think. For example, you shouldn’t aim for a score of 90 if your current score is -20.

Your immediate goal should be to improve it to – 10 or 0. The long term goal could be to get to 90. Whatever score you get the first time around is OK. What’s not OK is the score staying consistent over months or years. That’s when you have a real problem on your hands because it’s an indication that you’re not progressing.

Who created Net Promoter Score®

The Net Promoter Score® was developed and is jointly trademarked by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix. Though it has become popular with over 50% of the Fortune 1,000 using it, there are limitations associated with it.

Many critics claim that it doesn’t predict loyalty behaviors, the scale may not increase predictive validity, and it doesn’t add to other loyalty related questions. These are valid points and it just illustrates that there’s no single metric to judge customer loyalty. Instead, it’s important to use NPS surveys as part of a larger initiative to understand and improve customer loyalty.

Types of NPS surveys

When you first encounter Net Promoter Score®, it may seem like there’s only one way to perform them. That’s not exactly true. There are two major types of NPS surveys you can utilize.

The first one is the transactional NPS and the second one is the relationship NPS.

Transactional NPS survey.

This kind of survey goes out right after someone performs a transaction with your business. It helps gauge the experience they had buying the product or, if it’s something that can be accessed instantly, their feelings towards the product.

It helps you understand bottlenecks and places that can be improved as pertains to a specific product or funnel. In essence, you’re getting information about loyalty and customer satisfaction that pertains to a small window in time. It can be useful if you want highly specific and actionable feedback on something in your business. That could be a checkout flow, the quality of a product, etc.

Relationship NPS Surveys

These Net Promoter Score® surveys take a step back. It’s not focused on understanding loyalty as pertains to an individual experience. Instead, it’s focused on overall customer satisfaction and loyalty over time.

Instead of sending out the survey right after a transaction, it goes out at regular intervals. That could be every quarter, every month, every 6 months, etc.

The goal is to see how your NPS is trending over time. Is it getting better or worse? How is customer satisfaction doing? Do big updates or events have an impact on NPS over time or are there spikes only after releases?

Those are the types of questions relationship NPS can help answer.

Net Promoter Score® survey setup

The good thing about Net Promoter Score® is that the process to collect the information is simple. There’s a single question and depending on how they answer it, there’s a follow-up question.

The main question, can be tweaked to fit your situation and depends on whether you want feedback about a specific product, service, or your business and whether it’s a business or consumer product.

Here’s the question:

  • On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?
  • On a scale of 0-10, how likely are to recommend (product/ service name) to a friend or colleague?

This question can vary. For example, if you lease coworking space, you can ask how likely they are to recommend your coworking space to a friend or colleague.

After the initial reply, you’ll know whether they’re a passive, detractor, or promoter. That will determine how you phrase your follow up question.

If they’re a promoter, you can use variations of the following questions:

  • What’s the primary reason for your score?
  • Which features do you value and use the most?
  • How can we further improve your experience?

If they’re a detractor, you can use variations of the following questions:

  • How can we improve our product/service to better meet your needs?
  • What was missing from the product?
  • What was disappointing about your experience with us?

If they’re passive, you can ask variations of the following questions:

  • How can we make you a happier customer?
  • What’s the primary reason for your score?

That’s it, once you get the responses back, it’s time to calculate your Net Promoter Score®.

Net Promoter Score® calculation

Just like the survey itself, the calculation is also straightforward. The final answer is always an absolute number between -100 and 100.

Let’s look at the formula to calculate NPS.

There are three types of people who respond to your Net Promoter Score® survey:

  • Detractors which score you 6 and below
  • Passives which score you 7-8
  • Promoters which score you 9-10

The formula is % of promoters – % of detractors = NPS

Net promoter score calculation

or ((promoters – detractors) / respondents)) X 100 = NPS

NPS calculation

Passives aren’t taken into account when calculating your Net Promoter Score.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate.

Acme Inc. sends out an NPS survey to its entire customer base and gets back 321 responses in a week. It decides to go ahead and calculate its score based on the data it has available.

There are 89 promoters, 72 detractors, and 160 passives.

It set up the following formula

((89 – 72) / 321) X 100

 net promoter score calculation example

Their NPS is 5. As mentioned earlier, this isn’t good or bad (technically, it’s good because it’s above zero). Rather, it’s a benchmark they can use to measure their efforts against over time.

When and how to use Net Promoter Score®

There are countless ways to use an NPS survey to derive insights from your customer base. If you’re first starting out, it may not be useful because there simply aren’t enough customers to make it worthwhile. Instead of using an NPS survey, you may be better served by a standard CSAT survey or questionnaire.

After a transaction (transactional NPS)

I’ve already touched on this when explaining what transactional NPS surveys are. You use this survey right after someone performs a transaction with your business. It sheds light on how that transaction was perceived by the customer and what that means to your customer loyalty and satisfaction.

At regular intervals (relationship NPS)

This one is sent out to your customer base multiple times a year and helps you determine how the score is trending over time. It isn’t sent out after a transaction so that a specific experience won’t affect the overall score.

As a gauge of progress

This is where NPS surveys become powerful. NPS isn’t a one and done thing.

It’s important to understand that customer sentiment shifts over time. New trends come to light, needs evolve, and expectations change. Net Promoter Score® can help you determine if you’re keeping up with what’s expected from you.

In other words, it’s a simple and effective way to gauge your progress over time because it’s a snapshot of a specific moment. When you take multiple snapshots of multiple moments in time, you get a clearer picture.

The follow-up question continually gives you insights into what you’re doing wrong (and right).

Conclusion

Net Promoter Score® isn’t a perfect tool by any means so it shouldn’t be the only method you use to understand what customers think about your business. With that being said, it is a powerful way to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction.

When used correctly, it can give you deep insights into problems with your organization as well as what you’re doing right.

This guide has walked through exactly what NPS is, how to use it, and how you can easily calculate it in your business. If you only take one thing away from it, understand that the Net Promoter Score® is something that should be used often. Start performing NPS surveys to understanding exactly what you need to do to build an exceptional company.

 

11 Types of Surveys and How to Choose The Right One

The world would be much different if people could read minds. We can’t so the next best thing is the different types of surveys you can send to customers and members of your organization.

Surveys help you understand what’s working, what isn’t, and different areas you can improve.

With that information, you can make changes that are almost guaranteed to create a measurable impact on your business.

When used properly, surveys will give you deep insights into the most important aspects of your organization. Unfortunately, they’re often used incorrectly which diminishes their usefulness to you.

This article focuses on multiple types of surveys and the best time to use each one so you can get the right information to truly grow your business.

What do we mean by surveys?

A quick detour before we jump into the types of surveys.

A survey is a research method used to collect qualitative and quantitative data from a clearly defined group of respondents. Traditionally, they were distributed using paper but with the advent of technology, you can send a survey to people halfway across the world and collect responses in real-time.

The core of any survey is a questionnaire but the main difference is that questionnaires are where you ask the question but surveys also analyze the data.

The key aspect of the above definition is the fact that surveys are sent to defined groups – also known as market or audience segments. The better defined your group is, the better your data and the more useful the insights.

In fact, the type of survey you use will depend on the group it’s intended for.

1.  Employee/job satisfaction surveys

An employee/job satisfaction survey, as the name implies, measures how your team perceives their jobs and your organization as a whole. It seeks to understand the areas you’re doing well and the areas you’re lacking.

These types of surveys are most effective when you’re able to follow up with the respondents and ask them to elaborate on the reasons for their answers. At the same time, people may not be as forthcoming if the responses aren’t anonymous. This is because they may fear the negative consequences of being critical about internal policies or initiatives.

Employee and job satisfaction surveys have a lot of overlap which is why they’re mentioned together but they can be separated. The employee satisfaction survey seeks to understand how the person feels about the organization as a whole. The job satisfaction survey seeks to understand how they feel about their specific role.

2.  Post-event surveys

Events are dynamic situations and everyone has a unique experience. You may feel like you understand how it went. Feedback from participants and attendees may paint a different picture.

That’s why it’s so important to get feedback from as many people as possible. It’ll better picture of what people enjoyed and what they disliked. At the same time, you can understand if the expectations you set beforehand lived up to reality.

A few things you can ask about are:

  • Staff friendliness and helpfulness
  • Satisfaction with the event as a whole
  • Favorite part of the event
  • Least favorite part of the event
  • How likely they are to attend an event in the future

3.  Customer satisfaction surveys

These are among the most popular types of surveys businesses use. It lets you know if you’re hitting the mark with your products, services, and the entire customer experience.

There are quite a few methodologies for doing customer satisfaction surveys and there are difference CSAT scores associated with them. The most popular methodologies are:

NPS (net promoter score) surveys help you understand and measure customer loyalty. It asks respondents a single question “how likely are you to recommend our company/product/etc. to a friend or colleague?

The options are on a scale of 1-10 and then it goes on to ask the respondent why.

The post-purchase survey is used to understand how a customer feels about a recent purchase experience. This is in contrast to the NPS which measures overall loyalty. It gives insights about specific areas that can be improved.

Customer satisfaction survey (CSAT), as the name implies, gauges customer satisfaction with the actual product or service they bought. It evaluates the products on their merit. A simple question such as “how would you rate your satisfaction with the products/services you received?” is enough.

Usability surveys. This type of survey is used in two separate situations. The first one would apply to your website. It gauges how easy it is to navigate and find information. The second one is related to your products. How easy are they to use?

4.  Customer exit/cancellation surveys

No matter how good your products and services are, people will leave. There are two routes you can take. Either you accept it as a fact of life or you focus on figuring out exactly why people are leaving.

If you adopt the second course of action (which is highly recommended) then you’ll be able to spot issues you didn’t know existed and fix them. At the same time, you may be able to save a customer if the issue is something that can be easily rectified.

5.  Employee exit surveys

This is something that’s often overlooked because of the negative feelings associated with employees leaving. Sometimes it’s best to use an impartial device like a survey to find out where you were lacking as an employer (if that’s the case).

When someone leaves your company, they may be more candid with the answers they give you about working conditions, pay, management style, etc. Perform this survey as quickly as possible so the reasons for leaving are still fresh in the former employee’s mind.

6.  Onboarding surveys

These can be used for both employees and customers. A customer onboarding survey helps you understand how you can better meet their needs. This is different from customer satisfaction surveys because you’re looking for specific action items that affect the overall experience.

Employee onboarding surveys are there to help guide your new employee as well as your processes. Are new employees able to find their way around, get acclimatized, understand their position, etc.? These are things an onboarding survey will help you understand.

7.  Market research surveys

These types of surveys are powerful, underutilized, and easy to get wrong. It’s no secret that when you understand the market or niche you’re operating in, good things happen.

There are countless ways to perform market research surveys and the approach you adopt will depend on whether you have customers, what phase of business you’re in, and your resources.

Note that with market research surveys, you’re going after primary data sources. What that means is the information hasn’t been collected by a third party previously. Everything is new. You can then use the insights you gain to create marketing collateral, content, optimize sales processes, and brand positioning.

A few things you want to understand:

  • The market’s perception of your niche
  • Price sensitivity
  • Level of competition
  • Awareness of the problem you’re solving
  • Customer segments within your market

8.  Process evaluation survey

This type of survey is much less common but it can teach you a lot about your internal processes. This is especially true when you have a lot of teams or move quickly and processes aren’t always written in stone.

The goal of this survey is to help you figure out how well initiatives are being implemented and where things can be improved. When used often, it can help you iterate on standard operating procedures.

9.  Price sensitivity surveys

If you look around your market or any market you’ll notice that products and services tend to have the same or similar pricing. This may be because everyone has it figured out and knows how much to charge.

More likely, no one has it figured out and they’re all copying each other. Price sensitivity surveys help understand the market’s attitude around pricing and are closely tied to market research. Is there room for a premium solution? Are people only willing to pay bargain prices? Can the prices support your ongoing expenses and still yield a profit?

With this type of survey, it’s important to segment the people who take it so you won’t get skewed results. For example, the customers who spend the most with you may be willing to buy more expensive products while casual browsers are extremely price sensitive.

10.              Psychographic analysis survey

If you don’t know, we love psychographic segmentation. It’s one of the most powerful forms of customer segmentation because it deals with the attitudes, lifestyles, and, to an extent, the behavior of individuals.

When you understand who your people are you can create better products, marketing materials, brand values, etc. This type of survey asks questions to understand the way people feel about products, what they think about certain scenarios, and how they spend their time.

11.              Product research surveys

You may have done this kind of survey informally in the past when developing the idea for a product. The mistake people make is only using it when they get started.

These surveys should be used throughout the product lifecycle so you can continually iterate and improve. They’re unique because they’re sent to internal teams as well as end-users.

For maximum impact, use them during each of these stages:

  • Ideation
  • Launch
  • Growth
  • Maturity
  • Decline

Conclusion

This collection of the different types of surveys is by no means all the surveys you can create to improve your business.

Think of it as a starting point.

Implement one or two to start and when you get familiar with implementing and analyzing survey results, take advantage of a few more types.

Let me know the types of surveys you’re using in the comments and don’t forget to share.

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