What customer satisfaction scale to use? Majority go with 1 to 5.

I receive lots of questions about customer satisfaction programs. One area with lots of disagreement is what scale to use. I’m a fan of 1-5 scales, because I think the increments are realistic for rating a service experience. Also, average scores are always higher on a 1-5 scale than a 1-10 scale. Do customers really understand why they would rate you a 6 verses a 7? In my opinion, too much granularity leads to random choices.

But clearly lots of people disagree. Here is a chart showing which scale is used by SSPA member companies:


While the 1-5 scale is the most popular, there are also lots of companies using 1-10 scales, and a pretty big slice of members selected ‘other,’ which is sort of curious to me. Of course, another big factor is how the scale is labeled, and we’ve heard lots of stories about strange labeling that certainly influences scores (like having 5 on a 1-10 scale labeled as ‘satisfactory’).

As to what questions to ask, I wrote a report at Forrester on this I’m happy to share with anyone interested. For member companies, I would be sure to include the after-incident questions we have in the benchmark to enable you to compare your results with your peers. Here are the questions we track:

Satisfaction with:

  • The case overall
  • Time to respond
  • Time to resolve/repair
  • Effectiveness or completeness of solution
  • Technical knowledge of representative
  • Customer service skills of representative
  • Availability of spare parts/replacements

The other good source for information on satisfaction programs is our members, and we have been blessed to have many member presentations at conferences about their customer satisfaction programs. Our TSW event next week includes these presentations:

What scale are you using, and how did you decide to use it?  Anyone with best or worst practices to share pleae submit a comment or drop me an email.  And as always, thanks for reading!  Hopefully I will see you next week at TSW!

Explore posts in the same categories: Best Practices, customer satisfaction


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One Comment on “What customer satisfaction scale to use? Majority go with 1 to 5.”

  1. Matt Says:

    I am interested to know in the results of the customer satisfaction surveys from the sliding scale and the resulting benchmarks to put ourselves against in the Service Mobility space.
    Will these be posted?

    Generally we use a sliding scale of 1-10 as I believe this is Microsoft’s recommended practice for software customer satisfaction surveys.

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