Likert Scale Examples, Questions & What You Need to Know

Likert scales are rating scales often used in customer surveys. This form of rating scale is named after its inventor, psychologist Rensis Likert. A Likert scale is a psychometric scale that’s effectively used to assess the opinions, attitudes and experiences of customers regarding brands, products and services.

Likert scales offer survey respondents the opportunity to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree with a given statement or to express a neutral response. People are not forced into making a binary choice between ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’. The quantitative survey data can then be readily collated.

However, questions persist over whether this is the best way to get usable customer feedback (as opposed to do market research) and rightly so.

5 Point Likert Scale Example

Looking at a typical Likert scale question and answer example is the best way to appreciate how Likert scales work.

A typical “odd” Likert scale question might be:
How satisfied are you with the service you have received from [brand, department, service agent]?

The respondent might be offered this 5 point Likert scale from which they select their response.

  1. Very satisfied.
  2. Moderately satisfied.
  3. Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
  4. Moderately dissatisfied.
  5. Very dissatisfied.

This form of 5 point Likert scale came into existence in 1932 and is likely to be the most common format. Respondents are offered a middle, neutral response option which enables them to answer even if they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied or if they neither agree nor disagree with a statement. This technique avoids forcing survey respondents to make a binary choices.

Sometimes, when more granular survey responses are beneficial, a 7 point Likert scale might be used, or even a 9 point Likert scale. But it should be remembered that the more multiple choice options available to respondents then the greater the likelihood of potential confusion and survey abandonment.

Certainly one person’s “moderately dissatisfied” could be another person’s “moderately satisfied” which renders the scale challenging on many levels.

It is generally more beneficial to offer fewer choices from which respondents can quickly make their selections and then probe with a deeper, follow-up question to uncover the reasons why.

Even Likert Scales

An “even” Likert scale offers and even number of multiple choice responses, without the middle ‘neutral’ option. Since Likert scales were first introduced, back in 1932, there has been a lot of research into the optimal number of multiple choice answers. Scales of from just two choices up to more than 100 have been used in various circumstances. It has been argued (Garner (1960)) that the more response options offered maximises the amount of information gathered but others (Green and Rao (1970)) have indicated that 7 response options was optimal.

The simplest 2 option ‘even’ Likert scale offers respondents the opportunity to either agree or disagree or maybe express satisfaction or dissatisfaction. These ultra-simple binary choices may, in some circumstances, provide what’s required without burdening or confusing respondents. But it has been found (Jones (1968)) that the 2 option scale was seen as less accurate, less reliable, less interesting and more ambiguous than 7 point Likert scales. Also, survey response reliability increased when using a 7 point scale compared with a 2 point scale (Cicchetti, Showalter and Tyrer (1985)). Beyond 7 points no further reliability improvement was found.

A 4-point Likert scale prompts respondents to make a choice that’s either positive or negative without a middle or neutral option. This technique, combined with a follow up question, probing more deeply when respondents have made negative choices, will often elicit the best response rates and actionable insight.

Likert Scale Advantages

Likert scale based survey questions provide a number of clear advantages, here are a few of them.

  • Easy to understand and implement.
  • Quantifiable answers support statistical analysis, reporting and representation.
  • Respondents find Likert answer scales easy to understand and use.
  • Likert scales provide the facility to record varied opinions.

Likert Scale Disadvantages

While there are some clear advantages in using Likert scale based questions there are some disadvantages which should be noted.

  • Due to the limited number of answer options, Likert scales cannot therefore measure the true attitudes of respondents.
  • Respondent’s answers are likely to be influenced by previous survey questions they have been presented with.
  • Some people frequently avoid choosing extreme options such as ‘totally agree’ or ‘totally disagree’ even if these are the most accurate.

What to Assess with Likert Scales

When devising a customer survey you need to consider exactly what you want to assess and measure. To use Likert scale based questions whatever you want to measure needs to be allocated to a scale that indicates the customer’s experience, their opinion or their attitude. The answer options need to include two clear extremes along with an appropriate number of middle options to allow customers to quantify their responses.

Likert scale based customer survey questions are typically used to assess the following:

  • Satisfaction
    • From ‘delighted’ to ‘frustrated’ with options in between.
  • Importance
    • From ‘essential’ to ‘unimportant’.
  • Quality
    • From ‘extremely high’ to ‘very poor’.
  • Frequency
    • From ‘often’ to ‘never’.
  • Likelihood
    • From ‘definitely’ to ‘never’.

The options offered to respondents in between these extremes should allow customers to represent their views and experiences as accurately as possible.

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20 Likert Scale Examples

As noted, Likert scale questions can offer almost any number of multiple-choice response options. But when devising survey questions the less thinking that is required from respondents then the better the response rates will be. Presenting questions with only a few answer options and then following up with a deeper, probing question in response to negative answers will generally provide beneficial, actionable feedback. Here are some ideas.

How satisfied were you with your in-store experience?

  • Delighted
  • Satisfied.
  • Not satisfied at all / frustrated.

[Brand / organization] invests time and money to keep employees updated with technology.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree.

What was your level of satisfaction with our product(s) (or service)?

  • Extremely satisfied.
  • Very satisfied.
  • Slightly dissatisfied.
  • Not satisfied at all.

The online store checkout process was straightforward.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree.

How likely are you to recommend this product / service to friends and family?

  • Very likely
  • Likely
  • Not likely
  • Very unlikely

Please tell us how important it is for us to provide 24/7 customer service.

  • Essential
  • Important
  • Low importance
  • Not important

The user-manual provided clear guidance in how to install and setup the application.

  • Completely agree
  • Mostly agree
  • Slightly disagree
  • Completely disagree

It was easy to navigate the website to find what I was looking for.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree.

Please tell us how important the new features added to [product] are to you.

  • Highly important.
  • Moderately important
  • Low importance
  • Not important at all

How helpful are the instruction videos provided from our website?

  • Extremely helpful
  • Somewhat helpful
  • Not very helpful
  • Not helpful at all

How satisfied were you with our new menu?

  • Very satisfied
  • Reasonably satisfied
  • Slightly dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied.

To what extent did our customer service team meet your expectations?

  • Significantly exceeded expectations
  • Met expectations
  • Did not meet expectations

How would you rate your recent customer service call?

  • Exceptional
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor

The conference speakers were knowledgeable and informative.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Slightly disagree
  • Totally disagree

How often do you seek assistance from customer support?

  • Very frequently
  • Occasionally
  • Rarely
  • Never

The product is manufactured from high quality components and materials.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Partially disagree
  • Totally disagree

I will buy this product (use this service) again in the future.

  • Very likely
  • Likely
  • Unlikely
  • Very unlikely

What do you think about our online prices?

  • Very happy
  • Happy
  • Not very happy
  • Not happy at all

How important are the prices of our products to you?

  • Very important
  • Important
  • Low importance
  • Not important at all

How important is the product warranty to you?

  • Very important
  • Important
  • Low importance
  • Not important at all

How to Analyse Likert Scale Data

Likert scale data is ‘ordinal’ which means that we can only determine that one score is higher or lower than another. We cannot quantify the difference or the distance between the answer options.

While we may allocate numeric tags to each optional answer these are never representative scores that can be beneficially used in analysis. When analysing Likert scale data we can’t use the mean or average as it has no meaning in this context. After all, what is the ‘average’ or ‘mean’ of the range from ‘extremely satisfied’ to ‘extremely dissatisfied’.

The most appropriate, basic measure is to examine the ‘mode’ which indicates the most frequently provided responses. A very effective and practical way to represent and visualize this data is to use bar charts which highlight the ‘mode’ (the most frequently provided answer) alongside bars reflecting the number of respondents who chose other options.

When analysing Likert scale data its important to interpret the information in a meaningful way. Bar charts are very effective as they provide a clear, visual indication of which answers were selected the most often alongside those which were chosen less frequently. Tabulating the data is another simple but highly effective technique.

Likert Scales with Customer Thermometer

Customer Thermometer enables you to create Likert scale survey questions that can be answered quickly and easily without burdening your survey respondents. This is key to achieving great response rates. Adding a follow-up second question will provide deeper insight into why people made their answer selections.

Give Customer Thermometer a try for your customer surveys. Send yourself an example here:

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