How to add a “poor to excellent” scale to your surveys

The goal of any survey is to get the clearest possible response from the user. Survey input helps an organization get a better idea of its overall performance, the customer experience, the quality of its products or services, and more — depending on the use case.

If you’re looking for detailed feedback, surveys that only offer binary response options to questions like “yes or no,” “true or false,” or “good or bad” aren’t always the best way to go. Giving your respondents “either/or” options limits how fully you can understand their experience or sentiments.

That can make it harder for you to ensure a good customer experience. When organizations rely on vague data, they’re less able to respond to customers’ or users’ concerns or needs effectively.

That’s where “poor to excellent” scales in surveys come in handy. Researchers in social science and consumer analytics have found that these scales are the best way to gather “quality of life,” or QoL, metrics. These scales allow respondents to describe their experience in a way that can be quantified, and they offer more detail to help organizations gain a better understanding of how respondents feel.

For your next survey, think about what kinds of questions will deliver the level of detail you need. Using a “poor to excellent” scale could help you gather the right kind of data to help you meet your survey goals.

Understanding rating scales

You might see different versions of “poor to excellent” scales, but in general, they’re meant to deliver a more nuanced response than you would get by asking a “yes/no” question. As a rating scale, the “poor to excellent” scale falls under the category of a visual analogue scale, or VAS — in other words, it uses a visual representation, like a line, to measure subjective characteristics or attitudes.

You can use these scales to determine anything from customer experience to workout intensity. A common use is the Borg rating of perceived exertion — often used by trainers to gauge physical exertion in a workout on a subjective rating scale of 6–20. Another example you’ve likely seen is the pain scale many doctors use to determine their patients’ pain level on a scale of 1–10.

The pain scale, in particular, is a close relative of one of the most common VAS tools: the Likert scale. A Likert scale gives respondents a range of possible responses for how they might feel about an experience, product, or other survey subject. Often, these types of survey questions include five possible responses:

  1. ​​Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

Using “poor to excellent” scales for surveys

A Likert scale can also be a “poor to excellent” scale. Using the same methods of any VAS, the question would instead include these responses on a linear scale:

  1. Poor
  2. Fair
  3. Good
  4. Very good
  5. Excellent

This is just one example of the different ratings you can use in “poor to excellent” scales. Depending on how specific you want responses to be, the number of levels can range anywhere from three response options to 20 — or more (though this may be overwhelming for your survey recipients). When you use these scales, you want to make sure you use distinct terminology and attributes that apply to your organization. 

While they don’t offer as full a picture as open-ended, long-form responses, “poor to excellent” scales create quantified, actionable data your team can review for a better understanding of your user base and how you’re performing with them.

Put “poor to excellent” scales into practice with Jotform

However you plan to use “poor to excellent” scales, make sure your form-building software can easily deploy these tools as well as collect and organize the information effectively. With online form builder Jotform, users can quickly and easily build custom Likert scales and drop them into their online forms and surveys.

With Jotform’s wide-ranging customization capabilities and thousands of form and survey templates, you can customize these scales to meet your needs, no matter the business or use case. What’s more, the data you collect from your surveys can feed right into Jotform Tables, giving you the ability to easily track, store, and organize responses. You can use any one of the hundreds of table templates offered to get started quickly.

“Poor to excellent” scales are useful across many industries and functions — from developing customer surveys to conducting focus groups and beyond. They’re a popular rating tool because they’re so simple and effective, providing better data that’s easy to collect and respond to. And with the right form-building software, you can tap into the potential of these scales and gain a better understanding of your users’ experience.

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

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