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Exploring Likert Scales for Actionable Customer Insights

Discover how Likert scales can unlock actionable customer insights and guide strategic decisions.

Establishing solid connections with customers is crucial for any business aiming for long-term success. Without these connections, fostering customer loyalty can be quite challenging. But don't worry—there's a helpful tool that can make all the difference: the Likert scale.

A structured rating system used in surveys, Likert scales offer respondents a range of options to express their level of agreement or disagreement with statements or questions. Unlike simple yes or no responses, they allow respondents to express their thoughts and feelings with more depth.

In the following sections, we'll explore the world of Likert scales in more depth: what they are, why they're important, and how they can help businesses better connect with customers. Measure opinions and sentiments towards your products or services in a more comprehensive way, gather more actionable customer insights, and become a more customer-focused business.

A Likert scale, often used in surveys or questionnaires to gauge attitudes, is a psychometric scale. It presents respondents with a series of statements, asking them to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement on a symmetrical scale, usually ranging from 5 to 7 options.

This scale promotes honesty in responses because of its flexible and directional categories. Instead of being limited to extreme choices like yes/no or agree/disagree, respondents can select from a variety of options, spanning from increasingly positive to increasingly negative statements.

What can Likert scales be used for?

Likert scales are versatile tools found in various fields like marketing, psychology, sociology, and education. They excel in measuring opinions, attitudes, sentiments, and behaviors, making them popular for surveys like customer satisfaction scores and employee engagement.

Businesses often employ the same Likert scale across multiple surveys to effectively track changes in customer satisfaction over time. By collecting and analyzing data from Likert scales, businesses can assess customer satisfaction levels and pinpoint areas for improvement. Customer retention relies on making customers feel heard, and adjusting products or services based on Likert scale responses demonstrates that their opinions are valued.

Types of Likert scales

When designing surveys or questionnaires, selecting the appropriate Likert scale is crucial for gathering accurate and insightful data. Here are three common types:

  1. Five-point scale: This is the most common format, offering respondents five answer options: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral or Neither Agree nor Disagree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. Five-point scales provide a moderate level of granularity, allowing respondents to express a range of opinions without overwhelming them with too many choices.
  2. Seven-point scale: Building upon the five-point scale, the seven-point scale adds two additional options, such as Slightly Agree and Slightly Disagree. This increase in answer options allows for more nuanced responses, effectively narrowing down respondents' opinions and capturing subtle variations in their attitudes.
  3. Even-point scales: In an even-point scale, the neutral midpoint is omitted, offering respondents an equal number of positive and negative response options. Although this approach may appear limiting at first glance, it can be tactically utilized to encourage more definitive and thoughtful responses.

Likert scales in customer surveys capture customer perceptions and attitudes towards your business in a structured manner. By using Likert scales, your business can make data-driven decisions to enhance customer experience, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Quantitative insights

A Likert scale offers a structured approach to quantifying qualitative opinions, attitudes, and sentiments. It does this by using an ordinal scale, where numerical values are assigned to respondents' choices. This method makes the collected data easier to analyze and compare.

Sensitive to variations

By offering a variety of answer options that allow respondents to express differing degrees of agreement or disagreement, Likert scales can detect subtle nuances in attitudes that might be overlooked with just binary yes or no questions.


While a Likert scale encompasses multiple answer options, they are straightforward and directional, ranging from items like Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, or similar variations. This simplicity lessens the burden on respondents and enhances the likelihood of participation and accuracy.

When implementing a Likert scale in your surveys, it's crucial to consider best practices. By following these guidelines for Likert scale questions, you can enhance the survey's completion rate and the quality of the data collected.

Keep it simple and clear

Accurate responses rely on clearly-worded Likert scale survey questions. Make sure to avoid double negatives, steer clear of any ambiguity, and cater your language toward your target audience.

Balance positive and negative statements

Make sure to counterbalance positively worded Likert scale questions with negatively worded ones to prevent social desirability bias. Respondents tend to answer questions in ways that present themselves in a positive light.

Consider response order

On your Likert scale questionnaire, randomize the order of your questions to minimize order effects, so respondents aren't influenced by the sequence of questions. Disrupt the pattern by making sure each respondent receives a unique sequence of survey questions.

Be mindful of question length

Make sure your survey questions are clear and concise, and aim to keep the questionnaire short to prevent survey fatigue. Typically, an online survey consists of 15 to 20 questions.

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How to analyze Likert scale data

When you are putting together a Likert scale survey, make sure to use numerical representations for your survey scale points (e.g. 1=Strongly Disagree, 5=Strongly Agree). Once you hear back from your customers, it's time to conduct data analysis.

Before analyzing your data, it is important to consider whether you're dealing with ordinal data or interval data. In most cases, researchers treat Likert-derived data as ordinal, under the assumption that the intervals between Likert items are not equal.

Descriptive statistics

Analyzing Likert scale data with descriptive statistics involves summarizing responses to gain insights into central tendency, variability, and distribution.

For ordinal data, identifying the most frequent response provides an understanding of overall sentiment, while calculating the mode for each question offers an overall impression of responses.

For interval data, totaling the numerical representations assigned to survey responses for each Likert scale question yields a score for each respondent. Then, calculating the average score and standard deviation reveals the spread around the central tendency.

Group comparisons

To explore sentiments towards your business among different groups, like gender, it's essential to gather relevant personal information from each respondent, such as their gender.

Once you've collected this data, group responses by gender and calculate the mean and median for each Likert scale answer. To compare responses between gender groups, you can use statistical tests like independent samples t-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), or non-parametric tests.

Correlation analysis

If you're interested in exploring connections between respondents' answers to different questions, you can employ correlation analysis on your Likert scale data. Once you've received survey responses, select the two questions you wish to examine, and calculate the correlation coefficient of the Likert scale items.

A correlation coefficient close to 1 indicates a strong positive connection between the answers to those questions, while a coefficient close to -1 suggests a strong negative connection. If the coefficient is close to 0, it indicates little to no connection.

Measure attitudes and engage your customers

Now that you have a better grasp of Likert scales, understand their benefits, and know the best practices for crafting survey questions, are you ready to harness Likert scale surveys to enhance your business?

Mailchimp is here to support you. With Mailchimp, you can easily create and distribute Likert scale surveys directly within our platform. Tailor surveys to gather specific information about customer satisfaction levels, attitudes, or opinions.

Once surveys are completed, Mailchimp automatically collects and integrates the Likert scale responses into your CRM system. This data enables you to segment your customer base more effectively and develop comprehensive customer profiles.

In addition to data collection and tracking, Mailchimp offers integrations with your business's customer support system or analytics tools, allowing you to leverage Likert scale survey data to its fullest potential.

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