Scales are a critical element when you want to measure. Scales are a kind of grammar of customer experience. They are a way for customers to express themselves in an easy way, and a means to compare and analyze the data.
What is a ‘good’ scale? In ‘older times’ we would have said, one that differentiations the best. Then we would measure with a 100% scale and find a lot of variance. But what to say about the difference between the 98% of one case and the 95% of another? Nothing… Therefore, it does not make any sense to measure that.
What about the usability of scales for our customers? Clarity is necessary to guarantee consistency in answers. The clearest scale is the three-point scale. It has verbal qualities. In all languages, the cascade of good-better-the best exists. After adding on the negative cascade of bad-worse-the worst, we end up with a six-point scale. A six point scales is the most natural one.
However, we also have ten fingers and ten toes. The ten-point scale therefore appears in many cultures. Technically, it is richer, as it differentiates more. Ultimately, in customer feedback ratings we suffer from an effect that concerns decision-making. When customers, before becoming customers, compare offerings, they exclude the bad cases straight away. Why should they now say, it is all wrong? But nevertheless it was not as expected. Therefore, on a 10-point scale, an 8 is certainly better than a 6. But who says an 8 is enough to keep the customer loyal? Maybe ‘yes’ in one country, and ‘no’ in another, depending on how they use the scale. For example, in French schools the rate of 8 is an award for the exceptional, 9 reserved for geniuses, and 10 for the gods. In Chinese schools, 9 is expected and 10 seen as exceptional, while an 8 already casts doubts on the poor child. How will they rate as grownups? We need to be careful with scales, but for measuring, we cannot live without them.