Benefits and Weaknesses of a Linear Rating Scale

Benefits and Weaknesses of a Linear Rating ScaleThere are many different ways to understand customer priorities. One way is known as a “linear rating scale.” It is a simple way of judging customer priorities using a basic and easy to understand scale that allows for quick and easy analysis. But like most ways of researching your market, it is not without its weaknesses. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a linear rating scale for analysis.

Advantages of a Linear Rating Scale

  • Easy to Understand

The linear rating scale is simple, and takes very little work on the part of the customer. Some type of feature or aspect of the product is shown to the customer, and the customer receives progressively decreasing options, such as: “must be a feature,” or “should be a feature” all the way to “not a feature I care about” and/or “will not buy if feature is added.”

The answers are self-explanatory and not that confusing for customers. It doesn’t require them to look at each feature in the context of other features either, like some ranking systems do.

  • Faster

Because the survey is easier to understand, the customers should be able to answer the questions far more quickly, hopefully reducing dropout. That’s an advantage when creating your survey because other, more complicated methods of receiving this type of data have a tendency to be frustrating or take a long time to complete.

Disadvantages of a Linear Rating Scale

  • Data Limitations

Even though a linear rating scale is relatively easy to complete, it may be missing potential data. It doesn’t necessarily show how vital a particular feature is, nor does it compare and contrast features to each other in a way that provides any meaningful analysis. It may show two parts of a product as equal when in reality they are only equal when looked at independently.

  • Lack of Passion By Respondent

Because there is no mention of a “most important” feature or a way of looking at these products relative to each other, the results may also be altered by the passion of the respondent. For example, there may be very few features that a customer lists as vital, while another customer may find each and every feature to be important even if relative to the other features it is not as important.

Using Linear Rating Scale

Linear rating scale is a useful tool in market research for understanding customers’ thoughts on products. It is also easy to put into a survey, and simple for the customer to complete. Some people find these types of responses to be fairly limiting, and may not provide you with as interesting data as you would like. But overall, it is an easy addition to any survey.

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