The ‘Totally Satisfied’ Scale

What does ‘Totally Satisfied’ mean in a customer satisfaction survey?

There are many ways to “score” or “scale” a survey.  How the scale is devised and how the resulting responses are analysed and interpreted can have a dramatic impact on how surveys are responded to and how the results are used.

One example of a badly designed survey is the “front end loaded” scale, as in the picture on the left. This is offering you a choice between excellent, very good, good, fair and poor.

In the series above there are four positive responses and one negative response.  The scale is “front end loaded” in that there are more “good” responses than “bad” ones.

The subliminal message the scale delivers is that the sender of the survey presumes there won’t be that many negative replies.  The subconscious mind gets the message and responds accordingly.

“Totally Satisfied” is unambiguous


With our scale the response alternatives are balanced –

Totally Satisfied,

Somewhat Satisfied,

Somewhat Dissatisfied and

Totally Dissatisfied.

A fifth alternative, No Reply, or Insufficient Information to Evaluate, provides a catchall for uncertainty, but does not encourage any specific reply.



The importance of using “Totally Satisfied” is simple.  Those who are only “Somewhat Satisfied” will generally check out the competition – shop around for alternatives – before deciding whether or not they will come back to you. Those who are “Dissatisfied” are probably lost customers.

Totally Satisfied customers are, by and large, loyal.

There is more on this topic in our Blog.   Please see Survey Scalling for a B2B Customer Satisfaction Survey.

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