How To Use Your Ordinal Survey Responses To Improve Your Ads, Part III

We last went over analyzing your ordinal survey results in different ways, but what if you get back results like this…

—————————————————1st      2nd     3rd      4th      5th      6th

a) Waiting line                      17       17       17        17        16        16

b) Employee Service           16         16       17        17       17         17

c) Quality of Products         17       17         16        16       17         17

d) Office Environment         16       16       17         17       17         17

e) Competitive Pricing         17        17      16         16       17         17

f) Customer Service Line     17         17      17         17       16       16

Basically results so uniform that you can’t tell any difference what your customers really prioritize more or less…

Or what about a result like this…

—————————————————1st      2nd     3rd      4th      5th      6th

a) Waiting line                      45        2          3          2          3          45

A U-Shaped result that tells you that many think you should focus on the waiting line but just many say not to focus on it at all…

Uniform Results

In the first case, your uniform results can tell you one of following:

– You’re doing really notably well in all your areas.

– You’re doing really notably bad in all your areas.

– Your customers don’t really care about any of these areas.

So, how do you determine which one is the case? Simple:

– Try to increase the number of responses. Maybe you’ll start to see a trend in one direction or another.

– Add the following two questions in your survey (tailored to your kind of survey):

“Please list any aspects or areas that you value from our business which we haven’t already covered in the list above




“From the list above, please rank the areas our business that you value most from our business, from most important to least important (letter only):






A simple tally of each questions’ results will tell you what’s going on.

– Add a comment section right after these questions, preferably asking something like “Please comment further on any area or aspect of your business you would like to address”

With these measures, you’ll find clarity with your answers. But you should have had these questions and comments in your ordinal value survey already 🙂

U-Shaped Results

Now for U-Shaped results:

– Try out the solutions for the Uniform Results above, but you really need to focus on comments and answers from the first question about “Any areas we didn’t address but you’d like to add”

– Study this area in more detail on your on. There might be something divisive about this particular aspect. Maybe there is something there that really appeals to men and repulses women. Maybe there is something that your younger customers like but older ones do not like. There could be many distinctions and its a good idea to get a closer look at this U-shaped area, even get a second opinion.

This could help you focus on improvements that make more of an impact.

– Study the other results of that question. There might be something related. If you get a U-shaped for waiting line but your second place winner for improvement is employee hospitality, that might mean the employees look like their careless or just slacking off, making your line longer unnecessarily. It could be other things, but you have to study and research in detail to figure it out.

So don’t let anomalies paralyze you. You can get to the bottom of the case with some sleuthing 🙂