Skip to content

What is the smiley face rating system?

The smiley face rating system is a simple and straightforward way of collecting information about how your customers feel and how satisfied they are. The HappyOrNot smiley face rating system contains four different colored smileys in the form of a button. This way, customers can let you know what they think anonymously and with a single button.

What is the best way to collect customer feedback? 

Although it might not seem like a big deal, what you use to capture people’s feedback and the elements used in a survey scale do matter. The problem is that people interpret things differently due to many different factors. Numerical values are a common way of collecting customer feedback. However, you may have different results if you use numerical values instead of words describing the customer experience. 

For example, culture plays a big role in what someone might consider being a number 4 on a 1 to 10 smiley face rating scale. Similarly, when describing something with words, what is ‘quite good’ for one person can be ‘great’ for someone else. Here’s where smiley faces come in. 


Why use Smiley faces?

The smiley face makes for an excellent tool to be used in a rating system. In most countries and cultures, people tend to interpret facial expressions in similar ways. A smiling face is almost universally seen as a sign of happiness and approval, whereas a sad or angry face expresses disapproval. 

As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This is definitely true in the case of smiley faces as well. The smiley face rating system compresses much information into just a few simple icons and perhaps a sentence-long question. It is much easier and faster to click an easily recognizable face than decide between multiple numeric values or words. By boiling down the answer options to a simple icon, the person answering a smiley face survey question is not confused about the different answer options.

The use of colors in Smiley face surveys

While the smiley face rating system with black and white smileys alone would be enough to help people express their opinions, using color can help a lot. When adding colors into the mix to further enhance the smiley face rating system, we should consider the colors used and their effect.  

Although different colors have different associations across cultures and nations, most if not all, are familiar with traffic lights. Ask anyone what the colors green, yellow, and red stand for in traffic lights, and they’re sure to know the answer. The weight of the colors and how dark the color can also be used. This is why smiley faces and the familiar traffic lights make a great combination for a rating system.  

When you use colors in a rating system, such as the colors in traffic lights, answering the questions becomes easier. You can enhance comprehension by choosing the right colors for a rating system. When the colors intuitively make sense, the person answering a question does not need to think too hard about what the different options mean. The colors alone are enough to understand the meaning of different options. 

Where can smiley faces be used?

Smiley faces are a great way to gather information about customers’ level of satisfaction and improve the experience to get them coming back. Getting the right type of feedback on customer experience can also help employees improve. 

The smiley face rating system can gather information about the user experience in different contexts. 


A positive user experience is crucial for retail companies. Happy customers will come back and are ready to pay more for a good experience at a retail location. On the other hand, this is true for other retail stores as well: customers unsatisfied with their experience can choose your competitor instead. Retail services can use the smiley rating in their physical locations and online. 


The importance of trust between a patient and their healthcare provider cannot be understated. No matter the kind of healthcare provider, knowing what clients think and feel about the service and quality of care they get has excellent value. 


Good service and customer experience equal loyal and happy customers. Customer feedback is at the heart of improving services. Whether it’s a restaurant serving food, a cleaning service, a hairdresser, or any other service, keeping customers happy keeps them coming back. By rating a service, customers can provide valuable information that can then be used to improve the service. 

Simplify rating scales with the Smiley face rating scale

How does HappyOrNot help you and your business to measure and improve customer satisfaction? Collecting reliable feedback is hard, so it can be tempting to continue doing things the usual way or just guess what the customers think. However, HappyOrNot helps customers rate their service in a fast, easy, and, most importantly, fun way. 

With the help of HappyOrNot and our smiley face rating system, the feedback you get from customers is reliable and trustworthy. Because HappyOrNot allows customers to give feedback anonymously, you can be sure that your customers are being honest. In addition, your customers can share their feelings as they experience them, not days or weeks later.  

HappyOrNot covers all touchpoints, both online and offline. The ratings help you see improvement in customer satisfaction over time. You can also see how you stand compared to your competitors. 

Get started today


Transform your business and engage customers with real-time customer insights and instant feedback.

Frequently Asked Questions