Hi Alan, very nice article! Happy to read these words.
I agree with you: measuring customer satisfaction is biased with good ol’ survey platforms & practices. Numbers are subject to interpretation and can’t represent linear value, so using other things is a good solution. As you mention, there are workarounds: pictures selection, smileys, faces or maybe gauges / graphics sliders (i.e. in Qualtrics). But we still need to do statistics, thus we still need to relie on numbers!
We might find another solution in data transformations, such as centering, scaling or even normalizing the data.