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The Importance of an “Other” Option in Selection Fields

Selection fields are a common feature in forms and surveys, providing respondents with predefined choices to select from. However, one crucial element often overlooked is the inclusion of an “Other” option. In this blog post, I’ll explore why having an “Other” option is essential, going beyond the idea of avoiding bad data. I’ll uncover how this simple addition enables MSPs to identify areas for improvement and mentor individuals towards producing accurate and reliable data.

  1. Avoiding Random or Inaccurate Entries: When faced with a selection field lacking an “Other” option, individuals often resort to selecting random or inappropriate choices. This can lead to misleading and irrelevant data being stored in databases and reports. By including an “Other” option, you provide a clear signal that the predefined choices may not fit every scenario, discouraging the selection of arbitrary values.
  2. Promoting Honest Responses: The presence of an “Other” option encourages respondents to provide honest and accurate information. When individuals don’t find a suitable entry among the predefined choices, they are more likely to select the “Other” option. This transparency fosters an environment where people feel comfortable expressing their unique perspectives or circumstances.
  3. Identifying Opportunities for Mentorship: One overlooked benefit of having an “Other” option is the ability to identify when it is selected. Especially in the context of employee feedback or data collection, this presents an opportunity for mentorship. By recognizing instances where individuals choose the “Other” option, organizations can proactively engage with them, providing guidance on the importance of good data in/good data out. This mentorship helps improve overall data quality and cultivates a culture of conscientious data entry.
  4. Maintaining Data Integrity: Ensuring data accuracy and relevance is paramount for any organization. By allowing respondents to select the “Other” option, you eliminate the risk of misinterpreted or misrepresented data. Furthermore, it allows for proper filtering and exclusion of the “Other” category during data analysis, ensuring the integrity of the resulting insights.

Including an “Other” option in selection fields goes beyond avoiding bad data; it empowers organizations to mentor individuals and improve data quality. By discouraging random or irrelevant entries, promoting honest responses, and identifying opportunities for mentorship, the “Other” option becomes an invaluable tool. Organizations that embrace this practice foster a data-driven culture and produce reliable insights for informed decision-making. Remember, when it comes to selection fields, don’t underestimate the power of “Other.”


In this webinar, Dustin Puryear, Autotask expert and MSP industry veteran, will show you how to set up Kanban boards in Autotask, integrate them with your workflow rules, and how to get the most out of them.

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