Example of a decision matrix

Decision matrices can be used in various situations, such as determining the best way to handle a customer service issue. For example, let’s use a decision matrix to determine the best location for a new restaurant.

In this example, a restaurant owner is considering four locations. She listed the factors she finds important and assigned a weight to each one based on its importance.

Rent is a factor, but she’s decided that market share, which determines how likely she is to get customers, is the most important issue. She values a location close to her home so she can get there quickly to deal with any issues, and she wants to be in an area where she can find reliable workers; however, these factors are not as important, so they receive lower weighted scores. She did not consider the floorplan because her restaurant equipment would fit in all locations and she intends to remodel anyway.

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When our restaurateur ran the numbers, locations 3 and 4 emerged as the front-runners. However, looking at the individual numbers helped solidify her decision. Location 3, while the most expensive, offers the greatest opportunity to find qualified employees and attract customers. Thus, not only is it the best by overall score, but the individual factors she values helped her justify the increased rent.

Keep in mind that a decision matrix is not the only decision-making tool available. For example, sometimes, a simple pros-and-cons list works. However, a decision matrix can shed light on the best choice for a decision in which there are multiple options and diverse features to consider.

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