Despite all that is done to ensure the voting experience is as simple as possible, there will inevitably be the occasional request for assistance from a voter. When a voter contacts you it is most preferable to them to receive resolution to their question right then and there without you having to in turn contact Skypunch. What follows are examples of how I might personally handle a phone call for voter support so that you at least know where to begin.
Voter: Hello, I have an email instructing me to vote, but it does not take me to a ballot.
Me: I’ll be happy to help. Who sent you the email? (I would ask this because if it came from Skypunch I can be certain the recipient is an eligible voter and the email contains a valid link to the ballot. If the email originated from the client, the client may have gotten the URL wrong and the problem can be resolved by correcting the address. If the email came from a fellow voter, there could be any number of issues. There may be no link to the ballot. There may be a bad link to the ballot. There may be a good link to the ballot, but the recipient isn’t eligible to vote in this particular election. The proper response depends on the issue.)
Voter: It came from Skypunch.
Me: What is the address it takes you to? (This is just to verify that it came from Skypunch as the voter may in fact only think that it did and be mistaken.)
Voter: It came from ____________________ (name of organization conducting the election).
Me: And did it contain a link to the ballot? (I would ask this because if it contains a link, I want to verify that the link is correct.)
Me: And can you read to me what that link is please?
Voter: The address is ____________________. (No email from Skypunch will ever contain the wrong address, but when a client sends their own email it is obviously important to get it right. If the voter is going to the wrong address, provide the correct address and the matter is resolved.)
Me: OK, let me check that you are in the voter roster. (When a client sends their own emails, it is possible that a voter was sent an email to vote but it not included in the voter roster that was loaded into the system prior to the start of an election. It is necessary to confirm the voter is included in the roster.)
Voter: The email was sent to me by one of my colleagues who apparently just voted in this election.
Me: (Follow the same course of action as for Response Two above from this point on.)
A contrived script like this obviously can not be followed word-for-word in every situation. Its intent is simply to demonstrate that what you want to get at is:
- What is the address where you are attempting to log in?
- Are you in fact eligible to vote in this election?
The root cause of any issue will be revealed during the process of drilling into the two questions above. I have enough years in IT to know when a user reports a problem, what they say they are doing and what they are actually doing are usually two different things and the only way to diagnose the real problem is to stand over their shoulder and monitor their actions. Obviously that is not possible over the phone, so try to ask questions that put you virtually over the shoulder of the voter so you can envision what’s really happening at their end rather than what’s being described.
The best service of course is one so user-friendly that no support is needed. Happily the number of support calls from voters using Skypunch is minimal, but in a system that encourages voters to encourage other voters to also vote, it’s inevitable that a few isolated cases of someone getting confused will arise. It’s a small price to pay for the benefit of peer-to-peer voter encouragement and hopefully the example scenario above will help bring quick and satisfactory resolution to any incidents that do arise.