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Customer Service in Elections: What Does it Mean?

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[Image courtesy of SimpleComplexity]

Ken Miller of Governing Magazine's "Public Great" blog had a fascinating post recently entitled What do we mean by 'customer service', anyway?

I can't really do the post justice (the concept of of some government customers as "hostages" is intriguing) so you should click and read it in its entirety.

The post did make me think about what customer service means in the context of elections. Traditionally, success in elections has meant maximizing turnout; but as we have seen time and again, turnout typically has very little to do with election laws or procedures.

Even when turnout is relatively steady, there can be other customer-focused benefits to certain election practices such as increased accuracy, convenience to the voter and lower costs - all three of which featured prominently in the recent post about vote-by-mail in King County, WA.

I'd love to get a discussion started - in the comment section below, on Twitter, and/or on Facebook:

  1. What does customer service - good and bad - look like in the world of election administration?
  2. Where might we look for evidence of it?
  3. Are voters always the customers, or might there be others? and
  4. Any other question you feel like asking and answering.

In this day and age - when declining budgets yield painful cuts - we hear more and more about the need to continue delivering value to citizens.

So what say you, election geeks - what does customer service mean to you?

3 Comments


  • Here is another question relating to this topic. What customer and retail strategies can we take away from Black Friday and apply in the polling place. Could the same strategies apply for managing both customers and voters?

  • Customer service in elections should be like any type of customer service. The key to great customer service is to provide the audience with whatever they want, to cater to their needs to the best of your abilities, and this is for any type of customer service out there. We know that excellent customer service is important in any aspect of society, and elections are no exception.

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