When you watch an episode of The Office, you’re not typically settling in for a lesson on customer service. In fact, The Office could often be used as a primer on how not to treat your clients. While Dunder Mifflin holds a place in many of our hearts, the company is hardly a model for excellence. This week, we’re reflecting on all the wacky antics of Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) and his colleagues – and how they could have benefitted from an answering service. While you might not walk away from the show with many business tips, there’s certainly value in looking at the show through a new lens!
Pam Beasly, played by Jenna Fischer, and John Krasinski’s character, Jim, find some time in between pranks on Dwight, (played by Rainn Wilson), to get married. All of the employees from the Scranton, PA branch join them at Niagara Falls to dance down the aisle and create one of the show’s most memorable episodes. But with nobody left in the office, who is answering the phone?
Michael was too wrapped up in his plans to become over-involved in the ceremony to consider all the missed phone calls that would get sent to voicemail over the course of the few days nobody was around. An ideal solution would have been to use a phone answering service to ensure all those calls were handled promptly and professionally. It wasn’t a total loss though. Michael did capitalize on one opportunity: Pam’s mother.
Team meetings in the Dunder Mifflin conference room always devolve in wacky ways. From CPR training to holiday parties, the staff is constantly pulled away from their desks to get wrapped up in new antics. While it makes for great television, it begs the question: who is covering the phone while the team goofs off? Productivity clearly isn’t a priority for this staff.
If the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company had a partnership with a phone answering service, these lengthy meetings might not impact business much. We occasionally see Pam or Erin, played by Ellie Kemper, pulled away to answer the phone during a meeting. With an answering service on the job, the administrative staff could fully commit to all the “team-building” activities, finding out what’s on the menu in prison, or learning CPR. Given how much time the employees seem to spend in the conference room, there’s no telling how many important sales opportunities they missed out on!
In season six, we see Dunder Mifflin bought out by a new company, Sabre. The new founder comes to Scranton to spend some time with the staff and establish new policies. Michael is eager to impress his new boss and asks his team to stay late. They burn the midnight oil, until Michael realizes how unfair it is to ask his employees to work so many long hours. While not always the most sensitive employer, Michael sends everyone home for much-needed rest and relaxation.
While we applaud Michael’s commitment to a healthy work/life balance, the episode begs the question: who is answering Dunder Mifflin’s phones after hours? Once the staff goes home for the day, the company could seriously benefit from an after hours answering service to take their place. Even if the majority of their business occurs during the daytime, Dunder Mifflin and Sabre could stand to improve their customer service offerings.
Product recalls can be dangerous. In the world of The Office, though, a product recall is simply embarrassing. In season three, Dunder Mifflin deals with the fallout of an offensive watermark that accidentally made its way into several reams of paper. The customer backlash is serious, and the entire team comes together to answer angry customer phone calls.
The Office watermark episode is emblematic of a lot of Dunder Mifflin’s customer service issues. Rather than leave the support up to dedicated experts, the accountants tasked with the job fumble their response. A phone answering service might have helped mitigate some of the backlash and put the product recall to bed more quickly.
We were going to say that Toby in HR (played by Paul Lieberstein) could have benefited from our hotline tools. And indeed, tools like an ethics hotline or employee call out solution would have helped him immensely. However, it’s Toby, and he’s just the worst.
Instead, how about the time The Office ran to “cure” rabies? The business phones went unattended as employees all joined Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure. It’s not like this was a quick 30 minute event either. The phones went unanswered for quite some time as it took most participants a good portion of the day to participate. Well, all except for one. Toby actually won the race. Toby!!!
These examples are hardly the only cases in which Dunder Mifflin might have benefitted from an answering service. While it’s important to remember the show’s comedic intentions, there’s no denying that Michael Scott and his team have serious room for improvement. If you see your own organization reflected in these examples, it might be time for you to harness the power of a phone answering service for your office! Contact us today and let us know how we can assist you. Tell us your favorite episode of The Office and we’ll give you a week of free service!
Publish Date: July 30, 2020
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