Music on Hold

Every decent PBX system offers some sort of music on hold option. Some people prefer jazz, some people prefer classical, others prefer some other type of music. The question is, which type should your company get? That depends on your customers’ preferences and here’s a way to find out.

  • Survey them. Take a survey of a percentage of your customers (selected randomly) and ask them what type of music they would prefer. Do they want jazz, classical, etc.? Make it an interactive survey (i. e. include samples they can listen to) and give them a small reward for giving their opinions (i. e. a $5 credit or something). Customers will appreciate that you asked them their opinion and even paid them for them it.
  • Ask them on your forums. If you have customer forums, make a topic and ask your customers what they would prefer. Keep in mind that customers who visit customer forums are usually more involved than the average one (and thus may have different preferences as far as music goes).
  • Ask them on your web site. Another way is to post a small poll on your web site (front page or support page) that says something like “We’re thinking of changing our hold music. What would you prefer?” and list the choices.
  • Ask them directly. If you have a business where you physically see your customers, ask some of the ones who come in. As they’re checking out, ask “May I ask you a quick question?” and that’s it. You can also email some clients you deal with regularly.

That’s a few ways to ask for your customers’ opinion. The most important thing, though, is to listen to what your customers say. If your customers say they like heavy metal, use it. If they say they like Beethoven’s 5th symphony a lot, use it. Be sure that you have the legal rights to use whatever music you pick.

Here’s some other things on the subject of hold music.

  • Let them turn it off. Give customers a choice to hold without music if they want. Not all PBX systems offer this, but better ones do.
  • Make it loud enough to hear. A company I deal has hold music that I can barely hear. It’s really annoying – make sure your customers can hear your hold music.
  • Volume needs to stay constant. Even if you have songs where the volume varies a lot, make sure that the volume level remains constant. If you can’t get it to remain constant, don’t use that piece of music.
  • Don’t pitch them. I’ve said it here – don’t give customers a sales pitch while they’re on hold.

That should cover it. As always, think about what you’d want if you were the customer. Remember when you thought “Wow, this hold music wasn’t annoying.” when calling a company and try and try to copy the way they did.

Happy Holding. Tomorrow’s subject: I don’t know just yet. Feel free to comment with suggestions.

3 Responses to “Music on Hold”

  1. CustomersAreAlways said:

    May 09, 06 at 9:56 am

    “Your Call Is Important To Us…”…

    There’s an interesting post at Service Untitled that digests the topic of Music on Hold.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I never really gave much thought to the music that businesses play as you’re waiting to get help…….

  2. Service Untitled » GetHuman Standards said:

    Aug 11, 06 at 3:39 pm

    […] Letting the caller disable music is a good one. Letting them pick music is great. See this post about on hold music. […]

  3. Service Untitled » Your estimated hold time is… - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Mar 26, 07 at 10:38 am

    […] They didn’t give me an estimated hold time, but they did give an option to hold with or without music. I chose with and the music certainly wasn’t soft jazz. It was more like pop or rock music – which is fine, but it’s tough to tell if all customers will like it. Read this post I wrote a while back about hold music and the expected etiquette that you should consider while making customers wait on hold. […]