The Art of Choosing the On-Hold Music in Your Contact Centre


Music and customer experience are closely related. Rhythms have an influence on human beings’ emotions, and this makes them feel in a positive or negative way some interaction with your brand.  In fact, according to a study by the University of Groningen in 2011, music can generate a deep emotional connection with consumers.

Researchers found that music can evoke specific emotions and trigger associated memories, which creates an emotional connection with the brand or product. This emotional connection has a positive impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

This being the case, the on-hold music you use in your contact centre becomes relevant. This on-hold music can help reduce customers’ anxiety while waiting in line and improve their perception of the waiting time. A pleasant and relaxing melody can make the waiting time more bearable and generate a sense of calm.

You should also choose a suitable one, otherwise it can have a counterproductive effect, as ironically a bad beat can quickly annoy the customer.

Choosing On-Hold Music for the Contact Centre

Have you ever thought about why your favourite song is your favourite song?

Maybe because it represents your essence or personality. You feel identified and it’s normal. The same happens with brands.

A company also has personality and values, those are the same ones that differentiate it from its competition and even make its buyers feel attracted to it. Therefore, it is important to reflect them in every communication channel you have with your audience, and the contact centre is no exception.

Of course, the idea is not to choose your favourite song or the trending topic of the moment but to find the right music for your business. It should show that you know your audience and that you want to avoid their waiting time to be a punishment.

Steps You Should Follow to Find the Right Hold Music

1. Know Your Audience and Select a Genre

Before hitting the play button, it’s crucial to know your target audience.

Who are your customers?

What are their musical tastes?

According to market research, soft, soothing tunes are generally well received, but don’t be afraid to add a touch of personality if it matches your brand. If you’re catering to a young, hip audience, how about a contemporary pop song or a hit of the moment?

Know your audience and choose songs that make them feel like you’ve tuned into their preferences. If your customer base is diverse, choose a genre of music that is widely accepted and enjoyable for most people, such as instrumental music or soft melodies.

Tip: don’t use the music that comes by default on phone systems, as its frequency around the world has completely robbed it of its originality.

2. Avoid Songs With Offensive Lyrics and Content

Make sure the music you choose does not contain explicit lyrics or inappropriate content. Songs with lyrics can be distracting or annoying to some clients, especially if they are in a professional environment. Opt for soothing, harmonious tunes that create a calm atmosphere.

3. Maintain Adequate Volume and Sound Quality

The volume level of on-hold music should be low enough so as not to be distracting or interfere with the agent’s voice when the customer is being served. Make sure the music is heard clearly, but without overwhelming the conversation when establishing communication with the agent.

Simple music without a lot of instruments is a better choice. An orchestral one, for example, could sound distorted when the volume is too loud. Absolute cacophony could be a harbinger of an unfriendly conversation.

4. Customise Music on Hold

One interesting option is to use on-hold music customised for your company. Consider composing a unique tune or using sounds related to your brand to make customers feel more connected to your company while they wait. This can also help reinforce the brand image of your business.

Also, customise the music according to each situation. Slow, soothing music might help calm an upset customer, while a more upbeat one might generate enthusiasm in one eager to buy.

5. Keep the Music on Hold Up to Date

It is important to periodically review and update the music on hold. Listen to customer feedback and conduct surveys to get their opinion. Music tastes change over time, and keeping an updated selection will show that you care about providing an enjoyable and up-to-date experience for your customers.

But make no mistake, it shouldn’t be the latest Beyoncé song either, especially if it’s for a law firm. Not only is it likely to surprise callers (and understandably so), but it may also be perceived as too personal a choice. Remember that the purpose of your wait is not to show that you are a “trendy” firm, but rather to highlight and emphasise your brand identity.

Here Are Some Examples of Music for Your Contact Centre

Genres That Could Fit in Different Situations

  • Rock music for events, sports, or high-energy brands.
  • Ambient music for spas, yoga studios or natural health centres.
  • Classical piano music for upscale restaurants, luxury car dealerships, consulting firms or financial services.
  • Contemporary music for retail stores, hotels, and telecommunications companies.
  • Country music for steakhouses or companies in a specific region.
  • Easy listening for healthcare facilities.

Examples of Songs That Might Fit Different Situations

  • If your contact centre provides financial services, songs like Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” or Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” can convey confidence and success.
  • If your audience is young and hip, you might consider songs like “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake or “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. These songs convey energy and joy.
  • For a more relaxed approach, instrumental music is an excellent choice. Songs like Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” or Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No.1” create a serene and sophisticated atmosphere.

Remember that these examples are just ideas to inspire you. The essential thing is to adapt the waiting music to your audience and brand – be creative and make the music become the rhythm that sets the rhythm of your customers’ experience! And don’t forget… More important than choosing good on-hold music is to reduce wait times as much as possible.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Enghouse Interactive – View the Original Article

For more information about Enghouse Interactive - visit the Enghouse Interactive Website

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: Enghouse Interactive

Published On: 22nd Jun 2023 - Last modified: 28th Jun 2023
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