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How important is music to the on-hold customer experience?

2 Minute Read

Lady Listening to Headphones smallThe short answer to the question is it’s incredibly important. Plato said music "gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything." And he couldn’t have been more prescient in this opinion as recent research by the University of Utah has found ‘objective evidence from brain imaging’ that shows meaningful music can be used as an alternative route for communicating with patients who have Alzheimer's disease.

This discovery sits alongside established psychological evidence that shows music reaches across the generational spectrum from helping new born babies develop healthy bonds with their parents, to offering vital, sensitive and compassionate palliative care at the end of life.

Any organisation looking for a relatively quick win in terms of enhancing customer experience, would do well to start by rethinking their hold music especially if they’re still playing that tinkly version of Greensleeves or the ‘classical favourites’ such as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons or Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The issue here is that the public telephone network has limited capacity so audio quality is around 24 times worse than listening to the same track on a CD, so it’s not just a case of playing popular PRS music after the IVR welcome and numbered options.

Having said that, there are some simple ways to improve the journey that your customer takes when contacting your business….

  • It’s in the mix – organisations who have music and messaging as part of their IVR often continue to make the mistake of stopping the music to play a comfort message. The problem here is that if your customer is multi-tasking whilst making the call [which is often the case] they will assume that the call has been answered only to discover they’re listening to a recorded message. This is guaranteed to increase blood pressure levels and detract from what could a well-meaning message. The solution is to mix your hold music with your voice message but it’s important to get the levels of the music and voice correct. A professional studio will know how to get the balance right.
  • Repetition is the root of all evil – remember if you have lengthy call waiting times the customer is likely to be listening to the same piece of music for more than 5 minutes so even if the piece of music you have chosen is on brand, easy to listen to and telephone friendly, five minutes later it could be incredibly irritating. The simple answer to this is to choose more than one similar track and with good, professional mixing, the journey to speak to an adviser should be far more pleasant.
  • Choice – everyone likes choice and some organisations have found that you can easily give customers the option to listen to up to the minute music, golden oldies or, indeed, no music at all. This will be dependent on your telephony platform but for most modern systems it is easy enough to give your callers this option.

The easiest way to check your caller experience is to perform a ‘line audit’ which is essentially phoning your organisation as if you are a customer. This is something organisations very rarely do but you may discover that your current IVR consists of very repetitive messaging about how important your call is to you interspersed with poor quality hold music. Once you’ve listened to more than five minutes of this, it’s likely that you will understand the importance of improving your business audio experience.

Here at Premier CX, we'd like to offer you a free line audit, so you can hear for yourself what your customer's hear when they contact you. Simply click the link and complete the form to start the process of improving your customers' caller experience.

Free telephony line audit

Liz Ross

Developing CX Talent - my year as an intern at Premier CX
Telephone Audio Messaging... from script to finished audio production