Why does your business need the right Music on Hold system?

Why does your business need the right Music on Hold system?


No-one likes hanging around waiting for the phone to be answered. If there are not enough people to answer phones immediately, some queuing is inevitable.
The challenge is to ensure the wait is as bearable as possible.
And silence is not an option!


The silent killer

The worst possible way to handle phone queues is do nothing at all:

90% of callers will hang up if confronted with silence!
35% of callers that do hang up, will not call you back!

This is not surprising: aside from the fact that listening to absolutely nothing is quite intolerable, a silent line can lead people to assume that their call has dropped or has become lost in the ether. We need reassurance that our call is still alive. So, let’s get you some sound!


Scrambled brains

The sound of silence is most certainly not our old friend. And nor is a never-ending loop of dismal tinny ‘music’.

The sheer awfulness is described in its full horror on the How Stuff Works website, where Dave Roos expresses his pain: “If Dante were alive today, the tortured souls in the ninth circle of hell would suffer an eternity of being on hold listening to a brain-scrambling tune interrupted every 20 seconds by a robotic she-devil intoning, ‘Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line and a customer service representative will be with you shortly. No!!!!!

We’ve all been there!

But waiting on the phone doesn’t have to be so torturous…. and your customers deserve better!


Holding the caller’s attention

Music on Hold system was discovered by accident in 1962: a loose wire from a US factory’s phone system touched a steel girder and, somehow, customers waiting for their call to be answered began picking up broadcasts from the neighbouring radio station. The factory owner, Alfred Levy, noticed that callers were now less likely to hang up. So, music on hold was born.

And…why does it work if customers find it so annoying?

Better music may not mean happy listeners but One history of hold music refers to a 1999 study by a team of music psychologists who set up three hold settings: music by the Beatles, pan-pipe covers of the same music, or a simple, repeating message. The music that got the longest hold times was not the Beatles but the pan-pipe covers!

Aside from lovers of Peruvian music and Andes culture, not many would pick a pan-pipe cover over the original version of ‘Yesterday’ performed by John, Paul, Georg and Ringo. So why on earth would people stay on the phone longer for the instrumental?

One theory is that the more aware you are of the music, the more you will notice how long you have been waiting. The author of the history piece, Tom Vanderbilt, has a theory that, “The less you pay attention to time, the faster it seems to go. The longer one feels one has waited, the lower one’s satisfaction with the experience.

So music that drifts into the background of your consciousness works better than a Beatle’s classic.


Tips for a great telephone holding strategy

Since Levy’s fortunate discovery, a lot of thought has got into the psychology of waiting on hold. There was even an association set up for hold music enthusiasts, called OHMA – On Hold Messaging Association. The group is still going under the new title of the Experience Marketing Association (EMA), describing themselves as “Sound, Sight, Scent Specialists”.

So what is the best advice for setting up Music on Hold system?
Here are a few tips to help you:

Keep it mellow
People waiting on phone lines can be stressed or disgruntled, so the music should be calming. It is very difficult to choose popular tracks which will appeal to all age groups. It is best to keep it simple and keep it soothing.

Avoid the loop
If you have been waiting on the line for fifteen minutes and the music starts to repeat, it is an unwelcome reminder of how much time you are wasting. Ensure your recording is long enough to avoid looping back to the start.

Break it up
Add in some recorded voice messages that keep the caller informed about your services. We can help you with the script and you can choose the voice and accent that best matches your brand and services.

Keep the caller updated
When stuck in a phone queue, you want to know you are getting closer to speaking to a human. People don’t want to hear, over and over again, that their call is valuable. They don’t believe you! Instead supply updates on estimated wait time or how many people there are in the queue before them. If people can hear the queue is reducing they feel less stressed.

Never underestimate how important your on Music on Hold system is
For many people it is their first experience of your customer service. Make the right first impression. Others are calling because they have a complaint or query, so they may not be in the best of moods anyway. A poor hold service will only heighten frustrations.

Speak to us
We have vast experience in setting up music and messages on hold. We can help you set up a service which keeps customers calm and informed. Don’t leave your customer relationships to chance. Find all information you need here or call us today at 02037404923.