Background Music On Hold and In Person

Silence Isn’t Always Golden

Frustrated Man with phone in the air listening to background music

Background Music

I used to be in radio. I wasn’t a DJ though. I helped produce a show that gave parents help in raising their children. Though I would pick out the bumper music (the music that plays in or out at the end of a clip)  the truth is, my current work has a lot more of a direct connection to music than the work I used to do. RCI provides overhead speaker systems, does some AV work and provides music on hold for our telephone systems.

If you’ve done any shopping in Roanoke, you’ve almost certainly heard music over speakers we’ve installed. But chances are, you don’t remember the experience and probably didn’t even notice it at the time unless the music was interrupted by an announcement. The same is doubly true for waiting on hold. If you’ve ever heard music or announcements while waiting on hold with a Roanoke business, there’s a decent chance we had a hand in that too. Remember that great song you heard? Did you sing along? Do we wish you had more of a memory of the experience? No. In fact that’s the point.

Can I Get Some Boring Music?

NPR music published a great article by  Sophie Haigney entitled “The Many Requirements of Hold Music – A Genre for No One.”

The title sets you up for the amusing tone of the article. Hold music, the article posits, is made to be ignored. The main purpose of it is to let you know that you’re still connected. Basically, hold music is saying, “Don’t hang up. We’re still here. “ So you may think you don’t like hold music, but if you’ve ever been on hold for a significant period of time without it, you know the uneasy feeling that comes with it. “Am I just wasting my time here…did they hang up?”

Hold music decreases unease and in that way keeps customers happier. Even more useful is adding On-hold announcements which tell customers about the business or even state when the call can be expected to be answered. You don’t want the announcement to be so frequent they’re obtrusive but you also don’t want them to be so spaced out that the listener gets bored.

Similarly, store background music serves a similar function.

How about in person?

Store background music makes customers more comfortable. Silence increases self-consciousness which causes stress, which causes customers to leave without browsing. That decreases profits. Music of course, does the opposite. Filling the silence with something pleasant but not obvious puts customers at ease and increases their comfort and therefore time spent browsing.

Sound familiar?

Yes, the function of store music is similar to the function of hold music.

In addition, the audio we provide for retail and manufacturing establishments allows customers to make area wide announcements. This saves employees time trying to track down a person for help at the front. Because we have so much experience with telephone systems, we’re an excellent choice for installing the overhead paging system that interfaces with your telephone system.

Have you been to a big box hardware store lately when someone was called to a specific department? There’s a greater than fifty percent chance RCI worked on those overhead speakers.

Is this the most thought you’ve ever put into on hold or retail background music? If so, once again, that’s good.


Posted in AV, Features, Music On Hold, Telephones and tagged , .

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  1. Pingback: Can You Name 1 Time You Loved Being On Hold? - Research Communications International

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