Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Hold Music Can Make Your Customers Crazy

Forchoosing the right hold music many companies the music (and message) callers hear while waiting on hold, may be their first impression of your company.  These impressions can be lasting and influence the way your company is perceived by your customers or potential customers. Whether you’re a mom and pop or Fortune 500, you want your customers to perceive you as a professional in your industry.  Here is some insight into choosing your hold music wisely: 

You have chosen poorly...An article by, who commissioned a poll of 1,000 people in England to shed some light on stress inducing music played on hold, revealed some interesting and surprising findings about irritating hold music. The study establishes that there are some songs that can really irritate a large portion of a population. For example, 23% of the poll found the song Greensleeves, an English folk song, enraging. Although, there are no magic bullets when it comes to choosing music, it may be a good idea to select music that creates the correct impression for your target market. 

 Making an audio selection...  How do I choose something that my customers will like? A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself two questions.

  • Who are my target customers? What type of mood would be an appropriate match for my company and my customers, for my products and services?

 The experience of the Production Department at Holdcom has categorized our most popular themes by industry, so our customers can see what others in the industry are doing about choosing their on hold music.  Click here for the most popular titles.  In general, if you are unsure as to what to choose we have uncovered a few safe defaults.

  • Upbeat Contemporary Rock 

  • Smooth Jazz

  • Classical

Some of our clients make a more specific music selection for a particular purpose, such as having a more creative or dramatic effect.  For example, the Friends of Senator Libous Committee uses political themed music that work great for their organization.  However, these music themes would not work for a hospital. More often than not the companies that choose a more edgy and dramatic music selection, eventually change their music to one of the default music choices previously stated above because music didn’t relate to their consumer base. The company representative was thinking more about their individual taste, than about the general taste of their caller profile.  This is not to say that creative and dramatic music can not work, because sometimes for the right company and the right caller profile, it can. The underlying principle here is to understand who your audience is and choose music that can connect to your customers and your business.

So how do you choose music that relates to your customer?  Even with these popular defaults, it is important to pay attention to the mood you are trying to create. For example, an up-tempo rock song is probably not the best choice for the Oncology Department of a hospital.  In this case, taking into account the mood of the callers, more soothing and relaxing music might be more appropriate.  If your company is selling sports apparel, an up-tempo contemporary rock song would project more energy and relate better to people that participate in athletic activities. So, when choosing the music for your on hold program don’t forget to ask yourself, who are my target customers and what type of mood would be an appropriate match for my company and my customers, products and services?  

Interested in learning more about on hold audio topics? Check out our blog or our newsletters. Also, check out some examples, of our music samples and professional voice talents.

Tags: resources, customer experience, music