Small Business Marketing

Music on Hold

You've just invested in a nice new phone system for your business, and now comes the key question: what music will they hear when you put them on hold? Surprisingly, many studies suggest that this is an important business decision that can help or hurt yo

Let's be honest: You probably haven't put much thought into your music on hold recording, have you?

Music on Hold

But just because it doesn't cross your mind very often, don't fool yourself into thinking that it doesn't cross your customers' minds - especially if they get stuck on hold for any length of time.

With a little initiative, you can transform your music on hold into an experience that is as profitable to your bottom line as it is pleasing to your customers' ears.

Like so many things in life, with music on hold you can do just enough to get by or you can go all the way. Ultimately, you need to weigh your choices and pick the option that is best for your company.

Option 1: The Bare Minimum

The most basic music on hold system you can implement is one that taps into a local radio station. The upside of radio-based MOH is cost. One you've purchased the hardware, the music is free. However, there are several big downsides to this option that you need to be aware of. First, it is probably illegal since the music aired by local stations is not licensed for MOH use. Secondly, with radio-based MOH you have no control over the content. The musical selection is out of your hands and customers will be subjected to commercials between songs - possibly even a commercial from one of your competitors.

Option 2: A Slightly Better Choice

Commercial CDs are a step up from radio-based MOH because they provide you with complete control of the musical selection and eliminate advertising interruptions unrelated to your business. The problem is that there may still be licensing issues and you gain no promotional benefits for your company and its products. To remedy these issues, you'll need to take it up a notch and use content that is specifically designed for use as MOH.

Option 3: An Even Better Alternative

The simplest and most cost-effective source of content designed for MOH use are stock MOH CDs, which can be purchased with or without generic voiceovers. The non-voiceover versions provide licensed and uninterrupted music in a variety of musical genres. The voiceover versions provide the same music, but also include intermittent messages like, "Your call is important. Please continue to hold". Not bad, but to make the most of your MOH content there is still one option you need to consider.

Option 4: The Cadillac Version

Custom-designed MOH sits at the top of the heap because it gives you the ability to control content, comply with licensing regulations, and include messages that are customized for your company. Over the course of a few minutes, customers can listen to music and hear messages about your company's reputation, your range of products, and even special promotions. Although you will spend a little more for customization, it's well worth the extra cost if it communicates information that can be used to pre-sell or up-sell your customers.

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  • Julie Cook posted on 7/4/2007
    Julie Cook
    Helpful article for smart entrepreneurs trying to make the best decisions. Couldn't have written it better myself.

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