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A complete guide to choosing the right music on hold phone

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A complete guide to choosing the right music on hold phone


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According to a recent study by LSA for Sacem and Mood Media, 70% of consumers find that music improves a brand's image. The idea isn't just to choose any music that you personally like, but rather to choose music on hold for your phone system that reflects the image you want to convey. Though this may seem like a daunting task, Ringover makes the process a breeze by supplying myriad music options.

Choose Your Own Hold Music!

Throughout this article, we'll give you all of our tips for choosing the right music on hold for your phone system and making it an essential part of your brand identity. You'll then be able to choose from the selection Ringover provides so callers have a quality experience when calling into your business. 

Music on hold: a fundamental part of the call queue

Consumers are getting more and more impatient: 50% don't want to more than a minute on the phone before getting an answer. In reality, they wait an average of three minutes! Studies have also shown that the perceived time waiting on the phone is on average 2.5 times longer than the actual time spent. The objective is therefore to minimise this perception for your clients and leads and to make their expectations a real asset for your brand - and what better way to do this than with music on hold?

Music girl

In addition to giving callers an initial impression, music on hold aims to reduce their perception of wait time while making it more bearable. It's also an opportunity to immerse callers in your brand's world while complementing any informative messages that play at the same time.Remember that sound quality is as important as content. The music chosen should be pleasant to listen to, while your message should be clear and not overloaded with information (if you opt to have one).

Choosing the best music on hold for your phone system

“Before, music was used to mask sound. Now it is the subject of reflection; a brand ambassador."

For Thierry Bourasseau, Vice President of Music & Programming at MOOD International, music is an essential part of brand identity. Although the choice of music on hold may seem trivial, it's still important for your business image.

For your company's phone system, you can always opt for the same music on hold as everyone else. But you also have the opportunity to use music from classical repertoires to convey a more marked and personal style.

Hold on music

Obviously, you don't want to choose your favourite song or the trending track of the moment, but rather find music which corresponds to your business. This shows that you know your audience and want to provide them as painless a wait as possible. It's therefore important to account for your company's field, the products and/or services offered as well as caller type (public, professionals, suppliers, etc.) and profile (age, socio-professional category, etc.)Finally, remember that your company's sound identity must remain consistent with its visual identity. Likewise, all of your company's communication, whether addressed to customers, partners, suppliers, or employees, must be structured around the same principles and values.

Types of music to avoid

Elevator music

The term “elevator music” refers to generic ambient or background music, or what Americans historically call “muzak." Largely unnoticeable, it can be heard everywhere: in waiting rooms, shopping centres, hotels and even car parks. It tends to be repetitive and is perceived as old-fashioned, which doesn't make it very popular. And when used as music on hold, it just makes callers want to hang up!

An example of elevator music:
So instead opt for long and pleasant music selections without too much repetition so that you won't annoy your callers - once they hang up, they may never call you back!

"Hits" of the day

Playing Beyoncé's latest song on repeat isn't a good idea either, especially if you work in a law firm! Not only might it understandably surprise your callers, but you risk being perceived as unprofessional. The purpose of your music on hold isn't to show what a trendy company you are, but rather to showcase your identity.

It's much better to choose timeless and original music that reflects who you are as a company.

Low-quality recordings

You've probably called customer service once or twice and had to wait with a version of Vivaldi's “Four Seasons” that was recorded from a computer speaker. At first, it's bearable, but as soon as the tones go into the treble you have to pull the phone away from your ear!

playing guitar

This is why you should remember to check the quality of your music on hold, since most callers will have a better image of a company that lets them wait to music with high-quality sound. Hear the difference:

Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" (CD audio quality)
Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" (basic recording)

Different types of music on hold

For-purchase music

You can choose to pay for music to represent your business. This is music broadcast on the radio for which fees are collected by such organisations as Sacem or PRS for Music, which protect artists and defend their copyrights. Depending where you operate, other entities may be responsible for charging music users on behalf of producers, so be sure to verify compliance with local music distribution laws before using any as music on hold. Note that you may be exempt from paying certain rights but still subject to pay others if you use music for which the artist has been deceased for more than 70 years (Mozart, Vivaldi, etc.) This means you'll need to fill out the forms available on these organisations' websites so that they may issue you authorization allowing you to use the intended music.

Music mix

Such fees are typically flat, paid yearly, and determined on the basis of how many simultaneous incoming lines your phone system has (or number of callers likely to simultaneously hear your music on hold).

Royalty free music

In the event that you choose to use royalty free music, you don't have to pay any royalties to any organisation. You have different options: contact an audio professional or find royalty free music online.

An audio professional will be able to understand your needs and expectations and assist you in choosing your music. They'll be able to propose music that's both adapted your audience and your company's image while making you stand out.

Music studio

Several websites offer catalogues of royalty free music, such as Jamendo or Free Music Archive. You can find free and paid music through many of these, with the rights for use depending on licencing.Some cloud phone system solutions provide royalty free music libraries for your music on hold. Ringover's online studio gives you the possibility of creating your own enjoyable music on hold as well as a choosing from a selection of royalty free music suitable for any type of professional activity. You can record messages to play along with the music that corresponds to your corporate identity, and even choose the language for your recorded messages.

If you want to change your phone system's music on hold, or simply discover our solution's other features, don't wait any longer! Start your free trial, or get in touch with our team for a free demo.

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