The Tills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music

More and more businesses are realising that having the right music playing in their retail space can make shoppers linger longer and purchase more. But can it really have an effect on someone over the phone? The answer may surprise you.


A lot of thought and research goes into selecting the right tracks to play to customers in retail environments – the same amount of energy should go into selecting music to play to waiting callers.

No matter how great your taste in music may be, it may vary wildly from what your target market listens to. Even if you go middle of the road and play something that’s as inoffensive as possible (commonly referred to as “light and easy” music) you’ll never be able to please one hundred percent of the people, one hundred percent of the time. Savvy business owners accept this fact. They also realise they need to dig deeper and ask themselves a few creative questions in order to find out what music will keep callers not only holding for longer, but willing to spend more.

If you’re in the same boat, you might ask yourself:

● What do my customers listen to?

Your target audience may prefer music that’s very different to your personal preference.

● What do I want them to think and feel about my business?

Do you want them to think you’re a big time corporate outfit or energetic & young.

● What do you want them to do?

Do you want them to stay on the phone until you can reach them, etc.

When a new client comes on board with us, the Creative Coordinator arranges a phone consultation between the client and one of our copywriters. This phone consultation is key in determining what will make their audio marketing effective.  During the conversation, the writer will focus on four key areas: tone, content, voices and music.

Now some customers have a good idea of what kind of music will suit their brand and listeners. Others are happy for our expert team to recommend tracks. Recently the CEO of a commercial steel barn manufacturer sent us his latest radio ads featuring country-style acoustic guitars. We browsed our extensive music library (1600+ tracks and counting!) for background music tracks to match the radio ads, and then made recommendations which the client happily accepted.

Sometimes, determining which music is right goes much deeper than simply ‘matching’ tracks. A study conducted by Milliman (1982) exposed restaurant patrons to fast (90BPM or higher) and slow tempo music. Milliman observed that individuals tended to stay longer when listening to the slow tempo tracks compared with the fast tempo alternative.

On Hold, however, we’ve found mid-tempo music (approximately 100BPM) to be most effective at keeping callers happier to hold longer. Our ambient music tracks, which range from 60- right up to 130BPM, are produced in-house by The Groove Gallery. What makes these tracks unique is that they’re composed specifically to comfort listeners, not distract them. Another few things to consider, in addition to BPM, when choosing the right music tracks is what your callers’ average wait time is and what their music preference might be.

To bring us back full circle, it’s no longer satisfactory to simply play radio or CDs to waiting callers. There is a real science behind the music you select, and those businesses that invest a little time and thought into what they expose their listeners to bank the benefits.

– Lachy