When we call from America to India and hear the music that so many phone systems use when you are on hold, it is very strange for us. The music sounds very childish. There is the theme to the lone ranger played by a computer generated tone. There are other nursery rhyme type songs that are typically played as well. To Amerians, this seems like music that is appropriate for three year olds, not adults.
So, the question is, what type of music should you have on your phone system?
Step one, is to have an automated phone system.
That way when someone calls, they will be greated by a very professional sounding message that states your company name, and what extension to dial to get an operator, sales manager, service, etc.
Step two is to select some good “on hold” music.
Should you choose a popular Hindi film song from the 1950’s that is on a muffled recording? I suggest not, unless your clients are all senior citizens in the 65+ year old range.
Should you choose some international sounding music? Maybe some American Jazz, some Tango, or Mambo? Maybe some Frank Sinatra or Julio Iglesius. Maybe a popular Rock and Roll song from the 1980’s could work. If you want to sound a little more sophisticated, perhaps some Bach harpsichord music or an orchesteral suite.
The type of music you choose should match your clientele.
If you have cool clients who like to hang out at coffee houses, then maybe Jazz or Brazilian music might be popular with them. If you have highly educated clients, then European Classical music might work. If you have spiritually minded clients, then perhaps a good raga with sitar and tablas might be a crowd pleaser. Are your customers young hipsters from Bangalore who hang out on Church street downtown? In that case a good Rock and Roll song would be my recommendation.
What if you have a mixed audience?
Outsourcing companies in India might have a few domestic clients, a few Germans, Americans, British, and Australian clients. It is hard to know what type of music to pick with so many different groups to please. Half the battle is pleasing them, and the other half is IMPRESSING them. Appealing to the musical tastes of three year olds will not impress anyone. For a mixed and educated audience, I feel that cool jazz is relaxing and pleasant as well as sophisticated.
Coffee houses study the music they play
Companies like Starbucks don’t just play any old music they feel like. They have done extensive market research to see what their clients respond better to. They even came up with their own CD of music. I don’t know what the resulst of their market research are, but I know what they play. Keep in mind that Starbucks caters to an international crowd and succeeds in pleasing almost everyone. Their music has some classic old American songs from the 40’s and 50’s that might have been popular in movies. They mix that in with some cool jazz tunes, and some Brazilian selections too. Brazilian music is very popular since it is catchy, yet relaxing and cool as well. To keep your clients wanting to hang around on your phone line — keep the music cool — not childish.
Common mistakes Indians make
Indians tend to be very uptight a lot of the time. To attract American clients you need to be more laid back about communication and LESS laid back about getting things done on time — the opposite of what Indians are typically doing now. If you pick music that appeals to Americans and other people from Anglo cultures, the music should be pleasant and laid back too. Be careful of picking uptight music. You might live to regret it.