Easy On Hold | Blog - hold music article by Easy On Hold

Hold Music or Voice?


Looking for hold music? Hold on, because the age of the human voice is here.

Music on hold is an old idea. It actually happened by accident. In 1962, when Alfred Levy discovered a problem with the phone lines at his factory, he located a loose wire that was touching a girder on the building. The steel in the building picked up the music being transmitted by a nearby radio station. Callers placed on hold heard the radio station – hold music!

The Problem With Hold Music

There are problems with music over telephones. Phones are made to transmit voices, not music. Cell phones use noise-cancelling technology that makes music sound worse than ever. Still, many companies, for reasons of their own, prefer to have music on hold (and no voices). For them, Easy on Hold has expanded its hold music library, added vocal music and also provides Brandi Music, which offers music by hit artists.

For marketers, however, there is something much better than hold music, and it’s becoming more and more important to your brand. Believe it or not, that most ancient form of communication, the human voice is making a huge comeback.

The Age of the Human Voice

It started with SIRI and Alexa. Now we’re talking to our televisions, cars, light bulbs, watches and thermostats.

A rapid shift to web-based platforms led to smart devices with speech recognition capabilities. And just like that, the age of the human voice arrived.

By next year, 75% of all U.S. adults will have access to a smart speaker. Another year later there will be more digital assistants on the planet than people (according to tech research firm Ovum). The better our devices get at understanding what we mean, the less and less we will type.

We also like to listen to people talking. In 2019, 65% of Americans say they listen to a podcast at least once in a while. One year ago, more than half of Americans said they never listened to podcasts. These are the results of a CBS News poll.

Request a Free Custom Voice Recording Demo

What’s So Appealing About Voice Communication?

Voice communication has great appeal in the digital age. One reason is time. We crave time-saving methods that actually work. Giving and getting information in voice form is fast and convenient. Another reason is that we crave human engagement.

 “Humor, compassion and empathy are just a few ways in which we can connect with each other both authentically and emotionally by the tone of our voice.”

Neil C. Hughes, The Next Web

So, what does this mean for your business? It means you need to consider elevating the human voice in your marketing communications. It should not come as a surprise that when your customers need support, they want to talk to a human. That’s why we suggest taking a closer look at your call center, something we know a bit about.

Where To Begin?

Microsoft surveyed 5,000 customers for its 2018 State of Global Customer Service Report. Only 9% said they prefer to find information without contacting customer support. 39% specifically said they prefer calling on the phone. The next preferred method was email at 20%.

Some very successful businesses, like billion-dollar shoe e-tailer Zappo’s, actually prefer to interact with customers via the phone.

“Other companies hide their phone number. We put ours front and center on the website,” says former call agent Ryo Hanalei Zsun. Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh says, “We’re actually experimenting with ways to get more people to call because it’s such a valuable marketing and brand builder for us.”

Zappo’s Customer Service Secret Is The Phone, SmartBrief

Is your customer’s inbound call experience part of your sales strategy? It should be. The marketing department should be involved in the overall call center experience. How is the brand being represented at each touchpoint?

  • IVR or Call Queue Prompts or Auto-Attendant
  • Music and messaging during caller transfer
  • Call center agents
  • Music and messaging when call center “hold time” is engaged

The call center journey is an aural experience.

“If you are in the business of interacting with customers, you should be thinking deeply about how your communications and marketing strategies will need to evolve in the age of sound,” says Paul Michelman, editor in chief of MIT Sloan Management Review.

Why The Human Voice Is The Year’s Most Important Technology – Sloan Management Review, 01/20/2017

The voice is a powerful tool for connecting with customers.

“Your voice sells people on your knowledge level and professionalism. It helps you to gain their support when difficulties arise.”

“Your voice is your best vehicle for making the customer trust you.”

Judith Filek – Impact Communications

“Voice gives brands an unprecedented opportunity to build deeper relationships with their consumers.”

Dr. Kathy Bloomgarden, Ruder Fin

Easy On Hold helps with its dynamic streaming audio service for call centers. While callers are waiting or being transferred, they hear interesting snippets of information.

Beyond Hold Music: Streams Of Intelligent Voice Messages

Why play a generic loop of “vanilla” music, when technology offers dynamic, ever-changing experiences through streaming audio? Julie Brown, Easy On Hold CEO, says, “The new streaming message on hold systems can insert “good morning” and “good afternoon” phrases, just as if you were there in person. With content that plays only at certain times on certain days, all of the content heard on hold will be engaging, timely and relevant to the caller.”

Stewart Gandolf, CEO at marketing firm Healthcare Success says, “remember that your on-hold message oftentimes is the first impression of your brand.” He recommends custom messages on hold for his health care clients.

“Placing a caller on hold is a risk. When you create an engaging experience for your patients you minimize the risk of premature hang-ups and instead create an invaluable marketing opportunity,” Gandolf says.

Stewart Gandolf, Healthcare Success

Our advice is to put the idea of hold music out of your head. Think voice. Next step? Let’s talk about what to talk about. Request a Free Custom Voice Recording Demo.

Get the latest from Easy On Hold

Get free resources, news, and tips to help improve your customer experiences in our monthly newsletter.