On Hold Music and the Psychology of Waiting
Have you ever wondered why you hear music or informational messages while you’re on hold? The reason is to give callers something to listen to while they’re waiting, right? Well, yes, but music and messages on hold were deliberately designed, based on the psychological reactions of people when they are placed on hold. To check out Talkroute’s on-hold features, click here In this article, we will examine how callers respond to being placed on hold and the reasons they react in a variety of ways. The mind of a customer works in interesting ways, but it works in predictable ways, too, which is why businesses are able to create hold programs that create the best environment for callers, if they must wait. Here’s how it works.
One of the first reasons that a caller will become frustrated (and potentially hang up the phone) is if they perceive their time on hold to be excessive. Even if someone has only been holding for 2 minutes, there are key factors which make this time “feel” longer than it actually is, or in the opposite case, time seems to fly. Dead air, or “unoccupied” time makes the time seem to drag on, whereas if there is content filling this time—such as music or a spoken message—the time feels like it’s going more quickly. In the same way, “explained waits” are more favorable to a holding caller than “unexplained waits”—that is, informing them that the call will be answered soon or stating a current approximate wait time.
Do you feel betrayed? To think that a company was actually using pre-existing psychological factors to market to you… If you didn’t catch the sarcasm in that then you might want to wake up to the fact that they are not only using it against you but abusing it. Hold music is only one of the ways a company makes you unconsciously love what they have and buy more of it.
The whole purpose of playing music for someone on hold was originally to give a few moments between messages for the caller to absorb the message they just heard, for maximum recall later. Music serves the message, while also helping to pass the time. Not just any music will do, however; certain types of music calm a person while on hold, and other types cause them to react negatively. Justin Worland of Time Magazine discovered from a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology that playing recognizable pop songs produced a more positive experience for callers than elevator music or bland, repeating melodies, which tends to frustrate callers.
A crucial factor for handling callers on hold is to manage their anxiety. After all, the more anxious or irritated a person is, the more likely they are to hang up, which is the very thing a business is trying to avoid. For example, the length and variety of music selections and messages greatly affects the mood of a caller. Short, repeating melodies or messages will drive anyone crazy; you anticipate that a message or small piece of music is going to repeat over and over—and it does. This is highly likely to produce anxiety for the caller, resulting in “wearout”. read more at talkroute.com
Sound familiar, the moment you start to get into a catchy song you like you’re are interrupted by a non threating British woman gloating about the character of the company you are waiting for. Don’t be disturbed, you’re not the only one who has been fooled into thinking that you are in control of your own fate. For more information about how the actual on hold messaging system works visit. https://www.onholdmusicstudio.com
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