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Newsflash: Playing really low quality musak while the customer is on hold for 40 minutes DOES NOT improve the customer experience.  Nor, does ALWAYS playing the message that you are experiencing “unusually heavy volumes” right now improve your credibility. Now, I admit that someone in marketing who thought about for about 15 seconds *might* think that playing really bad music would be a good thing.  After all, people do pay money to listen to music.  Not everyone is a pirate.  And, people spend a lot of time listening to music.  Here’s the thing that will come to you if you think about for 20 or 30 seconds though.  People play to listen to the music they choose. They do not pay to hear the music you choose.  Furthermore, people pay to listen to music that is high quality. Granted, sometimes, when nothing else is available some of the people some of the time would prefer low quality music to no music at all. But NO-ONE chooses absurdly bad quality music over silence.  One more thing: unless you are a love-struck pre-teen, you do not listen to the same short sequence of music over and over and over and over for an hour at a time.  No.  You listen to a piece of music.  Then, you listen to a DIFFERENT piece of music.  Then, you listen to a DIFFERENT piece of music.

Now, I do grant that it is somewhat useful if you are going to put your customers on hold for 40 minutes that you give some sort of signal other than complete silence to show that you are still there and haven’t had the system “hang up” on them (which happens all too often but is another topic). But playing loud, obnoxious, very low fidelity music is not the answer.

Back to credibility.  If you are really monitoring the call volume and the customer calls at a time of really unusual high call volume, you may want to tell them that they would have better luck another time.  But if you *always* play this message, what do you think it does to your credibility? I am amazed to find that my credit union, an otherwise fine institution, *always* plays this message.  And every single time, it makes me think twice about whether I can really trust my funds to an organization that clearly lies every single day.