If you choose to have music in your place of business, set some rules in the workplace:
- If employees are seated in an open area, no music at their desks. This is about as popular as gum snapping.
- Music in the office needs to come from a single source with the speaker(s) set on low volume.
- Music needs to be appropriate for the type of business you work in.
- If employees or customers are complaining about the music in any way, listen to them.
Satellite radio provides great variety in music, so no longer do you have to provide elevator music in the workplace, thank goodness!
However, before we go any further, soft and soothing sounds do have a place in certain businesses. Heavy Metal would not be welcome while undergoing a root canal or cataract removal.
Music is perfectly acceptable in the workplace BUT it must be relevant to your place of business and your customers.
Scenario #1 – Background Music
We recently went to a local restaurant for a late business lunch. The restaurant we chose served many different types of hamburgers and the decor centered around the beach scene. We were seated immediately and after perusing the menu for a couple of minutes, we both chimed in with “what is going on with that music?”
Our customer service background kicked in and we confronted the waiter. We stated that as customers we found the music to be inappropriate and too loud and would he mind changing the CD? He said, “I agree, but it’s satellite radio and that’s the station that is always on.” What? Can’t someone change the station?
Getting nowhere and wanting to rescue fellow customers from having to endure and digest this music, we asked for the manager. The word apparently got to the radio general and the station soon changed. The Beach Boys would have been appropriate with their setting but Huey Lewis won out. Before we left, someone did come by our table to see if everything was OK. Good Job!
Bottom Line: If you are going to invest in background music in your place of business, cater to your customers, not your employee’s specific taste.
Scenario #2 – Music on Hold
You are calling a company to complain about a faulty widget you just purchased. Immediately you are placed on hold and no doubt nestled in the holding pattern queue. Your current mood is in total conflict with the ding dong music box tunes you are forced to listen to.
After several minutes of what you consider bad noise, a “live” person finally takes your call. I would venture to say that your next few words will not be exactly indicative of putting your best foot forward. Beware: Most angry customers placed on hold will not appreciate music of any variety.
On the other hand, I am sure you have experienced being put on hold only to hear an oldie but goodie or even a good sales commercial. Your thoughts at this time are “I hope they keep me on hold until the end of the song or I hear what the latest bargain is.”
Bottom Line: Music on Hold is popular especially in companies that have high incoming call volumes. Occasionally listen to your own music-on-hold and experience what your customers are listening too. Use good sense in your choice of music. When in doubt, choose easy listening. It’s your best bet.
Below the Bottom Line: Music in the workplace isn’t suited for every company. It’s a personal choice, make it a good one.
You can also improve employee attitude towards rules in the workplace when you make sure everyone follows protocol. Recognize outstanding employees that always follow the rules with and employee appreciation card, or a birthday card sent directly to their home address – so you can also show your employee’s family how much you appreciate them.