It’s happened to all of us. We have to call a company from our cell phone and we’re put on hold. And then, we are assaulted with miserable on-hold music:

I’m sure that sounds painfully familiar, especially since the average person spends two days a year on hold, and we often think this miserable audio experience is the company’s fault. Why would they pick music with such bad quality? Shouldn’t they just skip music altogether instead of playing that? Well, it turns out that the company isn’t necessarily to blame.

More likely, our cell phone is.

Despite the smartphone’s high-tech capabilities, cell phones are still basically made for people to talk to each other. The cell phone networks are programmed with voice as their first priority, and they automatically try to cancel out any non-human sound as “noise.” Unfortunately, that includes most of the sounds in music, resulting in a choppy, unpleasant on-hold music experience even if the business has high-quality programming.

So if the issue is in the phones, what can anyone do about it?

For business owners, a few options are available:

• Add voice messaging to your on-hold programming. A voice will sound better than music to most cell phone users. You’ll also be taking advantage of one of the best opportunities to communicate your business’s products and services to customers.

• Consider using music with guitars or brass instruments. These instruments sound a bit more like a human voice (to cell phone networks, anyway) and are less likely to be cancelled out as noise. Some ideal genres for this are Big Band, Mexicana, Modern Rock or Contemporary Jazz.

For callers, wait until you can use a landline to call businesses where you may be put on hold, if possible. You can also spread the word by talking to managers at businesses with which you’ve had a bad on-hold experience or even just sharing the knowledge on social media.

Mood works every day with businesses to write and record professional on-hold voice messaging combined with music that make customers want to hang on, not hang up. As the telephone industry goes wireless, we’re working hard to create on-hold audio that gives customers the best possible experience, even over cellular connections.

– Submitted by Samantha Knowlton, Marketing