Dubai business news site, kippreport relays a detailed description of a bad on hold experience at the HSBC Finance call center in Dubai:
“The music on hold is inaudible in the whoosh and swish of the IP line. Occasionally IP artefacts cause strange auditory phenomena like eddies in the astral plane. In the sea of wow and flutter you can occasionally hear snatches of music, a slightly manic-sounding, repetitive jangle not unlike a Goan Jamaican steel band overlaid with a recording of Paul Young’s bassist. It fades in and out maddeningly.”
A little help here: Goa is a state in west India. Paul Young is a British pop star (U.S. hit “Everytime You Go Away” written by Hall and Oates.) Not sure if we’re talking about Young’s part-time bass player Pino Palladino, but that would be an excellent choice. Palladino has worked with a long list of high-profile pop stars. So Goan Jamaican Steel Band overlaid with pop bassist riffs–probably a bad choice for on-hold music.
Now doing business in Dubai (at one of the world’s largest hotels), Easy On Hold understands what’s gone wrong at HSBC. Many phone systems, including those carried over internet lines, have an automatic noise cancellation program running. If the music on hold input is not steady or strong, the phone system will be easily convinced that the audio is not intentional, and treat it as noise. The system will fight the incoming sound, attempting to close the noise gate. The resulting sound is that of a woosh and hiss.
Of course, we can’t speak for the music selection at any call center except those we license. You may browse our music on hold library here, but I don’t think you’ll find a Goan Jamaican Steel Band sound.
The truth is, phone systems are best suited for voice, not music. If you’ve ever called via cell phone and heard the rippled distortion of music on hold, then you’re aware of this fact. The best choice for a business on hold system is voice. Voiced announcements and on hold messages containing information are most effective and appreciated.