In Lisa Barber’s discussion about background music on shops (more on that soon), the conversation turned to hold music. I decided not to accuse commenters of going off topic, as hold music also gets my goat.
Malcolm R gets our Comment of the Week for bringing up on-hold music:
‘I’ve just endured 12 minutes of what might have been “heavy metal” music (if I knew what it was – lots of loud jangling and thumping, anyway) whilst waiting on the telephone.
‘When you have to put up with long waits you need something to let you know you are still connected, but why not play gentle music – some Chopin piano perhaps – unless, perhaps, the aim was to get you to put the phone down.’
Tell me about it Malcolm. Is there anything more annoying than hold music when you’re calling up to complain? It especially enrages me when the music is ‘happy’, as Lee Beaumont says:
‘When you speak to the complaints team at network Three they have a song called Happy by Pharrell Williams as the on-hold music. Really strange.’
Wavechange has a tongue-in-cheek response to overly cheerful hold music:
‘Perhaps we should give them a bit of their own treatment. If we have to go to the customer services desk we could play something awful like (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.’
I’m not sure I’d call Rolling Stones awful, but I like the message all the same.
Solutions to annoying hold music
Another option would be to be able to pick your own hold music, as Nigel Clarke points out:
‘I agree some hold music is truly awful and not having to wait on hold is the best option, but at least at least some companies like Aviva give you a choice of music…’
Elaine Jacobs’ answer is to get companies to phone you back:
‘Scottish Power go one better and offer to phone you back within, say, twenty minutes.’
There is some hold music I do enjoy. One of the companies that provides photos for Which? Conversation plays Mahna Mahna by The Muppets. I can’t help but reply ‘do do, do do do’, sometimes to embarrassment as the phone is answered mid ‘do do’.
Does on-hold music get on your nerves, or is there some hold music that you do like?