What Did I Hear?

Do you pay attention to the background sounds in the places you go? Olive Garden thinks so. That’s why they are changing up the music you hear when dining in their restaurants according to an article in today’s news. In an effort to attract more cash and more customers – especially younger ones – they are changing out the Frank Sinatra and Dean Marin sound tracks for Adele, David Bowie and U2, in other words, updating the experience.

Sounds do affect the customer experience, even though for many of us, it is subconsciously. However, good businesses recognize it is an opportunity to strengthen their brand and image by paying attention to what their customers hear in the background. Loud annoying music can ruin a customer’s dining experience. It can increase the stress of a doctor’s appointment, it can confuse the image of an attorney’s office, it can turn-off the visit into your retail store, and it can irritate the customer’s hold time while waiting on the phone.

Organizations that pay attention to the physical environment they design for their customer’s know that what a customer hears makes a significant impact on their experience. Everything Speaks! Everything your customer sees, hears, smells, and touches makes an impression. Is it a favorable impression?  Listen by looking through your customer’s lens.

Who is best to determine what a customer should hear while interacting with your organization? Ask your customers, ask your employees. The best way to start is by asking your employees if customers ever comment on the background sounds while in your facilities or on the phone. Customer complaints means there is an opportunity to rethink about this aspect of the customer experience.

Next time you are in a place of business, listen to the background music. How does it make you feel? Does it make you want to stay and does it make you feel comfortable? Next time you are put on a phone hold, listen to the background. Is the time being used to educate you with their products and business? Do you like the voice tone of the person talking? Is the music compatible with the business?

Sound is sometimes a forgotten opportunity by organizations to enhance the customer experience. Now go listen to what your business is playing.

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