It’s hard to escape music. Whether you are at the doctor’s office, gym, shopping mall, restaurant, or your own workplace, there is probably music playing in the background. Depending on the music, you can experience a variety of emotions.
Music can be a powerful motivator. That’s one reason why it is important to consider music’s impact on your customers, employees and work environment. Although music choices may not demand the same priority status as workplace safety and health, business ethics, legal compliance, financial security, and other concerns, music can impact customer and employee behavior. Understandably, there are certain businesses and work environments that due to their nature are not compatible with music. For those that are compatible, such as the service sector and medical offices, consider the following.
Customers may be impacted by music. There are actually studies going back decades that show how music choice can impact customers’ purchase decisions. In the 1970s, a business professor named Phillip Kotler coined the phrase “atmospherics” in his Journal of Retailing article, where he noted “In some cases, the place, more specifically the atmosphere of the place, is more influential than the product in the purchase decision.”
Fast forward to today, where music and sound selection can negatively and positively impact purchasing decisions. For example, background music should match the store’s overall ambience.
According to the National Retail Federation’s Stores magazine, “retailers have long known that store music affects shopper behavior. NRF states that “tempo, volume and genre play a part in creating a mood and even closing a sale. As generations, behaviors and expectations change, however, there’s an increasing consideration of music as content — a proactive part of branding — rather than just an attempt to play what the target demographic wants to hear. Emotion is a driver of loyalty—and sound is a driver of emotion.”
It’s not just retail taking sound and music seriously. Dentaleconomics.com looks at music as a way to help put patients at ease. For example, music should be quiet and unobtrusive and “even people who say they do not like classical music usually relax to Mozart.”
What do you think your customers want to hear? If you operate a family-oriented business, your customers probably do not want to hear crude disc jockeys or vulgar music, while fitness center patrons probably do not want to hear depressing music.
Find the type of music that fits your business and your customers. A high-end jewelry store should have music that makes the customer want to take their time and explore the jewelry selection, while a grocery store should have upbeat and faster paced music that puts customers in a good mood and helps them get through the store quickly and effectively.
Consider how your employees react to music. A Cornell University study last year found that “happy music” fosters employee cooperation and collaboration. According to researchers, given their findings and the preponderance of music in all kinds of stores, retail managers should be more attentive to the effects that sound may have on their employees, not just their customers.
Whether you have medical practice, store or other business operation, it’s nice to know that there are some things you can do to provide a more positive experience for your customers and employees without costing a lot of money. Consider something as simple as music to help create a better atmosphere for your customers and employees.
Karen Geriner Robertson, director of public relations and client development at RobMark – Web • Advertising • PR. Contact her at [email protected] or (912) 921-1040.