How Music Affects Your Customers

Music affects the way your customers feel - and it can change their behaviors. 

In the quest to create better customer experiences, we should always be thinking about the emotional connections we are making. If you have a storefront or office and customers who actually walk through doors to do business with you, music will be a part of this emotional connection, and must be a part of your marketing plan. 

Music matters as much as your decor and your lighting.

How much time do you spend choosing the seating areas in your lobby - the chairs in your salon -  the displays in your shop - the plates, the napkins and the menus in your restaurant?

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Whether music is your thing or not, you most likely have an innate sense of what works and what doesn't. Think about a fabulous destination spa. Even if you don't like the new-age/native american flute/wind chime vibe, that music still works in a spa. It is deliberate.

your choice of music that you play in your business needs to be deliberate. 

How music to play in your business?

Here are six things to consider and do as you make music a part of your branding. 

  1. What do your customers value and how do you want them to feel?

  2. What are your customers currently doing while they are in your shop (restaurant, hotel), and what you want them to do?

  3. What is the personality of your business or your event?

  4. Who is in charge of the music day-to-day?

  5. Do you have a budget for music?

  6. WHY does the music matter?

1  |  How do you want your customer to feel? Relaxed? Celebratory? Efficient? Welcomed?

2  |  What are they doing, in what context, and what do you want them to do? Are they grabbing lunch during their rush hour? Are they in a hurry, or do they want to wander and enjoy? Are they working?

Context and what you want them to do: They have a list and are checking it off. Are you solving a problem for them? Are they being pampered? You want them to stay longer and spend more. You want them to book another service. You want to become their go-to store. 

3  |  Personality: is your business's personality culture and expensive? modern and playful? calm and elegant? quirky and a little weird? Is your music representative of the personality?

4  |  Who is in charge of the music day-to-day? Will you be there every day to make sure the correct playlist is being used or will your staff? Do they understand the importance of music? If not, what a fantastic training session - remember, they have to listen to it all day! 

5  |  Do you have a budget? I am not an expert on what streaming services can be used and where. I have read that in certain countries you cannot legally play certain music streaming systems in your business and some you can. There are companies who do a fabulous job of finding the right music for you and sometimes even creating it. So, decide if you want to hire someone to help you with this, if you are able to stream a playlist, or heck, maybe you have some old albums that would work. Go retro! 

6  |  Why? Why does it matter? Just go through the process of answering this question and you may have some more insights. 

Here's another example of how you can choose music based on your customers, what they value and how you want them to feel:

Think about a hair salon. Where my boyfriend gets his hair cut, efficiency is key, so if the music were too slow and relaxed, it would cause him to feel like the staff is too slow and relaxed.
He wants to be in and out in literally 15 minutes - that music better be upbeat and moving. I on the other hand, cherish my time at the salon (and pay triple for it) and if I am rushed, I feel like I am being gyped. I want to relax and wallow in the experience. The right kind of music will help me do that. 

ACTION STEPS: Start training yourself. Try these ideas as you frequent your local businesses:

  1. Go into a favorite business - it can be your doctor's office, favorite boutique or grocery store - and simply pay attention. What is playing?

  2. Ask yourself if it works and if so why, and if not, why not?

  3. What do you think the owner is trying to achieve with this particular music choice?

  4. How does the music make you feel? Start paying attention to this.

Either on your own or with your team, look at the images of businesses below (use arrows to scroll through or click on the thumbnail below). Write your own scenario of the type of business it is and who the customers are. Then answer the question, what would the music sound like? What should it cause your customers to feel? 

So, start noticing music and make your music choice part of your branding and marketing. 

MINDSHIFT TIP If you are a business owner, image what type of music you would play at home on a rainy Sunday morning vs a cocktail party vs a barbecue. If you are a hostess, start noticing what music plays in your favorite shops and restaurants, and how it makes you feel. You then may be able to see and solve differently. It's music -- have fun with it!