Why Your On Hold Marketing Sucks – Part II
Continuing in the series why your on hold marketing sucks let talk about the second half, the technical problems.
Up until recently phone lines have been designed to carry voice data. What this means is that when you speak into a phone only certain parts of the voice sound will get through. Through methods of compressing the sound high and low frequencies (sound waves) are cut off. So, when an on hold system plays music across a phone line part of the music will naturally be degraded.
The second issue is that phone technology still uses monophonic sound. This makes sense since we’re only listening with one ear. I personally don’t see this changing until we can dial and pick up a call all in our head. Monophonic isn’t so much of a problem but we expect more because our life is in stereo or 5.1 surround depending on who you talk too.
The solution to both of these problems is to know the limits of the system. When a composer creates music for an on hold system he or she must know the limits. That means no big bass sounds or high piccolo melodies. This idea also holds true for the audio engineer who is producing the music.
On Hold Technology
Technology everywhere is improving by the minute. Nowhere is this more true than in sound design.
One of the problems with on hold technology is that it followed my rule, you should design for the limitations of the system. It’s a safety feature in a way so that you don’t overload the capabilities of a phone. What this means is that most on hold technologies only allow you to place mp3 files on the line. Mp3 is a lower quality format because it compresses the audio, which has a similar effect to the issue I mentioned above.
Some newer systems allow you to play CDs on the phone line. This is a great step but can get many unsuspecting marketers in trouble. Primarily you’ll overwork the phone line and cause distortion, a nasty sound to say the least.
Again, the best way to solve these problems is to know what you can and can’t do. Mp3′s can be of high quality if produced correctly, but it will never stand beside full spectrum audio files. So, another part of this solution is to know that what you hear on the phone is not meant to be a movie going experience. However, using the proper techniques will get you one step closer.
I hope this series has been helpful in creating solutions to your on hold marketing problems. If you have any questions please place them in the comments below.
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