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Hold Music, Ranked

We’ve all been there: stuck on hold, waiting for customer service, with a repetitive tune looping endlessly in the background.

Objectively, this is far from an ideal customer experience. But at a time where contact centers are struggling with agent shortages, rising demand, and unpredictable call spikes, ensuring an agent is available for every call is often unrealistic without the proper automation solutions in place.

And in the spirit of making the best of things, many consumers have grown an affinity for certain hold music songs. In that vein, let’s take a look at five of the most beloved hold sounds.

#5: Verizon

Sounds like: Smooth Jazz 98.1 

Any Verizon customer who has called in to manage their account, update their plan or ask a simple question has almost certainly heard this song. This smooth jazz number features a relaxing piano melody that presumably aims for a calm and soothing atmosphere. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel like you’re driving to work waiting to hear the weather and traffic report at the top of the hour. Callers who are “lucky” enough to make it a few minutes in are handsomely rewarded with a violin to complement the keys. One customer who tracked down the song on YouTube said: “Been on hold for 1 hour 58 minutes as of now. I had to know what I was dancing to.”

#4: 3CX

Sounds like: Starsky and Hutch

At number four, we have the groovy default hold music for 3CX’s phone system. A track that feels like it could be the opening score to a 90s buddy cop movie, the horns blast in with a lively ensemble, setting a fun and upbeat tone. Guitar riffs weave through the track, adding a cool, dare we say edgy layer. It’s a track that makes you imagine high-speed chases and mustaches, making the hold time a little more entertaining. “This isn’t the hold music my work uses but I wish it was! Can’t help enjoying it every time I hear it,” said one commenter. 

#3: HP

Sounds like: Waiting at a red light, but in space

HP’s hold music grabs the third spot with its LoFi synth vibes straight out of the 80s. This track is spacey and futuristic, with a hint of eeriness that adds to its X-Files intrigue. The synthesizers create a soundscape that feels like you’re floating in a retro-futuristic world far removed from the issue you’re calling about in the first place. It’s perfect for those who miss the Casio keyboard from their youth. One commenter quipped, “Thanks for posting..I have asked to be put back on hold so I could listen some more.”

#2: Cisco

Sounds like: A customer service lucid dream

Coming in at number two is none other than Cisco’s legendary, ethereal hold track. As we’ve written about before, the default track for millions of Cisco phones has an unlikely history. From its origins in a late 80s garage, all the way to the customer service main stage, the song’s prominence peaked in a recent Super Bowl commercial. “I’ve got this piece of music that I know sounds really good on the phone,” recalled the composer. “Next thing I know it was going into the product.”

#1: No Hold Music

Sounds like: The best of them all. The sound of your problem getting solved quickly.

The best hold music of all is, unsurprisingly, no hold music. There’s nothing quite like the sound of your problem being resolved immediately after you hear “hello.” No touchpad menus, no looping music that is rudely interrupted by a marketing message every 30 seconds, just action. 

With AI, contact centers can resolve the majority of customer requests with zero agent involvement, meaning agents are more available for complex and urgent calls. In other words, zero wait times, lower costs, and higher customer satisfaction. And if callers miss their favorite hold songs, well, there’s always YouTube. 

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When done right, AI holds the potential to drastically improve both customer experiences and contact center operations. But when done wrong, there are countless ways organizations can put their callers, their brand and their bottom line at risk. Download the full guide and learn how to harness the power of AI while gaining full peace of mind by building the right strategy for your organization:

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