For most people, a doctor or dentist’s waiting room or waiting area can be an anxious and uncomfortable experience often compounded by tedium and noisy, under occupied young children. Can music help with your first impressions ?
First Impressions count
For many, the waiting room, area or reception is the customer’s or clients first perception of your business. They will look at how they are greeted, signage, the décor, the old pot plant, cleanliness, the list goes on. Often, their impression of you and your business will be decided in the first 3 minutes, which is why every business or establishment needs to get this right.
What businesses do
The use of magazines, neutral wall colours, a few interesting pictures and the occasional pot plant are the standard devices used to make patients and customers feel more comfortable. One of the most effective strategies is to provide bright, colourful and attractive children’s activities to keep them occupied and provide a calm environment for all.
It has been found, that in these quiet and relaxed environments, to play background music that people like – it stimulates the brain to release mood-changing chemicals that have a subconscious impact upon behaviour.
Use of Background music
In July 2008 the Guardian published an interesting article in which an eye surgeon reported the results of a study where live music was played to patients in the “preoperative holding area”. Their heart rates, blood pressure and respiratory rates were measured against a control group of patients that were not played any music. The results were compelling – those in the non-music group showed an increase in heart rate and other signs of anxiety while patients exposed to music exhibited beneficial decreases.
Background Music in Waiting Rooms
Another research study undertaken in the UK in 2009 involved interviews with 2,000 people and was conducted by Entertainment Media Research, an independent market research company. What they found was 66% of patients like to listen to music in waiting rooms. Of those, almost 3 out of 4 (74%) felt less nervous when waiting area music was played and almost 9 in 10 (86%) said it makes them feel more relaxed. Interestingly, the research found that females were slightly more positive but there were no differences by age which indicates that older people are just as likely to respond to music in waiting rooms and waiting areas as younger people.
The benefit to your business, from a retail perspective
Research shows that playing good music can boost retail sales, but a new innovation is taking this even further by personalising the music played in store fitting rooms.
A group of clothing stores in Singapore have been trialling a new technology that changes the music being played in the fitting rooms to match the items of clothing being tried on. ‘Radio-Frequency Identification’ (RFID) tags are attached to the clothing products and an electronic reader in the changing room reads the RFID data about the clothing style and type. A music track that matches the fashion style is then automatically played to the customer. By tracking the option for a free download after visiting the changing room, it was shown that Eighty-four per cent of shoppers seemed very receptive to this concept.
A further opportunity for retail and changing rooms
The use of music has shown great benefits, but an area so often overlooked is that many people visiting retail changing rooms, arrive as families that include younger children. With premium on space, often changing rooms in retail environments are hidden away, small and cramped. Trying to keep an eye on very young children, occupy them as well as make an important decision on that precious, must have item is near impossible. It has been shown, that many shoppers leave a store without purchasing due to noisy, restless and aggravating children. I should know, as I am one of those, with thankfully two older sons now!
Legality of playing music
Established in 1934, PPL exists to ensure that those who invest their time, talent and money to make recorded music are fairly paid for their work and a licence is required when recorded music, including radio and TV, is played in public. There is no statutory definition of ‘playing in public’ (also sometimes referred to as ‘public performance’) but the UK courts have given guidance on its meaning and ruled that it is any playing of music outside of a domestic setting – so, for example, playing recorded music at a workplace, public event or in the course of any business activities is considered to be ‘playing in public’. In contrast, any recorded music being played as part of domestic home life or when there is an audience entirely comprised of friends and/or family (such as at a private family party) does not require a PPL licence.
PPL and PRS for Music are two separate independent companies and in most instances a licence is required from both organisations for you to legally play recorded music in public. While both organisations licence the use of music and collect royalties for the music industry, each represents different rights holders and have separate licences, terms and conditions. A check should be made with both organisations if you are in doubt (see http://www.ppluk.com).
PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects and distributes money for the use of the musical composition and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters, composers and publishers.
Consider the younger visitor in your waiting areas?
The best intentions and mood enhancing music is great, but without considering providing stimulating, discrete children’s activity wall and tables for changing areas, your customer may be lost for good!
Toys for time Ltd specialise in sourcing and obtaining the widest choice in activity cubes, tables and wall panels that reduce the risk of infection because they are easy to keep clean on a daily basis and have no removable parts.
All images courtsey of : Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net