5 Tips for Using Music to Improve Your Customer Experience

The right background tunes can help reinforce your brand and build consumer loyalty

Written by Leslie Craig

Imagine walking into what’s described as a “trendy boutique” and being welcomed by out-of-date music or, even worse, silence. It’s the kind of mixed signal that could leave questioning why they decided to stop in at all.

Music is a mood-setter, with brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Molson leveraging music consistently in their brand-building efforts. But you don’t need to be a big brand to connect with customers through music. You simply need to make it a priority.

Music is an emotionally-rooted medium that draws on nostalgia and emotion to create connections with customers quickly by setting a particular ambiance. Canadian businesses can experience similar benefits by incorporating music into the customer experience. Whether someone is walking into a store, sitting in a lobby, enjoying a meal in a restaurant, or sipping a drink at a bar, the music you play is integral to the overall experience of your customer.

MORE MUSIC: Why Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara is Basically an Entrepreneur »

The summer and early fall are a great time to consider how you are using music to complement or even improve a customer’s visit. During this time of year, Canadians are looking for ways to enjoy the warmer weather and explore the country, and this can mean increased traffic for your business as well as a big opportunity to leave a lasting impression.

Although it’s difficult to quantify the benefit that music has on business, it has incredible value and plays a vital role, making customer experiences more impactful, enjoyable and memorable. Think of it like air conditioning—while it’s difficult to measure the direct impact it has on the customer experience during the summer, you’d be hard-pressed to find a store or restaurant that’s willing to let their customers sweat!

In an effort to better quantify the value of music for Canadian businesses, SOCAN asked Canadian proprietors how the music being played in an establishment impacted their patrons; 74% said music is important to the customer experience and 72% said music is important to the ambiance of their business. In addition to this, late last year, half of the businesses we spoke to said they would never stop playing music in their establishment, believing that their customers would complain if they did.

So, how are you using music to build rapport with your customers? Here are five easy ways you can integrate music into the customer experience, and create greater loyalty as a result.

Evaluate the music you are playing

Music needs to fit the brand you want present, and it is an important ingredient to the right marketing mix. If your brand is synonymous with rest and relaxation, is the music too upbeat? Or is it too mainstream for your hip and trendy brand?

Play music that creates an appropriate ambiance for your customers

Is the music in the dining room too distracting to encourage conversations? Too quiet for a retail area? Too mellow to encourage dancing in a bar?

Consider places where music could amplify the customer experience

Do you have music playing in your showroom or store front while customers are browsing or debating their purchase?

Use events that have brought visitors to the area as inspiration

Is there a music festival or concert taking place on the weekend that many of your customers are attending? Play the kind of music they’re there to listen to.

Don’t forget about your colleagues and staff

Ask them their opinion and be open to the musical tastes of others €“ your employees matter just as much as your customers. The music you’re playing may appeal to you, but your staff and the anecdotal feedback they have from customers might suggest they would prefer a different soundtrack. There’s nothing worse than having to listen to songs or genres you hate throughout the workday.

€¢ €¢ €¢ €¢ €¢

This summer and looking ahead to the fall, consider the music you’re playing and decide if it’s right for your customers and accurately reflects your brand. Adding music to your business—whether it’s a clothing store in Vancouver, a retail showroom in Toronto, or a bar in Halifax—is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and their customers to connect and engage in a meaningful way.

Leslie Craig is the Director of Licensing with SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), a member-based and governed organization that represents the Canadian performing rights of more than three-million Canadian and international music creators and publishers. SOCAN is proud to play a leading role in supporting the long-term success of its more than 130,000 Canadian members, and the Canadian music industry overall. SOCAN licenses from more than 125,000 businesses in Canada, and distributes royalties to its members and music rights organizations around the world. SOCAN also distributes royalties to its members for the use of their music internationally in collaboration with its peer societies. Eighty-six per cent of music rights revenues coming in to SOCAN are distributed to those who created the music and their publishers.


How do you pick the tunes that play at your business? Share your musical strategies using the comments section below.

Originally appeared on