Like thousands of other travelers, I had my flight cancelled to New York. I was stuck on hold with JetBlue as I waited for someone to take pity on me. All together, I spent a couple hours waiting to talk to people. JetBlue is not the worst offender, but they have inspired me to consider what I believe to be the perfect hold music.

Before I begin, I’m not even going to consider the hell that is a phone tree. That pain deserves its own post.

  1. Tell me how long I have to wait. It doesn’t have to be to the second, but a rough approximation will soothe my nerves a bit.
  2. Play innocuous, classical music. It’s hard to please everybody, so don’t try to pick out cool music. You may have an image to uphold, but when I’m stuck on hold, I just don’t care. All I want is something that holds my attention just enough to indicate you haven’t hung up on me.
  3. Don’t interrupt the music. Again, I just want to zone out until I can talk to a human. It’s okay if you want to update me on my hold time, but only do it every 5 minutes. If you play an ad, or anything really, every minute, you may as well skip the music. It just makes me think a person is coming on the line.
  4. Unless I’m waiting for technical support. Assuming you have a rough idea of my problem, feel free to offer some of the most common solutions while I’m waiting. Just make sure you’ve already put me in the hold queue. Calling 311 is infuriating, because I have to sit through 30 seconds of parking regulations.

It seems simple because it is. I’m not opposed to creative hold-tainment (hard to believe that I just made that up), but you need to remember that people are likely calling because something went wrong and you want to keep them calm. It’s going to make the talking part easier on everybody.