…Customer experience and music on weekdays and weekends
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Those immortal words of Robert Nesta Marley still ring true. Good music can move you in a way that many things, on this earth, cannot. Hear your favourite music and you are sure to start moving to the beat, regardless of whether you can dance to save your life or not.
Music is so powerful that its influence can be felt beyond what it does to our senses. Yes, music is food for the soul – we are told – but apparently, it is much more. The health benefits of good music have been widely studied. It has been known that music can improve the mood of individuals.
Studies show that with the right kind of music, the brain tends to produce more dopamine, the hormone responsible for giving us those feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. There is a good reason why we undertake aerobic exercises and other activities in the gym effectively with music in the background.
There are even studies to show that the right kind of music can decrease pain. Some surgeons operate with certain kinds of music in the background and this is said to aid in the success of the surgical operation. Then, there is the effect of music on reducing the stress and anxiety in patients. Biochemical stress reducers are triggered when people listen to good music. Music has even been said to affect the health of one’s heart.
Evidently, the list of the benefits of good music is endless. It is, therefore, not very surprising that recent studies have even found that the influence of music can be found in the world of business and customer experience. Music has been found to be an important atmospheric factor when it comes to the experience of customers. Music in the background provides a backdrop for customers to engage with businesses.
The results of a most interesting study was published online in the December 2022 edition of Journal of Marketing Research. The researchers behind that study concluded that customers were truly influenced by the music being played within the customer experience space. However, there was something more to the influence of music on customers.
According to the study, the particular day of the week also has an impact on the customer’s behaviours, adding that customers act differently depending on whether it is a weekday or weekend. Adding the influence of music to the influence of the day of the week makes a very interesting combination.
Titled ‘Understanding How Music Influences Shopping on Weekdays and Weekends’, the study asserted that playing pleasant music in supermarkets on weekdays enhanced sales. The same effect was, however, not found on weekends. The explanation for this phenomenon given by the researchers was that the stress of work during weekdays meant that shoppers were mentally depleted. Therefore, having good music being played in the background had a way of boosting the mood of shoppers; and this is translated into an increase in shopping. In other words, shoppers are already in the shopping mood on the weekends. Thus, the music in the background really did not affect them as much on the weekend.
It is a fact that for many of us, we are programmed from infancy to know that five (or six) days in a week are for working. As children, we know that Mondays to Fridays are for school. We do serious work during those five days.
Weekends are when we get to play. Therefore, by default, we get into that frame of mind of seriousness right from Monday morning. That same conditioning is what makes us begin to wind down on Friday nights as we prepare for the weekend. We even encourage this with the kind of attire we wear on Fridays. In our minds, the weekend is not for work and all its related stress.
In other words, our minds are tuned to see the weekend as less-threatening than a typical weekday. To make matters even more interesting, for many of us, weekends are actually for shopping. This is why the customer on Wednesday afternoon might not be the same customer on a Saturday morning.
There has been proof that customers tend to develop loyalties to specific days and that more shopping is done on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. But by far, Saturday is the most popular shopping day. A study in the 1990s even proved that as much as 87 percent of customers do their shopping on Saturdays because that is the day that they are not working. Several other studies have proven that retail outlets record their heaviest sales on Fridays and Saturdays.
Interestingly, there are studies that show that there are customers that even shop for specific products on particular days of the week. It would be expected that people mostly buy items that are necessities at home during the weekdays and go for those things that are more for pleasure during the weekends. In all probability, household items such as groceries, cleaning items, etc., might be bought on the weekday; but scented candles and expensive wines might be bought on the weekend.
In addition, there has been a study that argued that customers tend to do more cherry-picking during the weekends than they do during the weekdays. It seems shoppers have more time during the weekend so they can take their time to select only those items they want and leave whatever they do not want behind. Cherry-picking customers tend to spend more time examining the products they want. This is something they mostly do not have the luxury of time to do on weekdays.
Even in more contemporary times, there have been studies that show that the day of the week also affects whether customers will shop in person or prefer to shop online. These studies prove that given the options, customers will mostly prefer online shopping during the weekdays and visit retail outlets in person during the weekend. All of the afore-mentioned points show that not all the days are equal when it comes to customers and their shopping habits. Businesses cannot, therefore, treat all the days as equal when it comes to serving customers.
The ongoing discourse is a very important, especially for those in the retail business. The implications of this study can be massive for the quality of service a retail business puts out there. For instance, if it holds true that customers are more depleted on the weekdays, then it means the quality of service offered during the week must be of higher quality. Customer-handling professionals must understand the effect of the particular day of the week on the mood of the customer. They must then put in extra effort to ensure that customers get the best of services.
Additionally, knowing that customers are more depleted emotionally during the weekday means that customer-facing professionals must be a lot more understanding and accommodating of customers during this period. An action that one gets away with on a weekend might not be tolerated on a weekday.
It also means that for those businesses that employ the element of music to create the right atmosphere, they must be particular about the kind of music they play on weekdays and on weekends. These cannot be left to chance. The practice of just leaving the dial on any radio channel or just playing music for the sake of playing music might not work. These are the implications of the above-mentioned study.
Another of the corollaries of this particular study is that the same customer on a weekday might be a totally different person on the weekend. Therefore, the customer service professional must be in a position to know how to deal with those ‘different’ people. In other words, the professional must know how to deal with the same customers in different ways on the same day.
It is important to note that although the results of the afore-mentioned study were derived from a supermarket setting, the findings hold for all businesses that deal with customers both during the weekday and on the weekend. For example, a bank that operates a Saturday banking branch must be aware of this and take advantage of the lessons. Such a bank must play the right kind of music on weekdays to help lower the stress of customers. That bank must also accommodate customers in a more relaxed atmosphere on Saturdays. A customer who is handled right might end up being more open to doing more business with the bank in question. Cross-selling and up-selling might become easier in the right atmosphere.
In a highly competitive market, every little advantage counts. This is why something as seemingly insignificant as the music being played in the background should not be treated lightly. Two retail outlets can be on the same stretch and due to the quality of music they play in their shops, one outlet will outperform the other.
In addition, knowing the difference between weekday shopping and weekend shopping can mean the difference between profit and loss, or thriving and surviving. Businesses must begin to put in place the right systems to take advantage of this knowledge. If it means making a few changes between weekdays and weekends, then so be it. If it requires even changing personnel based on the day of the week, then so be it.
Nothing must be left to chance when it comes to the customer’s experience. Anything other than the creation of the right customer experience and the business might end up facing the music from customers. The thing about the music that hits from aggrieved customers is that in contrast to what Bob Marley said, this time the business will actually feel the pain.
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