Recently we were in New Jersey, and went to dinner at a restaurant that had been recommended to us. It was casual fine dining. Upon entering there was a bar to the left, and the dining room was to the right. Much to our surprise, blaring from the bar was a heavy rock song by the Foo Fighters. Great band, but the song made no sense at all for that restaurant, even at the bar and especially at 5:30 PM!  We stayed for dinner anyway – but would have been better off leaving. The food was bad and the overall experience worse.

I believe a common trait of well-run restaurants or any retail business for that matter is that someone is in charge who has a clear vision for what that business is and pays attention to every detail – including the music that guests hear. Put another way, a leader of that business is striving for excellence in every facet of the customer’s experience.

In this case, the music was a clear “tell” that something bigger was wrong. And it certainly was.

In a recent post, What is the Best Business Music, we looked at getting the right music from high up in the sky at jet airplane level.  We provided some core principles to help frame the discussion. In this post, we’re dropping down to a helicopter’s level to share seven practical tips to help any business to get absolutely great business music service.

1. Aim high.

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t achieve excellence with your business music service.  A goal of “just some noise in the background” is not aiming high enough.  You just have to be willing to stick with it until you get it right.

2. Don’t be scared.

Yes, it’s important.  But it’s unlikely anyone will get hurt if you don’t get it right on day one.  Forget about fear and know you can adapt the music exactly as you need.

3. Experiment boldly.

With fear driven out, try some different things.  You can experiment with musical genres, the pace of songs, blending different genres and day-parting.  You’ll learn from the process and are sure to wind up much better than when you started.

4. Pay attention to your customers and employees – but only the ones you trust.

Your customers and employees can be valuable sources of feedback but watch for their motives.  The purpose of the music is to make for a better overall environment for your business.  It’s not to please “Heather” – who would listen to the Bee Gees all day long!

5. Have fun.

Music is not cardiac surgery; it’s one of life’s great pleasures.  One idea is to let a rotation of employees create their own business appropriate playlists and to play them during the same day-part each week…maybe Monday afternoons as an example.

6. Know the status of your contract.

This is often overlooked, but critical. Technology has changed a lot and what was good ten years ago is likely outdated today.  Many contracts by the legacy elevator music company have five-year automatic renewals. Being trapped in a contract can keep your music less than optimal for years.  If you’re not happy, place your provider on written notice that you may be leaving – right away.

7. Be real.

Be authentic.  If your business is vibe is low key, let the music support that.  If it’s a little edgy, don’t be afraid to push the envelope.  Your customers and your employees will feel more at ease when you let the music reflect the real, authentic you that is your business, whatever that may be!