On-hold music is considered standard in business phone systems today because people actually perceived wait times as shorter when they hear it. On-hold music traditionally worked by having specialized equipment attached to the phone, and the jack might plug into the radio, then tapes, then CDs, then MP3 players. PRI boards are built with jacks to play on-hold music.

The word “Ringback” is perhaps unfairly associated with a niche market of cell phone users. A ringback tone is a signaling tone that the caller hears while the phone is ringing. In America, the tradition has been to have a two second tone with a four second pause, mirroring the two second ring and four second pauses on the other end.

The term “ring” has long been an anachronism, as there haven’t been actual bells on phones for decades. The first ringback tones were created in Finland in 1998, when the Finnish mobile operator Radiolinja began offering the service of hearing customized monophonic ringtones and ringback tones that were sent over the air. Ringback tones, for whatever reason, never really caught on in America the way they did internationally.

Voice over Internet Protocol, similar to cellular networks, is handled digitally. Ringback is one way in which VoIP is setting itself apart from traditional telephony services. When you subscribe to business VoIP, your phone will most likely come pre-programmed with both ringback and on-hold music. VoIP providers, unlike cell phone carriers, don’t charge extra for ringback tones. Not only that, you can upload your own custom ringback and on-hold music, such as a favorite song, a customized soundtrack, or even a customized greeting or up-sell message. VoIP subscribers can select different connect and on-hold music by accessing their online portal.

Having ringback and on-hold music really gives your company a professional appearance. On-hold music has always been one of the features associated with the “Fortune 500” companies that VoIP subscribers have access to, and at a fraction of the cost. Having the right connect music makes a great first impression on customers.