We entered the business music market first as a reseller of another provider’s system in January of 2003, and for a brief period we took on a second provider’s platform, hoping that would be better for our customers than the first. While each had advantages over the status quo Muzak of the day, both had frustrating aspects that we thought had to be solved in order to provide a quality, long-term solution for our customers. So we made the investment to build a better system and approach.
We started by setting specific goals for customer friendliness, mapping ideal business processes and writing, editing, and re-writing code – determined to produce a product that was more useful than anything that had been attempted before. Here’s the list of the top six problems we identified and how we solved them:
The Top 6 Problems
1. The Customer Was Not In Control – Prior to UMix, our market was sold on the idea that a music programmer (who knew little about the customer’s business) had some special insight into the bliss of perfect business music. That myth led to heated debates between providers and customers over exactly what songs should play.
2. Not Enough Variety Created a Stale Environment – Old licensing schemes and Muzak’s de facto monopoly led to an industry of music programmers who were limited by what they had available and were unmotivated to make changes – because customers had few other choices.
3. Long Term Agreements Led to Customers Feeling Trapped– That de facto monopoly led to agreements that lasted years with difficult to implement termination clauses.
4. Difficult To Learn Systems Meant Customers Did Not Use Them – The initial effort at a web-based business music product was based on old technologies and was difficult for users to understand and use.
5. System Downtime Caused Music Outages – There were system design problems that needed to be solved in order to deliver a truly reliable system.
6. Secrecy – Systems maintained useful about information song play and system performance, but providers kept it hidden from customers.
What UMix Did to Solve Each One
1. Place the Customer in Complete, Unfettered Control – We made it our credo to place the customer in complete control. Making our customer’s experience functional, easy and enjoyable is what drives our every product improvement and customer interaction.
2. Provide Virtually Unlimited Variety – Of course we offer lots of songs, but millions of songs licensed from upstart garage bands is not the answer most businesses seek. So we give our customers a variety of ways to easily get the exact content they want playing in their business locations.
3. Use Pay-As-You-Go-Billing – We bill in three month increments until our customers tell us to stop.
4. Deliver an Easy, Functional System Customers Will Actually Use -It’s no easy task to create an extremely customizable and powerful system to serve music, messaging and digital signage to one or hundreds of locations. But that’s exactly what we did – and our customers use it. They log on to make changes whenever they need to and request specific songs that we may not yet have.
5. Make it Reliable – We created secure, multiple levels of redundancy to virtually eliminate system outages.
6. Open All Information to Customers – We maintain incredibly detailed logs on system activity and share it openly in all Subscriber accounts.