Inspired by London Underground...yes...really!
Having been in Euston, London, on a training course last Friday – to get back home, I entered Euston tube station, to hear soothing classical music. Stark contrast indeed to the hustle and bustle of the busy Euston Road. Brain had to engage a little,'what is that I hear?' – but no big deal, I assumed it was the talents of a nearby busker and that the deeper I went into the station, the source creating these soothing, and clearly very well rehearsed tones, would become apparent.
And then I realised! What! Classical music being piped through the speakers in the tube station. All throughout the train station? How incredible.
Having moved to London some (yikes almost 20 years ago now!) - and therefore, been reliant on tubes for as many years... I can honestly say that this was the first time I had ever heard classical music – or any music for that matter – being 'piped' through the speaker system!
It was totally unexpected, very pleasant – and certainly made me smile. The soothing tones somehow deflected from the shabby tiles and dull opaqueness of the decor. And being 5.00 pm on a Friday afternoon, it also detracted from the start of the busy rush hour(s)!.
The tones were totally unexpected – but actually didn't take much to implement. The system for communicating 'sound' was clearly already in place. The tube station experience was definitely improved – and I speak on behalf of a few others around me who were smiling at one another, making comment about the music and raising eyebrows in amusement/surprise. The atmosphere was lightened in a positive way.
Inspired yet simple. Leveraging the systems already in place but doing something different with them. Something that couldn't have cost much or taken much effort (cost of plugging in a cd player/ipod to the pa system!) – can make a big impact and improve the user experience – get people talking.
The novelty may wear thin when all stations do this – and we become used to hearing soothing music (without the guilt factor of not having any change to throw in the hat!) - but it presents food for thought to all of us.
Never thought I'd be drawing inspiration from London Underground – but maybe we should all be considering what we can be doing differently, leveraging systems already in place – to stand out, surprise, make an impact – and improve customer experience!
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Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative - a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing - covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.