As a business owner, providing what your customers want is vital to your business. Businesses that boast high customer satisfaction rates go above and beyond delivering their product and/or service – it’s all about the perks. For brick and mortar businesses, one of those perks is free WiFi! More and more types of businesses — from fast-food restaurants to laundromats — are investing in fast, free internet service for their customers.
Here are 3 compelling reasons to provide free WiFi at your business:
Offering free WiFi can be a HUGE marketing win for your company. Many WiFi providers allow you to create a custom landing page before customers can access the WiFi. Not only can you advertise your business, but you can collect information about the user – specifically their name and email address. You can also brand your network name to your business – example: “Joe’s Organic Market Free WiFi.”
Providing free access to the internet also allows customers to use social media to post images of your products, “check in” to your location, and even spend time reviewing your business. It’s free marketing because they’re spreading the word without any effort on your end.
Believe it or not, when people have access to WiFi, they will actually stay longer in your business because they feel like they can still be productive and connected while they shop. They can answer emails, access social media and surf the web.
You may think that by providing free WiFi, your customers will be distracted and more interested in being online, however, small business owners say that chances are good they’ll end up spending more. Many retailers found that customers used the WiFi to browse their products online and read reviews in real time.
There are a few common problems that you will want to avoid if you do choose to offer your customer free WiFi.
Make sure your WiFi is fast and reliable. You don’t want to frustrate your customers by having WiFi that won’t connect or has a connection speed that rivals dial-up! If your connection is spotty or slow, make sure you figure out the issue as soon as possible.
Keep your network secure. You want to protect your business data as well as your customer’s personal data. You should have your network set to WPA2(WiFi Protected Access) or higher if available. If your current system isn’t compatible with at least WPA2, you should upgrade to a newer model.
NEVER use the same access point for your customers and your business. Even if your network is secured, you should avoid using the same access point for everyone. Your Network should have at least 2 separate access points so that your customers can use one, and your employees and business can use another. You could also install a WiFi hotspot that is completely unconnected to your internal network, but it could be a higher cost and require more equipment to manage and maintain. Whichever method you choose, make sure you use a strong password for each access point and keep your malware and antivirus up to date.
Has your company recently added free WiFi for your customers? We’d love to hear how this has affected your business.
Vice President, Secretary