Ideas That Click
Can WiFi Help Your Business Become a Hot Spot with Customers?
By Maureen Link, Group Vice President Small Business at Time Warner Cable Business Class
Traditionally, when we thought about of the types of businesses offering WiFi, coffee shops, restaurants, and bookstores were the first to come to mind. Today, people expect to be able to check social media, use apps, send email, and surf the web wherever they go, including salons, auto repair shops, accounting firms, eye care offices, retail stores, and any other business with a waiting room or checkout line.
Access to the Internet isn’t just a customer perk any more. It is an expectation. With more than 70 percent of US consumers owning a WiFi-enabled smartphone and more than half owning a tablet, accessing the Internet wherever we go has become second nature to most of us.
WiFi hotspots can give your small business a competitive advantage. Consider the increasing popularity of children’s indoor play spaces, gyms, and party venues. These businesses place as much emphasis on making the parents’ experience as pleasant as the children’s. Part of staying competitive is to offer WiFi in the waiting areas so moms and dads can check email, work, or even shop online from their WiFi-enabled devices. The ability for parents to connect may give one children’s gym a competitive advantage over another.
To maximize the full potential of offering WiFi to your customer, you should keep three things in mind:
1. Keep your customer WiFi hotspot separate from your business WiFi.
Not only will separating your customer-accessible hotspot save bandwidth for you and your employees, but it will also keep your business systems secure.
2. Make sure your customers and potential customers know your business will keep them connected.
Display signage in your business so visitors know you offer customer WiFi and how to access it. At Time Warner Cable Business Class, we’ve created WiFi coverage maps and apps that list businesses offering WiFi hotspots to help people who crave connectivity locate local businesses with WiFi.
3. Leverage onsite WiFi to promote your brand to customers.
Some WiFi providers enable businesses to customize their WiFi sign in portal screen with their logo, a marketing message and even their business website.
Above all, offering your customers the ability to stay connected to what is important to them will build loyalty and keep them coming back.
 Michael Harris, Kinetic Strategies, WiFi: Why It’s an Essential Amenity for Small Business, Time Warner Cable Business Class, 2014
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