Let’s face it, offering free WiFi for your customers isn’t really an option anymore for many stores and restaurants – it’s a requirement. Customers have come to expect WiFi in almost any retail or service industry business they step in to. This isn’t a bad thing! Your business is probably already wired for internet. It isn’t that difficult to turn a standard business expense into a bonus service you offer your customers (and a potential marketing tool for you!). But what’s the best way to do it? We have 4 tips here to help you get started – or improve on what you have.
Have a good Internet Service Provider (ISP)
This is the basis for all of your internet traffic in and out of your place of business, so needless to say it’s quite important. Find out what ISP’s are available to you and what speeds they offer. If you lease a space, you can start by contacting the owner of your building and see what options are available. If that doesn’t get you anywhere, you can research on sites like highspeedinternet.com. (or just Google it)
You want fast and reliable service. The download speed doesn’t really matter if it’s not working. Don’t be afraid to switch to a new ISP if you can find a better deal or a better service.
Speaking of speed, it might be useful to limit users individually on how much of your ‘speed’ they get access to. If you have 30mb/sec but one user is using 29mb/sec downloading on P2P networks, streaming videos and scrolling through Facebook, your other customers will be affected. Talk with your IT person to see if settings can be adjusted on your modem or routers to create user speed limits. (Surge Social customers can adjust this in their portal on the Settings page)
Separate guest traffic from store traffic
It’s your responsibility to protect your customers’ sensitive information like credit card details or business transactions. You need to separate customer traffic from your business traffic. Talk with your ISP or an IT person to help with this if necessary. You could create separate WiFi networks as well – one for you and your employees and one for your customers. In addition to protecting your customers information, having your internet connection segmented offers liability protection as well. You should provide a terms of service that the guests need to click through in order to get internet access. A quick Google search brings up free options for internet usage terms of service that you can link to or just copy and paste.
You can also limit what types of websites or which internet protocols are allowed. You can create blacklists for certain types of sites you may not want in your family friendly establishment. Another option is to keep customer access to HTTP/HTTPS only. This may annoy some customers depending on your business, so speak with an IT person to find the best solution for you.
Have a branded splash page and a redirect in place
There is no excuse to have a generic login page on your WiFi anymore! It’s way too easy to have a splash page that matches your business logo and theme. A polished WiFi welcome screen lets the customer know you care, even in the small things. It should be clear, simple, and free of clutter. Customers should know that they’re on the right WiFi signal and that their information is safe.
After a customer logs in to your WiFi, it’s good practice to redirect them to something that benefits both of you. You may want to have them first see special offers from your business, or your Facebook or Instagram page.
Reconnect with customers after they leave
After a customer leaves your place of business, how do you reconnect with them? Did you gather any contact information or details before they left? This is where offering free WiFi can really shine. When a customer wants to login to your free WiFi and you ask for a social media user name, or an email address, or a phone number, you are asking for a way to maintain a relationship. What’s better than a happy customer? A happy customer that’s happy to return. If you have a way to maintain a relationship with your customers, you can offer incentives for them to come back such as discounts, coupons, promotions, etc. By maintaining a relationship and offering incentives for return trips, you create a win/win situation for both you and your customers.
Do you need to take a second look at your current WiFi offerings? The ROI potential is through the roof for such a small expense. Contact us today if you want to learn more about how your free WiFi service can turn into an automated marketing machine!