Business Wi-Fi is needed for improving operations and communications. Employees are able to access network resources in more areas away from wired devices which improves productivity for deskless positions.
Employees aren’t the only ones that can benefit from business Wi-Fi, and they are not the only ones that affect the company’s bottom line via Wi-Fi. With the right setup and applications business owners can help customers in more ways and understand their customer journey a lot better.
With over 6 billion smartphone users across the globe businesses are learning quickly that it’s good business to cater to their needs. According to a 2017 report from Norton, 71% of respondents say that Wi-Fi access was a deciding factor in them choosing one hotel over another. 55% of respondents said that they were willing to trade something of value for internet access, such as their email address or higher fees.
It’s clear that businesses benefit greatly by extending their Wi-Fi access towards customers. Let’s take a look at the best ways to address it.
Network Security for Guest Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi access attracts a lot of attention from employees and customers alike. I mean who doesn’t like free Wi-Fi? Of course employers want their workers to remain productive while catering as best they can to customers. This can be kept under control with segmentation, filtering and controlled access.
Segment Traffic on Business Networks
With this added internet traffic there can be some unwanted content access that can endanger employees, surfers and systems. The first security item should be to prevent customers from accessing company network resources. This can be accomplished with proper networking segmentation via a guest Wi-Fi network. With a guest Wi-Fi network, organizations can provide access to the internet through their infrastructure without sharing networked resources like files, printers or other devices.
Segmented traffic also allows for controlling which parts of the network get the most bandwidth. To prevent interruptions to business operations the priority is for the most important systems and personnel. Often the main priority is for audio and visual systems such as VOIP and conference room communication systems. Some offices opt to secure managed network services to ensure there are no interruptions in operation and connectivity in these systems.
Filtering Internet Traffic for Security
For the safety of employees and users internet traffic can be kept in check with a good firewall and content filtering. Certain websites have already been identified for having heavy spam and malware that can pose a threat to network security.
This type of filtering can be configured on some routers but for some users that might be seen as a daunting task. There are also cloud-based web filters that don’t require any additional hardware.
Those same websites can pose a threat to customers. While your network would not be exposed to those threats it might lead to customers having a negative experience while at your premises. Anything that adds a negative experience during a customer journey should be removed for better customer satisfaction.
Depending on the business and locations of client-facing areas an organization might also want to limit the chances of visitors searching indecent content, such as in family areas.
Guest Wi-Fi Marketing Opportunities
Keeping customers connected to your wireless network is a great opportunity to offer personalized content to enhance their journeys. Content can be made relevant to the region, season or based on the specific user base on previous history.
Here are some facts about the benefits of Wi-Fi marketing:
- 96% of consumers would rather interact with businesses that offer free Wi-Fi
- 82% of consumers check their phones in the store before making a purchase
- 78% of Facebook users use only their smartphone for internet access
- 56% of all social media users will use it to receive customized brand offers
- 74% of consumers say that they are happy for businesses to send them email or text promotions while using their in-store Wi-Fi
- 50% of consumers feel comfortable making purchase if a store has Wi-Fi available
- 19% of stores purchased are influenced by mobile
- Businesses report a 72% success rate for when offering guest Wi-Fi
Landing Page Solutions for Guest Wi-Fi
Guest Wi-Fi landing pages are a great way to introduce customers to your latest special offers. At the same time you can provide a form to collect customer emails in order to provide them with information about current and upcoming specials.
Users agree to share their contact information in return for content that enhances their journey. In order to build even more trust between you and your customers you can implement satisfaction forms and surveys later in their journey to gauge their interests and concerns. This is a great way to build your email list.
According to Beambox, most customers check their phones in-store before making a purchase. Allowing customers internet access via guest Wi-Fi helps them make decisions that can directly lead to sales.
Connecting Social Media to Guest Network Log-ins
Social media plays as much of a role, if not more for grabbing customer attention. More than half of customers admit to logging in to their social media in exchange for a personalized experience with the brand.
Social media ads can be localized to the geographical area surrounding a store and personalized further, based on other metrics. These personalized metrics are easy to provide offers for when you allow guest Wi-Fi log-in via social media authentication.
Social media check-ins can be included in the process as well in order to increase social shares, user engagement and customer loyalty.
Monitor Customer Trends within Your Brand
In the previously mentioned Norton report 34% respondents said they would watch adverts offered over guest Wi-Fi. This provides a great opportunity to help customers through their journey to more personalized products and services.
The data needed for such a setup comes from Wi-Fi analytics applications made for that purpose. By observing customer habits and tailoring journeys to their needs you have the opportunity to turn casual shoppers into loyal customers that will want to extend their journey with you.
When customers sign in with their IDs and research your offerings you can monitor what grabs their attention and where they are in their journey. Display ads can be adjusted automatically to take this into account to make sure they are getting the best products out of your offerings and the best deals.
Bringing It All Together
Guest Wi-Fi for customers is one of the best uses of your existing business network infrastructure. It allows you to add more value for your customers which improves their journeys and creates more customer loyalty. These improvements can in turn create more sales with the convenience of the offered Wi-Fi paired with more personalized offers the customer lifetime value will also benefit.
Is your business equipped to support a guest Wi-Fi network? You will need sufficient access points for proper coverage of your customer-facing areas and enough bandwidth from robust equipment to handle the load, depending on how much foot traffic your business receives.
For a boutique shop you may already have all the equipment that you need but for a large store more will be needed. For the best use of wireless access points your service areas will need professional structured cabling to support them. A strong network backbone will keep all of your networked devices running smoothly to support employees and customers. The next layer will be the software used to track and assist customers in their journeys so that they get the help that they need.