Before you get too worked up on turning your store into a Wi-Fi hotspot, here are some concerns that you need to consider first.
From your customers’ perspective
Your customers have likely grown familiar with the reliability and convenience of their home Wi-Fi, so they imagine that what you offer in your store at least equals, if not surpasses, what they have at home. Customers expect to see less connection timeouts and dropped connections. It would be a big turnoff for them to be asked over and over again to log in to the network during their session. What they want is a smooth and almost uninterrupted flow of surfing the internet.
Another of your customers’ major concerns is the security of your network. Many are growing aware of the dangers that public internet connections pose. Although your customers will have misgivings about sharing information online while connected to an open access network, they will still expect that you have undertaken proper measures to secure your network. They need their data and information protected.
Lastly, your customers expect that connecting to your network will be fast and easy. Consumers today are accustomed to the ease of use offered by technology. Every device available to them gives them the satisfaction they want, so they expect the same thing from internet connections. They wouldn’t want to follow a lot of steps before finally connecting to your network — that would just frustrate them. Your network should support device compatibility and ease of setup and use so your customers can easily connect online.
Make sure that your internet connection actually helps your customers, not gives them something to be frustrated about. The dependability of your Wi-Fi affects how your customers think about you. If you offer them a connection that they can’t count on, how do you think would that reflect on your business?
From your business’s perspective
You should share your customers’ concern about the reliability of your network. Make sure that your internet connection actually helps your customers, not gives them something to be frustrated about. The dependability of your Wi-Fi affects how your customers think about you. If you offer them a connection that they can’t count on, how do you think would that reflect on your business? If you don’t want to come off as incompetent, give your customers something—in this case, a Wi-Fi connection—that they can actually appreciate.
Security is another issue that you should be concerned about. Your Wi-Fi network should be secured from your end to the customers’ end. Take a provider that offers filtering of network traffic. It may be costly but it should be worth it. Your network should be able to block inappropriate content from certain websites. The disadvantage here, though, is that you may block some content that your customers wish to see. But weighing all options, it’s still best to protect your network and therefore secure your customers’ data, rather than compromise security to please a handful of customers.
When your store is running and customers are pouring in, you have one other issue that you need to put in mind: how are you going to keep your Wi-Fi stable? Maintenance is indeed a big factor that you should consider. The positioning of your hardware and wireless access points, among other things, should be optimized so that maintenance won’t be as hard as it sounds. The key to easy maintenance is careful installation.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is the value that comes with turning your store into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Did this added feature give your business a boost? Were you able to attract new customers and retain old ones by offering a reliable and secure internet connection? Was it an effective branding tool? Did it enhance customer experience? If you answered positively to these questions, then you’ve made the right decision in choosing to upgrade your business into a Wi-Fi hotspot. (PA)