The concept of free WiFi seems like a no-brainer for businesses today, especially as a recent survey suggested that 2 in 5 people are unlikely to visit a restaurant if it didn’t offer it. There’s no denying that it’s now a customer expectation, but there are a number of things you should keep in mind when setting up your public network.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits, as well as how to go about minimising the risk.
The benefits of providing a guest WiFi network
There are a whole host of benefits that come with offering customer WiFi in your business. Here are just a few:
Increase customer satisfaction
When it comes to keeping your customers happy, free WiFi is a good place to start. In a connected world, most people want constant access to their devices, and if you aren’t offering that, then they’re unlikely to vote with their feet.
Encourage a regular customer base
Now you’ve made your customers happy, they’re much more likely to return. And with so many people opting to work remotely now, cafes and co-working spaces are becoming the place to be. Public WiFi is a great way to build connections with remote workers and freelancers in your area, and hopefully convert them into loyal customers.
Spread the word about your business
Keen to get some free marketing? A customer WiFi network could do it for you – after all, it’s basically an open invitation for people to snap their surroundings and share on social media, tagging your business while they’re at it and getting your name out there.
Top tips for setting up your public WiFi
There can be a number of important things to consider when implementing customer WiFi into your business, particularly the issue of security. Here are some of our proactive tips for seamless surfing:
Focus on security
Your business WiFi security should be at the top of your agenda, and it goes beyond just requiring a password! Small businesses are prone to cyber attacks, which can often lead to the theft of confidential data and leave companies crippled – so it’s important to take appropriate actions.
Your public network should have client isolation enabled, which will stop wireless devices from communicating with each other and prevent unwanted visitors. And of course, it’s best practice to keep core business functions like online banking and payroll on a different WiFi network to the one used by guests.
Some other measures worth taking include:
- Adjusting your guest WiFi operating hours in line with your opening hours – to ensure only your customers are using it.
- Using a hotspot gateway – this offers authentication and accounting for your network.
- Using enterprise-grade Access Points (APs) – these can identify and block malicious rogue APs, which are used to steal your information remotely.
Create a designated area for laptop users
There’s always the chance that your guest WiFi will be taken advantage of. We’ve seen it all before – a cafe that’s full of laptop users, taking up spaces that could be used by a number of different customers. To avoid this, you could create a designated space for laptop users within your business. This way, you can maintain a higher turnover of other customers, and remote workers can carry on in peace.
Go with the right broadband
While slower broadband might be the cheaper option, it’s unlikely to be one that your customers will be best pleased with. Speed is everything, and if you’re not offering it then they might head over to your competitors who are.
In order to provide the best internet connection, you’ll want to opt for the fastest possible one at your location, but also set some ‘per user’ speed limits. This will ensure no single or group of users will slow down your connection for everyone else. If your connection speed is low, consider installing and a load balancing router.
Conduct a WiFi health survey
You’ll want to keep on top of your connection’s speed and security, and the best way to do that is by carrying out a regular survey on your network. This will help to identify any problems.
We’re living in a connected society, where people are searching for ways to stay switched-on. And with businesses competing the way they are in today’s environment, it’s essential that you’re adding value at every opportunity – and guest WiFi is the perfect way to do that.
If you want advice on setting up a guest WiFi network for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.