Imagine your day without WiFi—can you? No checking work email on your phone as you ride the subway. No catching up on social networks in a spare moment. No video conferencing or media streaming or cloud collaboration. In fact, to picture a day entirely without WiFi, you might have to picture a day lounging on a remote beach. (Maybe not even then!)
If a regular day without wireless internet access seems unimaginable for you, why would you let your small business go without it? Your business needs WiFi—yesterday. Here are five reasons why.
1. Promotes Productivity
WiFi increases your company’s productivity in a number of ways. Cloud-based apps allow you to work from just about anywhere and collaborate with partners around the world. They securely back up data and files automatically, ready for you to access from anywhere. Frequently, cloud-based apps also perform multiple functions, consolidating the tasks of several old programs into one and streamlining workflow. They also require no equipment or installation time.
Voice over IP (VoIP) and other internet-based communication technologies keep your customers and employees connected while also saving you money and hassle. They scale up easily, are flexible enough for distributed teams, and offer a high level of redundancy to protect you from outages.
But to take advantage of all these solutions offer, you need fast and reliable business-grade WiFi to support them.
2. Increases Customer Satisfaction and Ambassadorship
Customers no longer view WiFi access as a perk at businesses they patronize; they see it as a necessity. Not providing WiFi to your customers can hurt your business. Particularly in the hospitality industry, WiFi access (or the lack thereof) can be a definite dealbreaker when customers are selecting a hotel or cafe to visit. For while-you-wait service providers (such as auto mechanics) or other by-appointment businesses (like doctor’s offices, salons, and legal practices), WiFi can help wait times go by more quickly and mitigate the frustration of delays.
But more than merely meeting a common customer expectation, in-store wireless internet access helps you to connect with your customers, engaging them in your company and in promoting your brand. An app providing customers with benefits like a map to products they’re interested in, location-based coupons, curated recommendations, and the like will help give customers a personal, meaningful experience with your business.
Providing wireless internet access allows customers to conduct product research in-store before making more informed purchasing decisions. Additionally, customer WiFi offers your company branding and marketing opportunities. Set up a branded customer portal to deliver coupons, news, customized recommendations, loyalty rewards, even (as Starbucks does) curated music playlists…while also collecting customer email addresses and data.
Additionally, offering WiFi invites customers to post pictures or testimonials of your establishment to their social networks, says Matt Allpress in “The Connected Customer Is Always Right.” This acts as “free promotion for your business across various social media outlets” and provides social proof potential customers will use in future decision-making. And, with advances in security technology, it’s easier than ever to secure your customer-facing wireless connection. Set up separate access for customers using an encrypted Service Set Identifier (SSID) access point, and rest assured that your confidential business information is safe.
3. Increases Employee Satisfaction
If you’ve ever sat, frustrated, staring at a loading screen, then you know what a difference a good WiFi connection makes for your productivity (and your mood). For employees to be at their most productive and happiest, they need to be able to count on their tools and programs. Help your employees do their jobs better and faster, with less frustration, with a speedy and reliable WiFi connection.
A wireless internet connection gives flexibility to employees, as well, freeing them up to work from a quieter space down the hall or the thriving coffee shop next door rather than being tethered to their cubes. By allowing each employee to find an environment that best suits him or her at a particular time (and with cloud-based collaboration tools, that environment might be home), you increase productivity and employee satisfaction.
4. Increases Profits, Cost Effectively
All of the above business benefits come hand-in-hand with WiFi. Cost effective and requiring little in the way of equipment or installation time, WiFi clearly offers significant ROI.
Choose a WiFi Provider For Your Business Today
Convinced WiFi is the way to go? Here are some questions to consider to evaluate your usage needs.
- What is your budget for internet access?
- What is your current internet setup?
- Will you be offering customer access, or WiFi for employees only?
- How many users are likely to be using wireless internet at once?
- Will other, non-computing equipment such as a phone system be connected to the WiFi as well?
- Will you need email accounts, security, and similar solutions?
The answers to these questions will help your provider meet your needs as effectively as possible.