In many types of business—including doctors, dentists, mechanics, car dealerships, salons, hospitals, accounting practices, and much more, a customer’s visit can mean a lot of time spent waiting. In fact, for many customers, the majority of their contact with you will be time spent in your waiting room. How are you making sure that their experience is the best it could be?
As consumers adopt more and more technology into their personal lives, expectations of what they should be able to do while they’re waiting have increased dramatically. It used to be that comfortable chairs, a few good magazines, and a good selection of snacks and beverages were all you needed to make a good impression. These days, however, with the power of just a mobile device, let alone a laptop or other device, customers expect to be able to entertain themselves, watch the end of the game, or simply be connected and productive while they wait.
How are you making sure that your waiting room is welcoming customers in and not driving them away? Wi-Fi, television, and other technology workspaces are the key.
Wi-Fi, the Gateway to Everything
Think about the last time you had visitors over to your house. What was the first thing they needed from you? How long did it take them to ask you about your wireless network information?
Whether they’re using their phone, their laptop, a tablet, or another device, Wi-Fi, and a solid connection to go with it, is the technology that they’ll rely on to do what they want to do while they wait. Make sure that you have a router that is equipped to handle the number of users that you expect to have. The key to good connectivity is solid placement: the router should be in a central location, higher up, and not beaming through walls, piping or other electronic devices.
Bandwidth that Delivers
Behind that Wi-Fi, you need a solid broadband connection that will deliver everything your employees and your customers need smoothly and efficiently. There are a lot of factors that go into getting a consistent, high-speed connection for everyone logging in.
Bandwidth is the most important number to look at, and you want to make sure you have enough of it to support the number of users you expect logged in at any given moment. How much is enough? A good rule of thumb is to have about 3-4 Mbps per user, enough to make sure everyone has the connectivity they need. That number is always going up, though, and it’s better to have your connection be too fast than too slow.
How Free Internet Can Pay Big Dividends
Why is it so important to offer free internet connectivity? For one thing, there’s a good chance your competitors are already, and if you’re not, it’s a competitive disadvantage.
Additionally, it’s a box that you can check on Yelp and other review sites. In fact, if you’re not offering customer WiFi, there’s a chance you won’t even show up on a potential customer’s radar.
There’s also the fact that in a 2014 Devicescape Study the majority of businesses surveyed reported that customers stayed longer and spent more money when they offered this amenity. If you’re afraid of comparison shopping, you shouldn’t be. Most consumers want to see what the competition has to offer before they buy, and studies now show that customers will not make a purchase until they get that chance. You can help them along in the decision-making process by letting them shop around and simultaneously educating them about your products.
Most importantly, you can use your network sign-in to your advantage by including an opt-in to contact your customers in the future. After all, the majority of customers won’t bat an eye at a registration page to sign into your network since it’s now a common practice. It’s a good idea for you to have a record of who has accessed your network and at the same time, you can later create specific email campaigns to drive sales and bring customers back to the store.
Wi-Fi registration is a great way to build a mailing list, and if you combine it with other technologies like automated marketing, or discount offers that can spike foot traffic, you have a powerful new way to give your business a boost. You can incentivize things like social media posts or location check-ins, which help to raise awareness for your brand.
Why TV Still Matters
Even though many people rely on their wireless connection more than ever before for entertainment, there are still things that TV does that you just can’t replace. Nobody wants to be stuck in a waiting room while their team is playing a pivotal game, their favorite artist is up for an award, or an important news situation is breaking live.
Make sure that your customers have what they need by offering TV in your waiting room. It remains a surprisingly “sticky” medium— people will “stick” around to catch the end of a game or show that they started watching, just to see how it turns out. This can lead to more sales as they spend more time at your business.
What You Can Do Right Now
Even though you might think of it as a necessary inconvenience for customers on their way to great service, your waiting room will leave a lasting impression. Customers expect to be connected, productive, and entertained. Luckily, it doesn’t take that much to stand out from the crowd.
Make sure your Wi-Fi can support the number of users you expect to have and double-check the placement of your router.
Get more than enough bandwidth to meet every user’s needs, and plan for more.
Leverage registration to build a mailing list and get customers back to your business.
Don’t forget about TV to keep your customers informed, entertained and relaxed while waiting.
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