I love working at coffee shops. It can be a nice change of scenery to get my creative mind flowing. Recently I went to a local coffee shop; a very popular brand with multiple locations in this area.
I have no other way to say this than their Wi-Fi was awful! This was not the first time or only location that I had similar issues with their Wi-Fi. It's consistently awful.
Being able to connect to Wi-Fi should be easy but this was painful. I had a very hard time trying to connect and had to bother one of their employees multiple times. it's not their job but they tried. Once I did get connected it was super slow and kept dropping off.
It also lacked some simple security that would protect them and their customers.
After several attempts and a bunch of frustration for me and their employee, I picked up my stuff and went across the street to their competitor.
More importantly, I don't go there anymore, even though I love their coffee, unless I don't have any reason to use Wi-Fi. Guess what else? I also tell my friends and colleagues not to go there if they want reliable Wi-Fi.
Offer secure reliable Wi-Fi to reap the benefits.
Today's mobile lifestyle has made your customers desire reliable Wi-Fi on demand. It has become a business standard and an expectation from your employees, customers and vendors.
Done well, your brand is increased. Done poorly and your brand declines.
Set up right you have a powerful customer insight and marketing tool that can increase customer loyalty and share of wallet. Set up poorly, it's a security hazard and poor performer that reflects poorly on your business and opens the door to hackers.
I have no idea how much money this coffee shop loses a day because of poor Wi-Fi but as a business person I know they do.
Every business should follow these 3 Wi-Fi rules.
1) Offer secure reliable Wi-Fi that matches your customers and employees expecations or don't offer it at all.
2) Offer It. It's a business marketing tool that your competitors will gladly use against you.
3) Configure it to gain customer insights and deliver marketing messages so it is more than just an expense.
Remember customers will leave you if you don't have reliable Wi-Fi and your competitor does. I had an appointment with a new doctor, I waited 30 minutes beyond my appointment time for them to call me in. They had no Wi-Fi in thier waiting area. i have to say the wait would have breezed by if I could connect my laptop and get some stuff done. Yes i am switching doctors over Wi-Fi.
What does it take to turn Wi-Fi into an advantage instead of a liability?
Simple. Don't do it yourself unless you are an expert. Hire a professional to strategically plan, configure, install the right equiptment and make sure it is secure. Sound expensive? It's not.
A small business will usually run to a place like Best Buy and buy a Wi-Fi router for $200 - $300 bucks. The sales person will have made their recommendations and you will go back and set it up following those step-by-step instructions.
You will actually feel pretty good about yourself when you get it to work, not suspecting that you might have issues lurking beneath the surface.
Understanding things like, drop spots, if the router can handle the diverse number of connections, or has the speed to deliver data to all the people connecting are important. When it doesn't work right you and you customers know it.
More importantly you probably don't understand much about Wi-Fi security; like the difference between WPA2 or WEP and what to use. You might not set up a guest network correctly or know why you need one.
Hackers have found wireless networks relatively easy to to break into and even use your wireless to hack into your wired networks.
A simple $99 device, that anyone can buy, is all that is needed to hack into your Wi-Fi.
By the way these would be hackers love stealing your data and infecting you with Ransomware. They sell the data they collect on the dark web by the record much like dealers sell Adderall on the streets for a few bucks.
Of course security is the biggest issue in theory but lost opportunity or lost productivity are the things you will feel daily.
A small cost for a big reward.
For a few hundred dollars more you can have a Free Wi-Fi consultation that will enable you with a business grade router with the right security, that can scale and give you the marketing messaging and customer insights that help drive business.
As small businesses we are always looking for ways to save. Wi-Fi is not the place to worry about a few hundred dollars though. In the grand scheme of things, done right, it will do way more for your business than doing it poorly.
Restech is a Full-Suite IT & Cybersecurity firm that manages hundreds of secure Wi-Fi access points and configurations for small businesses to complex and multi-location enviroments. Get your Free Wi-Fi consultation today and start driving more business tomorrow.