Free WiFi is rapidly becoming more than just an amenity to customers—it’s an expectation. (Think about it: how many times in an average day are you frustrated that you can’t get online in a waiting room, coffee shop, or airport terminal?) Lack of free WiFi can be a dealbreaker for many customers, leading them to choose a competitor who does offer access.
Despite this reality, some businesses are hesitant to make the leap to offering free WiFi to their customers. They may worry that the costs outweigh the benefits, but the truth is that free WiFi increases both customer satisfaction and sales. Here are just a handful of the ways that free WiFi access makes for happier customers.
Encourages Customers to Linger
When provided with free WiFi at cafes or restaurants, customers tend to linger—using what would have been a quick stop for coffee to catch up with their social media or check their email. Typically, they spend more during these extended visits: one latte easily turns into two or even three, plus a snack or a bottle of water… According to a survey highlighted on Small Biz Trends, as many as 62% of businesses pointed out that customers spend more time in their facility or shop if WiFi access is offered.
If you’re concerned about table turnover despite this trend in increased sales, consider implementing several “express” tables with a 30-minute limit and no laptops allowed, restricting WiFi access during peak hours, or requiring a minimum purchase to obtain the code.
Makes Wait Times Seem Shorter
At businesses where customers must wait for service (such as auto repair, doctor’s or dentist’s offices, or legal practices) free WiFi helps wait times fly by. When customers are being productive or entertained during their wait, they are less likely to be frustrated by its length—even if delays occur.
Nurtures Community Development
WiFi access not only gives individual customers a great excuse to linger at your business, it also provides reason for groups to gather there. The SMB owner WiFi survey found that 20% of businesses offering free WiFi positioned themselves as “community hubs.”
Co-working teams, church groups, sports clubs, and writers’ groups are just a few of the communities who might frequent your business in part because of its WiFi access. In addition to becoming regulars themselves, these groups will spread the word about your business to new members and other acquaintances, increasing your visibility to new customers.
Extends Your Brand and Inspires Brand Ambassadorship
Free WiFi is an excellent opportunity for you to extend your branding and promote that brand to customers. Set up an eye-catching splash page wherecustomers log in for WiFi. Once users are registered, email them updates and coupons, or send in-store SMS discounts to increase sales. Invite patrons to follow your social media accounts and engage with your company.
Find ways for your free WiFi to add even more value to your customer experience, and you’ll likely soon discover that patrons are using that access to advocate for your business. The Comcast and Bredin study found that small businesses who offered and actively promoted free WiFi felt that “customers [were] more likely to promote these businesses through their social media channels.”
In today’s hyper-digital, on-the-go society, free WiFi is ceasing to be a perk. Customers not only expect free access, they use it as a criterion for deciding which businesses to patronize and which to pass over. Is your small business losing customer goodwill—and sales—by failing to offer it?
— Vikram Waman Karve (@vikramwkarve) October 21, 2016
A tweet by retired naval officer speaks the growing need of free WiFi and he is not even a teenager. So, imagine what will be the reactions of young people. Next time when young crowd comes to your venue, don’t disappoint them.
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