A survey recently sponsored by Comcast shows that free WiFi is now one of the best things that a small businesses can offer to their customers. This survey included responses from over 600 employees and managers at companies with fewer than 100 employees.
It used to be that magazines and free coffee was about the best you could expect if you were waiting for your muffler to be replaced, or hanging out at a bar waiting for your friends to arrive. But times have changed, and in order to both attract new customers and keep loyal ones happy, businesses are finding that one of the best things they can do is to offer a free public hotspot.
Many of the survey’s respondents who did not offer free WiFi both understand why it would be beneficial to do so, and most plan to offer it in the near future.
Below are some of the survey’s findings:
- Small business owners report that free WiFi is most effective at making their customers feel welcome, better than magazines, candy, or even water.
- Nearly 80% of small businesses report that free WiFi keeps customers happy while they wait. Nearly two thirds report that it has led to repeat customers, and more than half of the businesses believe that free WiFi has brought in new customers.
- 55% of small businesses say that free WiFi leads to higher customer sales per visit.
- 67% of the businesses who promoted their public WiFi expected increased revenues compared to only 50% of those who didn’t offer WiFi.
- Those businesses that offered public WiFi also reported increased productivity among their own employees, including accessing corporate resources, tracking inventory, and holding teleconferences with business partners and customers.
There is no doubt that small businesses can increase their customer base and keep their current customers happy by offering free WiFi. One must wonder, though, if these businesses are doing a good job at educating their customers about the dangers inherent to public WiFi, and ensuring that their customers are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves, like using a VPN.
While everyone appreciates being able to log into a public WiFi network right when they want it, no one will have a satisfying customer experience if they have their private information stolen.