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Best Practices: Guest WiFi Policy

With remote working being more common, small towns and major metropolitan cities are finding their spaces more and more crowded with people who explore and travel while working. The remote working movement has caught on in giant leaps in 2020 and the trend is not slowing down.

This means quick service retailers, coffee shops and taprooms across the country are finding their spaces with more remote workers. Who need fast WiFi, a good space to work for a few hours and food. Is your business prepared to jump in on this opportunity?

How To Implement Guest WiFi That Adds Value

What does a successful implementation of a guest WiFi policy look like for businesses of all sizes?

With remote working growing in popularity globally, the influx of tech workers in small towns and big cities can be felt by coffee shops and quick service retailers. Beautiful spaces are crowded with lap tops for hours with little or no room for businesses to attract new paying customers or encourage more purchases.

With remote working being an accepted practice in today’s modern world, establishing a guest WiFi policy that encourages good consumer behavior is key for coffee shop owners and quick service operators. A WiFi infrastructure that supports access to guest WiFi with time-limits and encourages more purchases is a much needed solution. Meanwhile, the add on benefits of sharing personalized messaging around your brand increases awareness for your brand.

Invest in a cloud network and WiFi infrastructure

Investing in the right network infrastructure for your storefront is essential. Your investment costs may end up being more than what your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will offer with their “package,” in the long-term you’ll be saving more, while ringing in more sales in your POS.

  • Don’t just say yes to a mediocre router that is included in your package, ask your ISP for a cloud access point.
  • In this post, we talk about the most prevalent cloud access point solutions. 
  • Ask your ISP or network provider to give you access to your organization’s WiFi access point admin dashboard 
  • Make sure you’re using a captive portal that allows time-limits
  • Can your captive portal seamlessly capture customer data, so you can personalize your marketing content?
  • If you choose to, can your captive portal control guest WiFi time-limits while associating it with a purchase?

When it comes to your network infrastructure and cloud access points, an essential part of your decision should be focused on ease of use for you, your team and your guests. 

“Being one of the main coffee shops near New York University you can imagine how our 3 locations is an extension of the library or the office. GoGoGuest is an excellent solution for us."

Ike Escava, Owner, The Bean NYC, New York City Tweet

Set a clear guest WiFi policy

Start with setting clear guidelines on when and how your guests can use your guest WiFi.

Here are some examples of policies we’ve implemented for thousands of coffee shops and quick service retail operators:

  • Set guest WiFi access hours. This is usually during your store’s open hours. 
  • Use a branded captive portal. A captive portal is an easy way to introduce your storefront visitors to your brand. There are a few ways to properly implement a branded  captive portal: request for guest information, set time-limits and attach a purchase with the time-limits.
  • Limit access to specific applications. Depending on your area, your bandwidth may be limited. If you have limited bandwidth, make sure you control the access to video and music streaming applications like Netflix, Hulu, You Tube, Spotify, Sound Cloud etc.
  • Block adult content and illegal content. Don’t encourage the consumption of adult content in your business or the use / access to illegal websites from your place of business. The FCC or other government bodies tracking these the consumption of illegal content or websites will not hesitate to send a notice that your guest WiFi is being used for illegal activities.
  • Always prioritize your critical systems over guest WiFi. With WiFi cloud access points, it is easy to prioritize and secure WiFi for critical systems like POS, kitchen printers, security system and cameras.

“With remote working encouraged by major companies, the downtowns of big cities may never look the same."

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Train your front-of-the house team

A new guest WiFi policy is a simple change to how you operate and serve your customers.  You’ll find a majority of customers will accept and support your new policy. There will be a very small percentage of your customer base who will complain ( a little).

Before you roll-out the new guest WiFi policy here are best practices for your team.

  • Provide your team with a frequently asked questions guide with detailed information about the new guest WiFi policy
  • Train them to answer questions about the change and why it is important for your business to do so
  • Remind your team that you want to attract good customers who will respect your new policy, enjoy your services and products and will remain kind to their fellow customers and to them, the front-of-the-house team.
  • If you’re using a WiFi marketing solution with powerful marketing features, educate your team about the benefits to improving the personalization for your marketing out reach, as well as, growing customer loyalty.
Couple business owners and bakers reviewing online orders

Prepare a series of communications about the new policy

Change is hard. It is almost always seen as a nuisance by many. Yet change is needed so you and your team can focus on bigger and bolder things for your brand.

Here are some messaging ideas and workflows to implement with your new guest WiFi policy.

  • Communicate the change and the benefits that come with it. Our most successful customers inform their guests by posting messages for the first few weeks in-store. Meanwhile, brands with an existing customer list reach out through email to communicate the new policy.
  • Use the power of email marketing automations. With GoGoGuest, customers gain the power of our triggered email marketing capabilities. This feature is useful tool to send a personalized message to people who accessed your guest WiFi.
  • Use email marketing to increase engagement. The pandemic in 2020 has paved the way for businesses to realize the importance of being able to reach and communicate with their customers from their inbox. For every $1 you spend on one customer, a business can potentially gain $38 back per month. A WiFi marketing solution with a robust email marketing platform is certainly a big plus for business of all sizes.

Create value for your business and your customers

Value creation for your business and your customers should be taken into consideration when implementing a new solution. 

Here’s how a WiFi marketing strategy can help your business and elevate your customer experience:

  • Better experience for you and your team. No more giving lap top campers the “stink-eye” when they’re overstaying and not purchasing.
  • Encourage good consumer behavior. Establish boundaries when customers are using your space for productivity and creativity purposes. People do not like rules, unfortunately we could all use a few rules.
  • Attract customers who value your business. Customers who are self-aware will respect your guest WiFi policy and kindly appreciate your marketing messages, specially when it is being sent with care and personalization. 
  • Grow customer loyalty. Customers who can be most productive and create their best work while enjoying your amenities, service and great food will thank you and remain engaged.

Next Steps

Don’t take our word for it. We encourage you to dive in and dig deeper. Have you read The WiFi Marketing Playbook? Produced by the GoGoGuest team, it offers actionable next steps and best practices on how to implement a guest WiFi policy and WiFi marketing strategy for your coffee shop or quick service retail business.

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