How free Wi-Fi makes people happy
And more productive
Staying “up to date” with customers in small business waiting rooms now means much more than rotating out past issues of magazines. A recent survey by Bredin Research showed that providing free Wi-Fi goes much further than offering reading materials, candy or water.
“Businesses and entrepreneurs of all types recognize that wireless Internet access is a must for their patrons, and that providing free Wi-Fi can give them a competitive edge,” says Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business, which sponsored the study. “More and more, we are seeing that if a business provides Wi-Fi now to its employees for business purposes, extending access to its customers is a logical next step that is a way to keep them coming back in the future. Given the challenges that small businesses face in today’s uncertain economy, we are encouraged that technologies like Wi-Fi will help sustain growth.”
At Comcast Business in Colorado, our Business Wireless Gateway service includes the ability to run public Wi-Fi for customer use. The public Wi-Fi is included as part of the overall Internet service fee, as long as a minimum speed is purchased.
“We at the Runyon Field Sports Complex are extremely pleased to be partnering with Comcast Business to allow free Wi-Fi at our facility,” says David Dudley, Director of Operations at Runyon Field in Pueblo. “This will allow us to be much more efficient in all areas that a sports complex uses daily.
"We can now make better use of programs such as Square and Gamechanger, and with the multitude of vendors we deal with all the time. Our baseball fans can now also have up-to-the-minute information about games and important information that we need to get out to the public. Our business efficiency will certainly improve with this valuable addition to the ballpark.”
Small businesses wanting to follow in their footsteps, according to the study, would do well to start with Wi-Fi—if they haven’t already. Those surveyed, 602 principals and IT decision makers at companies with 100 or fewer employees in the U.S., agreed that Wi-Fi helps keep waiting customers happy (79 percent); increases sales (55 percent); and makes patrons feel more welcome than magazines (94 percent), community bulletin boards (91 percent), candy (90 percent) or water (86 percent).
Those with concerns about offering free Wi-Fi—mostly those in business for at least two decades—cite fears of needing tech support (33 percent), employee distractions (33 percent) and cost (32 percent). Even so, of those that don’t currently offer it, 61 percent report they will either consider it or plan to provide it soon. And if they’re still concerned it will hurt productivity? Some 93 percent of respondents said it actually enhances productivity instead.