As a small or medium business owner, you may feel that guest Wi-Fi is just another thing to add to a growing checklist of ‘must haves’. However, this doesn't mean you should pick the first Wi-Fi solution you see so you can move on to the next task on your list. Guest Wi-Fi shouldn't be overlooked as it can function as way more than just a mere internet connection; it can be a beneficial business tool.
Here are five ways to maximise your enterprise-class guest Wi-Fi for your business:
1. Pick a secure Wi-Fi product and let guests know how secure it is
Always think security first. A customer registration service that enables guests to sign-in simply and securely is a must.
You're ultimately responsible for the ‘data usage’ on the network, but you’re not a networking specialist, so you want to provide easy, secure guest access right out of the box. Once you’ve installed a secure product, let your guests know that their data is safe and that your connection is secure, so that they feel at ease using the Wi-Fi connection.
2. A speedy Wi-Fi connection can increase efficiency
While a fast connection generally shows your guests that you’ve made a suitable investment in your Wi-Fi, there are other benefits to a speedier connection too. These can be allowing a guest to quickly gain access to the information they need during a meeting, enabling them to contact a member of staff for further information more swiftly and empowering them to make use of helpful applications to get around the building with ease.
Availability needs to be constant even when users move between access points or if they cluster around one in particular. It just pivots the bandwidth seamlessly. That means no web conference or video outages, no buffering issues and absolutely no 'spinning ball of death’. Having a reliable, fast connection will ensure customers and other guests will not be put off coming back to your premises.
3. Keep your trusted Wi-Fi visible
It’s important the wireless access points on your business premises are virtually and physically visible. Cisco’s Steven Heinsius has a simple rule that says: “If you can see the logo, you’re probably good to go”.
So, don’t hide your access point in a cupboard or behind a brick wall. Make sure there’s a free line of sight between the access points and the users. An extra advantage is that your customers can see that the access point they connect to is actually yours and that you are providing secure enterprise-class Wi-Fi.
4. Intelligent Wi-Fi prioritises the most important traffic
Imagine you're presenting to customers on a video call and the signal drops out because someone else in the office is streaming a live Tennis match – not an ideal scenario! With the right product installed, your network would be able to prioritise an important video conference call rather than an employee streaming a YouTube video.
This is done on what's called ‘Layer 7 QoS’ (Quality of Service at layer 7, which is the application layer). This would ensure that the quality of the video call is completely clear first and foremost, and only then considers the bandwidth necessary for the YouTube video.
5. Use Wi-Fi Analytics to grow your business
While many of the business benefits of having a secure, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi network are reputational and help with both productivity and efficiency, there is also an opportunity to gain some business intelligence by analysing guest usage.
With sophisticated products, small businesses can know how often a guest visits, how long they stay at their premises and how often they come back. Most powerful of all, you can create marketing messages and 'push' these messages to specific customer segments (if your guest has consented to this). You can design digital customer experiences, make personalised offers to customers and help your business grow.
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