For many small businesses — especially retailers — customers who stay longer tend to buy more.
For many small businesses — especially retailers — customers who stay longer tend to buy more. But what happens when customers overstay their welcome or they aren’t your customers at all? Think about the restaurant patron who occupies a table for hours nursing one cup of coffee. Or the people who sit in their cars in your parking lot, soaking up all that free WiFi.
Offering free WiFi is an integral part of running a small business today. Customers and guests expect it, but they can also take advantage of it. That leaves business owners treading a fine line between providing an important amenity and encouraging what amounts to virtual loitering.
When setting up a free guest WiFi network, business owners should set parameters for how long they allow guests to access the network and communicate those parameters on their WiFi splash page so there are no surprises. Guest access can be time-limited during normal business hours or even shut off during after hours, on weekends or other times the business isn’t open.
It’s important to give your customers the access they need, but it’s not a good idea to become a hangout for non-paying customers. After all, why provide free guest WiFi when it doesn’t at least have the potential to lead to increased sales or customer loyalty?