You are likely hearing more and more about how the customer experience (CX) is the most important business priority and measure of business success, this is especially true with respect to businesses in the retail and restaurant space. Customer WiFi access is becoming central to this effort, and in turn is providing retailers and restauranteurs with the opportunity to gather new insights from customers’
in-store interactions and behaviors, paving the way to an improved customer experience.
So, what are the specific table-stakes for a quality in-store customer experience these days? Well, recent studies have found the following:
The benefits of providing WiFi access
Customer WiFi access is a clear table-stake in delivering a satisfactory customer experience. However, not all WiFi solutions are created equal. Slow WiFi that doesn’t meet up to the customer’s home and office connections could be worse than no WiFi at all. But back to the point…
Customers are more likely to engage with your business digitally with WiFi access in place – they will gladly connect with you in exchange for instant in-store promotions or loyalty rewards. A strong WiFi solution also enables your staff to use tablets to assist customers in checking on inventory, and checking them out via mobile POS which brings the interaction to the customer, rather than the customer having to seek out associates at a register. This type of uninterrupted interaction leads to a higher likelihood of purchase and an improved customer experience.
What about all the intelligence you can gather via your WiFi solution?
Let’s start with the types of data you can gather from your WiFi solution:
Demographic data: Delivers information such as age, gender, income, interests, etc. that helps build out a customer profile for future customized targeting. Collect this data via a WiFi access splash page (which also provides some prime real estate for promotions) or use social WiFi as an access method – requiring they “like” your store/restaurant’s Facebook page or tweet, something about your business in order to access WiFi – this connection of a social media profile to an otherwise anonymous device delivers lots of valuable demographic data.
So, what are some examples of ways you can use this data? Just to name a few:
Obviously, the more data you gather, the more customized you can be. But, even broadly speaking, your WiFi solution makes it easy to promote events and offers to your customers.
Digital transformation, security and IT headaches
Smaller businesses tend to be nimbler, allowing them to make the digital transformation a bit easier than larger geo-dispersed operations, and investing in a smart WiFi access solution does not have to break the bank. While some of the trends mentioned (such as mobile scan-and-go technology) are a bit more involved than simply providing free WiFi to customers, most of these topics stem directly from simple in-store WiFi access via an analytics-focused WiFi solution.
However smaller businesses are less likely to have IT departments – specifically local retailers, franchisers and restaurants. This makes ease of installation and ease of access to the analytics of paramount importance.
We all know that if customer experience is a top priority, security is right up there with it. While the subject of this blog post is focused on harnessing the power of WiFi analytics and meeting customers’ digital in-store expectations, it is not lost on us that you must provide a highly secure “intelligence-gathering” WiFi solution. While that’s fodder for another post entirely, rest assured that secure WiFi solutions that are simple to install (really, just plug and play) do exist.
Solutions like Secure WiFi & Analytics, can do just this – provide in-store WiFi that meets customer expectations while gathering usage, foot traffic and demographic data which is accessible through a simple cloud-based management tool – all while being protected by WIPS (wireless intrusion protection system), meeting PCI compliance standards, and featuring “zero-touch” plug-and-play installation. To further guarantee security, you can also run your WiFi off a private, secure MPLS network.
A little WiFi can go a long way when it comes to improving your customer experience. In fact, I would venture to say it’s probably the lowest hanging fruit out there when discussing customer experience and digital transformation for SMBs.
Michael Flannery is SVP Customer Advocacy and is responsible for overseeing customer advocacy, inside sales, and the overall customer experience for mid-market and enterprise segments. Flannery previously served as SVP Sales, Marketing & Operations for the Mid-Market & Small and Medium Business unit.
Flannery joined Windstream in February 2017 from EarthLink, where he was SVP and managing director of their SMB unit, and previously SVP of Sales and Revenue Operations. Prior to EarthLink, Flannery held positions of VP of Large Enterprise & Wholesale Business Operations for Level 3, as well key roles at Global Crossing, including VP Commercial Finance & Strategic Planning, and chief of staff for the Enterprise BU. Earlier, Flannery served in a variety of finance, sales, and consulting roles at Xerox.
He holds an MBA with an emphasis in finance and information systems from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School and a bachelor’s in accounting from Binghamton University.
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