Offering free Wi-Fi can benefit your business on multiple levels. Find out why it’s in your best interest to offer this extra service to your customers. While you’re at it, you will also need to know which steps to take before you open up free Wi-Fi access at your business
1. Why should I offer free Wi-Fi to my customers?
Many brands, big ones notwithstanding, offer their clients free access to Wi-Fi. So why not join the party? When you offer this free service, you’ll attract a young and urban clientele to your premises, freelancers and “digital nomads” if you will. You will also increase loyalty amongst your existing local clients by creating a close relationship with them. You can take the opportunity to suggest they “like” your Facebook page. Or leave a positive review about your company. What’s more, passersby who stop at your business to take advantage of your free Wi-Fi might come back and even turn into new clients. Making Wi-Fi available to your customers will also give your company a “modern” feel that will help you stand out from your competitors. And finally, establishing yourself as one of your neighbourhood’s free Internet hotspots will inevitably provide you with exposure.
- On average, a Smartphone addict will check their phone 150 times per day.
- Your clients expect you to bring them a fast, reliable and secure connection. Your speed also needs to be fast enough to guarantee the best possible user experience.
- To ensure coverage on your entire premises, you might need to install “relay points”
2. What requirements do I need to follow?
When a business offers free Wi-Fi to their clients, there are two possible scenarios. You can either call upon an Internet Provider (IP), in which case it is up to them to complete the necessary steps. The other option is you can contact a telephone operator directly, set up your business and manage your clients’ Wifi access yourself. In this case, you’re the access provider! But be aware that as of March 24, 2006, you are the one who will be held responsible in case of the fraudulent use of your connection. In addition to forbidding illegal downloads, you will also be requested to facilitate the identification of your Wi-Fi users, as well as track connection traces. This means you need to save:
- Any information (IP address, telephone numbers, email addresses) that could identify anyone who has used your Wi-Fi network within the last year (in case of an investigation, the police or other authority could ask you to provide these records),
- The dates, times and lengths of the communication carried out at your place of business;
- The data needed to track this communication and identify their recipients.
- The characteristics of devices used, (Smartphone, laptop, tablet…)
But take note. While you do need to archive any “data that allows for the identification of a user” (or else be liable for prison time and a € 75 000 fine), you are not required to reveal the identity of your clients. Finally, you are not permitted to access or save, by your own initiative, either the content of emails sent via your Wi-Fi network or the consulted websites.
Key Points to Remember:
- Offering free Wi-Fi will help you attract new clients and build loyalty with your old ones.
- By encouraging users to “like” your Facebook page or leave reviews, you are strengthening your e-reputation.
- For one year, you need to save certain data that allows for the identification of users on your Wi-Fi network.