Have you ever been stuck as a customer in a large structure that functions like a black hole for cellular and broadband wifi?

If you have, you know the fury-inducing helplessness that accompanies being cut off from instantaneous access to whatever data you want.  If you own or manage any business that has a captive audience for more than a few minutes, this article is directed at you in hopes of aiding in the reduction of your clients’ stress and the enhancement of your customer service reputation.

I’ve written several articles previously on the fact that an inability to access data all of the time is good – and how to manage it – but the truth of the matter is if you haven’t planned for it, or you’re frequently caught in one of these places, it’s likely to be far less serenity-enhancing and far more stress-inducing.  The effect of this inability to access data actually reduces your productivity instead of enhancing it if you had planned to work through your GTD @Phone or @Internet contexts. In fact, if you find it particularly troublesome, you may find this piece on “iDisorders” of interest.

If you’re one of the folks who owns or manages a business, such as a restaurant, grocery store, car repair shop, department store, office building, or hospital whose building functions like a cellular black hole, and you aren’t providing free wifi, you’re making your clients’ lives more stressful.  I’m likely to stop being your client over this, whereas some others might tolerate it long enough to boost their blood pressure to dangerous levels.  It’s like the old adage about boiling a frog (although I would never advocate such a thing); if you throw it in hot water, it jumps out.  If you slowly raise the temperature, the frog sits comfortably until it overheats dangerously.

It’s 2012. If you can afford to operate a business that caters to customers who are required to wait, you can afford to save them from a dark hellhole of no broadband cellular signal.  You can do this by providing free wifi so they can access data services.

Solving this problem, and making your clients happier (or at least less stressed), is easy. Two effective solutions are:

  • Install a wifi access point and make it free for clients. Invest in a lot of bandwidth…more than you think you need. At least as much as your geeky neighbor kid says you need. Ask him or her. You’ll probably get a good answer.  If you find you bought more wifi than your customers are using, yet you still have a waiting area full of customers, try streaming some movies or the news to a tv connected to the router.
  • Install microcell repeaters. Pricey, but worth it in client satisfaction if you have a captive clientele.  Sure, the ability to access free broadband wifi will satisfy a great many people – clients and employees on break – but the ability to make calls inside a building that otherwise blocks them due to weak signal is a huge boon to everyone who has a phone.

(Photo credit: Wifi Road Sign via Shutterstock)

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