If consumers meet friends in cafes, shop in shopping malls, stay in hotels, or sit in waiting rooms, they are probably using mobile devices and vendors have access to guest Wi-Fi.
"Not everyone has an unlimited data plan," explains Matthew Adkins, a member of the ASCII group who is the director of operations for Argyle IT solutions in Perrysburg, Ohio. "The expectation is that companies, from coffee shops and stores to doctor waiting rooms and churches, will have guest Wi-Fi. People want it, they demand it."
Managed service customers want to provide solutions that not only provide guest Managed Wifi Services, but also solutions that strengthen their business and complement their brand. Here are four guest Wi-Fi features that add value to your Wi-Fi as a guest and help set you apart from the rest.
It is essential that Wi-Fi does not represent a network security vulnerability for customers. According to Bloomfield, a smart strategy is to use VLANs to set up a completely independent guest network. Additionally, Adkins adds that the rules must be placed on the network equipment that keeps guest traffic away from the company's private network. If your customer accepts credit cards, make sure your network is PCI compliant. "You must protect yourself and your customers," says Bloomfield.
- Content Filtering
If a customer can access any website while using the merchant's network, it may not reflect well on the merchant's brand and pose a security risk. Content filtering allows customers to restrict access to certain types of websites. Bloomfield needs to help customers with a message on the "Content Blocked" page, tell them what to do if the page is accidentally blocked, manage content, and have consumer access. He says that a page's whitelisting can add value to a product.
- Welcome Page
You can give customers the option to go to the welcome page when they first sign in to Guest Wi-Fi. The first page that users see can include information about the current promotion, the calendar of events. You can also allow your suppliers and partners to advertise and offer business customers the option to earn money.
Adkins notes that some companies or organizations may have extended guest Wi-Fi service outside the four walls to outdoor dining rooms, parking lots, and more. Some of their customers say they can use a welcome page to send a welcome message that encourages people to enter.
- Captive Portal
Bloomfield says it should also offer customers the option to capture information from Wi-Fi users. You can add a form that the user must complete to allow them to use Guest Wi-Fi and provide information that the vendor can add to the CRM system. Other options include the Facebook "like door", which requires users to rate your company's Facebook page before accessing the Internet.
Advice to MSPs To Add Guest Wi-Fi To Their Managed Services
Adkins says it's important to keep the big picture in mind when choosing what guest Wi-Fi features to offer customers. "MSP is facing fierce competition. Copier vendors, locksmiths, and video surveillance providers are putting everything online," he said. "To survive, we need to provide a wireless network."
"It's worth it," he says, expanding the recurring monthly revenue-generating service to include Wi-Fi and guest Wi-Fi, he says.
"We have a book and some really good internet resources. Get equipment, try it out, and learn how it works," suggests Adkins. It also says it will use vendor resources to use partners for cabling and other tasks that the team cannot or does not have time to do. "We take advantage of these relationships," says Adkins.
Guest Wi-Fi could also be part of a total managed solution, according to Adkins. "When we sell firewalls, access points, and guest Wi-Fi, we put them all in one package and generate regular monthly income," he says. "I like to use systems designed to run together and don't require a lot of resources to manage."
Bloomfield adds that Guest Wi-Fi can open the door to MSP. “Most restaurants don't want a managed service contract, but if they offer services like guest Wi-Fi, they're a great way to step in and get an AV or digital signage. Guest Wi-Fi is an inexpensive way to add value to packages for these customers. "