Non-users have concerns
Fears of tech support (33 percent), employee distraction (33 percent) and costs (32 percent) are reasons cited for not offering Wi-Fi to patrons.
A national survey of entrepreneurs and small business IT decision makers conducted by Bredin Research and sponsored by Comcast Business found that offering free Wi-Fi works better at keeping customers happy than common "waiting area" conveniences like candy, water or magazines. These "Main Street" businesses that offer Wi-Fi — coffee shops, bars, restaurants, retailers, doctor's offices and others — are leveraging the service to attract new clientele, improve customer loyalty and raise their profile within the community.
“Main Street businesses and entrepreneurs of all types recognize that wireless Internet access is a must for their patrons, and that providing free Wi-Fi can give them a competitive edge.”
Respondents who indicated that they do not currently offer Wi-Fi also understand the benefits of offering the service in their location, and overwhelmingly their intention is to offer it in the near future. Those that do not plan on offering it – predominantly those that have been in business for 20 or more years – cite concerns over tech support, employee distraction and cost.
"Main Street businesses and entrepreneurs of all types recognize that wireless Internet access is a must for their patrons, and that providing free Wi-Fi can give them a competitive edge," said Bill Stemper, president, Comcast Business. "More and more, we are seeing that if a business provides Wi-Fi now to its employees for business purposes, extending access to its customers is a logical next step that is a way to keep them coming back in the future. Given the challenges that small businesses face in today's uncertain economy, we are encouraged that technologies like Wi-Fi will help sustain growth."
An eWEEK Property
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