Comcast: Wi-Fi a Better Draw Than Chocolate?

Customer satisfaction is higher in businesses that have free Wi-Fi, sometimes even more so than in businesses offering magazines, candy or water.

A national survey of entrepreneurs and small business IT decision makers conducted by Bredin Research and sponsored by Comcast Business found that businesses offering 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.

Nearly eight in 10 businesses offering Wi-Fi said it helps keep customers happy while they wait, while two-thirds said it encouraged repeat businesses, and more than half said it has brought in new customers. More than half also said providing Wi-Fi has resulted in higher sales per customer visit.

Respondents who said 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,” Comcast Business President Bill Stemper said. “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.”

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