Investing in customer WiFi is a smart bet for retailers. Well designed and implemented customer WiFi improves customer loyalty, increases sales, and opens the door for additional and profitable uses of WiFi technology.
However, for organizations with multiple remote retail locations, rolling out new guest WiFi can be a massive project. In many cases, it doesn’t make sense to handle the job in-house. Asking internal IT teams to manage such a large project distracts them from their core responsibilities, and can cause delays in rollout. For these organizations, hiring a third party with expertise in customer WiFi implementations is a smart move.
Be aware that not all rollout partners are created equal. Here are the 6 best, and the one worst thing to look for in your customer WiFi rollout partner, starting with the worst:
Worst Way to Choose a Rollout Partner: Lowest Quoted Cost
Large scale WiFi rollouts are complex and impact many facets of your business. If you put out an RFP for an implementation partner, it’s a bad idea to choose your provider solely based on lowest price. While price is certainly an important factor, even more important is their experience, reputation, and ability to rollout effectively and efficiently.
Efficiency is critical because your project costs escalate quickly if you stretch out the project timeline. Meanwhile, while the rollout is delayed, you also miss out on all the benefits your installation should be delivering during that time. The effectiveness of your rollout impacts customer satisfaction, another reason to avoid choosing on the basis of lowest cost.
Another problem with choosing the lowest bid is that occasionally, a provider will misjudge the cost of rolling out and give you a quote that is lower than they can actually afford. When this happens, there’s a risk they will requote the project part way through, or in some extreme instances walk off the project, leaving you in a bind.
Instead of focusing solely on project cost, look for these 5 criteria in your provider.
Look for a WiFi rollout partner that has deep portfolio of deployment successes on similar rollout projects. Every project is a little different, and site variations can create significant complexity. When you work with an experienced partner, they’ll know how to manage the complexity and avoid implementation mistakes. They’ll also have processes and systems in place to address problems before they arise. An experienced provider will also be more successful in optimizing each WiFi installation for best results based on site conditions and project goals.
Make sure that your partner can demonstrate not only a wide portfolio of customer WiFi rollouts, but also that those rollouts resulted in highly satisfied customers. Ask for references and check their reputation in your network. Unfortunately, too many organizations get away with suboptimal work because retailers don’t take this important step in the selection process.
Three: Nationwide Footprint
If you’ve got locations spread across the country, your rollout partner should too. Otherwise, you’re going to spend portions of your budget paying for plane tickets and waiting on crews to arrive on site. Or, worse, your installations will be handled by locally outsourced teams that do not share the parent company’s work ethic, quality commitment, experience, or reputation.
Four: Tiger Team Capability
Every major WiFi project will face unique challenges. To help ensure your rollout goes off without a hitch, it’s important to have a Tiger Team on your side. A Tiger Team is a group of highly skilled, hand-picked people who are tenacious about problem-solving. Having one dedicated to your rollout means that any problems that arise will be addressed quickly and efficiently, reducing or eliminating negative impacts on your project.
In addition to the width of their footprint, your rollout team should have the resources to scale to your size. Check that they have the team size and depth to handle all your stores. Ask them to provide you with a realistic timeline for your installation based on their existing resources. They should be able to deliver within a few months, not years, and demonstrate the resources to support that pace.
Six: Multi-Platform Expertise
In a complex rollout, there will be many technologies and platforms involved, all of which will need to be integrated with the WiFi. Choose a partner with extensive experience in integrating different technologies, platforms, networks, and systems.
If you’re considering a customer WiFi rollout this year, we’d love to talk to you about how we can help. We plan, engineer, and execute on WiFi implementations for chains with 500 stores to 5000 stores all over the United States, and we do it quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Call us.