Many aspects of our lives changed in the wake of 2020’s COVID-19 crisis, exposing the good and bad about handling business operations. Every business owner, manager or church pastor has been forced to deal with a myriad of complex unanticipated situations. Some of the most prevalent issues are related to an often overlooked organizational aspect: networks and information technology (IT).
The importance of IT and network infrastructure exploded in the past few years, but the last several months have taken technological challenges to the next level. More employees are working remotely. Society continues moving towards a “contactless everything” approach. Now more than ever, IT is the backbone that businesses run on.
The IT of Going Contactless
In retail, restaurants and even house of worship settings being contactless is now the norm. Owners, managers and pastors want people to feel comfortable and safe when coming back into physical buildings. Simple things like payment transactions, virtual menus and making donations now rely on smartphones and tablets connected to a network and internet.
Along with the contactless menus and payments, many other pieces of technology also connect to and rely on the internet in some fashion. Modern A/V systems, HVAC systems, security cameras, and more rely on a network and internet in ways they never have before. Having a well-connected network is necessary for remote management and control of your systems.
Incorporating a Guest Network
In addition to a robust network for your internal business use, many guests expect access to a guest internet network. Especially for businesses where guests must rely on an internet connection (scanning a QR code for an online menu, or transactions including a smartphone for payment, etc.), it’s imperative that fast and reliable internet connection is available for their use.
But while a reliable internet connection for your guests is important, it should remain separate from your business network. By hosting everyone on one network, guest access could interfere with or slow down your business operations within your network. For example, say you’re a restaurant whose ticketing or ordering system relies on your internal network. If a guest at a table is streaming a video to show to their friends, the additional strain on your network can slow down your business’ ability to transmit necessary data efficiently.
This is a situation where having a separate guest network can be incredibly useful. It allow you to provide your guests with reliable internet access without impinging upon your main business network and operations.
Providing a guest network can also be a benefit in gaining some basic valuable information from your guests. We recommend that the first time someone asks to join your guest network that you require some information. This could include their first name, email address and/or phone number, and birthdate in order to gain access. Be sure to include a checkbox that opts them in to receive emails from your business. Gaining this information from your customers allows you to send them coupons, birthday specials, and other news and events. As with any promotional email or text, ensure that you’re using it appropriately and are providing value to the customer.
IT Safety and Security
As with all aspects of business, trust is a major factor in your connection with customers, especially the COVID era. Customers visit because they trust the product or service they will receive, but they also trust the environment is safe.
While the first safety consideration might involve disinfecting physical spaces and enforcing social distancing, consider the safety of guest devices connected to your network. Guests should be able to trust that your network and IT setup is safe, secure, and capable of protecting their personal information and data.
Are you ready to upgrade your current IT infrastructure or get started with a whole new IT setup? We’re happy to answer any questions you have! You can reach out to our team via phone or our Contact page. We would love to partner with you in the success of your business!