In today's digital age, the internet has become an indispensable tool for retail businesses and restaurants alike. From streamlining operations to enhancing customer experiences, the significance of a reliable internet connection cannot be overstated. However, it's not just about having a single internet connection; a secondary internet connection is necessary to ensure uninterrupted business operations and enhance customer satisfaction. Let’s face it, we usually have our phone or laptop with us at all times. We take business calls, answer emails or even have a quick work meeting over a cup of coffee at our favorite eatery or café. Reliable internet is beneficial to both the business owner and the customer.
The Internet's Integral Role
The internet serves as the backbone of modern business operations. For restaurants, it facilitates online reservations, digital menus, and seamless payment processing. In retail, businesses rely on the internet for inventory management, e-commerce, and engaging with customers through the various social media platforms.
Primary Internet: The Foundation of Operations
A primary internet connection is the lifeline of any business. It supports essential functions like credit card processing, online orders and communication with suppliers. A high-speed, reliable connection ensures quick transactions and minimizes customer frustration. Businesses can leverage cloud-based tools and applications to enhance productivity, collaborate remotely and access critical data in real time.
The Role of Secondary Internet
As the importance of the internet grows, so does the need for redundancy. This is where a secondary internet connection comes into play. Imagine you’re going about a typical day, ordering supplies, the front of house is making a sale when suddenly, the primary internet goes down due to technical issue, outages, or other unforeseen circumstances. A secondary connection is now acting as a safety net allowing both front and back of house operations to continue with minimal disruption. This is particularly vital for restaurants that rely heavily on online orders or reservations, as downtime could lead to revenue loss and negative customer experiences.
Benefits of a Dual-Connection Approach
Having a backup internet connection ensures that operations continue smoothly even if the primary connection fails. This is crucial for businesses that require a constant online presence to serve customers effectively. In a restaurant or retail store this is especially critical to ensure that online orders are continued to be received as they’ve grown to account for a significant part of the business, in some cases upwards of 60% of sales!
A secondary internet connection helps prevent service interruptions, ensuring that customers can place orders, make reservations, and interact with the business without any hiccups. Customers highly value loyalty and rewards programs that may otherwise be unavailable during internet outages. This contributes to a positive customer experience which will continue bringing customers back when your competition may not be able to service them.
Dual connections can also enhance data security by allowing businesses to establish a failover system. Point of Sale systems will often store credit card data locally during internet outages, while this data should be encrypted, being able to immediately transmit the data will help reduce the risks involved with it being stored on a device. A secondary internet connection ensures that sensitive customer data is protected, even during network disruptions.
Credit Card Processing
Along with living in a digital age, we thrive on the ability to pay for purchases with the tap of our card or sometimes even our phones. The convenience and ease of this method of payment is great for the customer, but during an outage, it could introduce unnecessary risk for the business. Case in point, a customer buys a meal at their local eatery, pays for said meal with their credit card, but the internet is down. The payment information is stored in the system until it can be processed once the internet comes back online. They leave & enjoy the meal, however, a few hours later once the internet is restored, processed the payment but the card is denied. That is now a loss for the business. By having both primary and secondary internet connection, the business greatly minimizes their risk of loss of profit.
Prior to implementing a dual-connection strategy, here are a few things to consider:
Choosing Reliable Providers
Business owners should opt for reputable internet service providers (ISPs) that offer reliable connections and uptime guarantees. Do some research, ask your business neighbors their preference of ISP’s and their experiences, you may find good reasons for their choices. This applies for both the primary and secondary providers.
Your primary internet will usually be a hard-wired fiber or cable connection which will provide a consistent, reliable, and high-speed service. For your backup connection there are more options, you could have a second ISP provide a second fiber or cable connection, but this can be costly as they will need to run a second set of lines, it will also likely have similar risks of a physical issue causing an outage, such as constructing cutting a line, which would defeat the purpose of investing in the second connection. Another option that is widely accepted as best practice is to have a cell signal backup, this hedges against the risks that come with a physical connection.
Secondary internet connections should be set up as an automatic failover that seamlessly switches to the secondary connection in case the primary connection fails. In the event the primary internet does lose connection, the secondary should quickly pick up where the primary left off. The equipment powering the secondary connection should also be connected to a battery backup, this way in the unfortunate event both the primary internet and power are lost, any open transactions can be finished and the risk of losing data that is not properly saved is minimized.
In the modern business landscape, the internet is a cornerstone of success. For restaurants and businesses, having both a primary and secondary internet connection can be a game-changer. The combination of uninterrupted operations, enhanced customer experiences, and improved data security makes the investment in a dual-connection approach well worth it. As reliance on the internet continues to grow, adopting this strategy could be the key to maintaining a competitive edge and ensuring continued growth.
If you’re looking to review your systems or data strategy, Elevated Operations Group can help. Book a free 1-hour consultation with us today to ensure you have the right systems in place for your business!