By Edward Cardenas

SOUTHFIELD (CBS Detroit) – A survey of small businesses found ffee WiFi has become an important service offered to customers.

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Comcast Business polled 971 small businesses nationally on Linkedin and found that 79 percent offer free WiFi, and nearly all do it to improve customer satisfaction.

By offering free WiFi, businesses are offering the service to customers who are using WiFi-only devices but also for those looking not use up the data plans for their smart phones and tablets.

“Small businesses are absolutely recognizing the value that WiFi can offer,” said Michelle Gilbert, vice president, public relations, Comcast Cable Heartland Region. “We are getting to a point where the first thing people ask when they enter you home, or the first thing consumers ask when they come to your location is, what’s your WiFi password?”

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The survey found that 97  percent of businesses that do offer free WiFi do it to improve customer satisfaction, while three percent do it increase sales.

For Lisa Yaldoo, owner of the Beauty Lounge Salon in West Bloomfield, stated that customers are asking for access to wireless Internet to keep up with “our daily lifestyles” with iPads, laptops and smartphones.

Considering the waiting time you would have at a salon, between coloring, or manicuring, pedicuring … there is a lot of down time,”  said Yaldoo. “It’s definitely a convenience they love.”

Additionally, the Yaldoo utilizes a Comast Business account which allows her to have a private and public wireless account which transmit from the same router. With this offering, she doesn’t have to give out her password.

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“Our business is based on the Internet as well,” she said. “Between scheduling and processing, we had to have it separate.”