PROVEN Robotics

How Robots are Changing the Face of Customer Service

In Star Wars, C-3PO, a protocol droid serving on the Galactic War’s frontline, took the audience in awe with his ability to speak multiple languages and cross-cultural etiquette. This depiction of a robot assistant may be fictional, but it is not far-fetched from real-life robots in customer service that perform similar frontline duties.

For instance, Robots like Pepper, the humanoid robot, are being utilized to transform and elevate the guest experience in the hospitality sector, banks, government sector, and more. Some people may think that they have not interacted with a service robot. Still, they most likely have seen one in the customer care kiosk or at least encountered a robot as an airport concierge- thanks to the growing adoption of cutting-edge technologies in customer-centric roles. During the pandemic, the rise of self-centric kiosks was at the front and center of customer service trenches. As the pandemic fears have subsided, service kiosks are still around, and robots will dominate customer service. In this blog post, we’ll explore the various ways that robots are revolutionizing customer service and the benefits they bring to both businesses and customers alike. Read on 

Benefits of robots in the Workplace

The advantages of service robots are evident. They eliminate the risk of airborne virus transmission and are not susceptible to burnout due to long working hours. These robots hold immense potential for cost reduction, enhanced efficiency, and the automation of mundane tasks. Except for occasional glitches or software updates, they can work tirelessly round the clock, ensuring that the front desk of hotels or car rental services is consistently manned for the convenience of customers without requiring sick leave, holidays, or time off.

Robots are designed to resemble humans to a point

Customers often expect an interpersonal rapport and prefer to receive service with a smile. Is it possible for service robots to satisfy customers?

Customer service robots that look like humans and connect with customers on an emotional level can satisfy customers’ needs. A study published in the 2021 Journal of Applied Psychology revealed what 194 guests felt about the first robot staff in a Japanese hotel and their satisfaction with the stay. At check-in, half of the guests were given instructions anthropomorphizing the hotel robots – to imagine them as thinking and feeling beings – and the other half were not. Although both groups interacted with the same service robots, the ones who humanized the robots had greater satisfaction than the other group. This was due to perceiving the service robots as emotional beings. Even customers were more forgiving of the service failures of robots they perceived as humans because humans are bound to make mistakes. Such that customers could view failures with human-like robots with more empathy.

The above study clarified that looking like a human is not enough; customers want an emotional connection. Pepper, the customer service robot capable of understanding basic human emotions and looking like a human, can quickly build an emotional bond when placed at the service kiosks and accurately serve the purpose.

Robots are created for use, not just a mere attraction

Functionality is the most crucial component of interactions between humans and robots and has the most considerable influence on customer satisfaction. People frequently believe that using robots in service roles will result in effective and error-free performance. However, bugs and user errors can frustrate the experience, as with any technology. However, most service robots are designed to replace mundane tasks to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The novelty of customer service robot technologies will eventually fade as they become more widely used and integrated into daily life. It’s critical to combine leveraging robots’ advantages with keeping in touch with humans in order to secure their long-term success in customer service. 

Robots are adapted to tasks and customer base

Are robots a perfect fit for the service industry or your organization? Industries that rely on personalized client services, which heavily depend on building rapport, trust, and problem-solving, may be better for using service robots. Instead, service sectors that involve more standardized and automated processes are better suited for robot integration, such as cash register transactions and hotel check-in services.

However, it’s also essential to consider the characteristics of the customer base. For a successful interaction with a robot, customers must possess the confidence and the willingness to engage with automated systems. While hotels have witnessed significant success with concierge robots, high-end clientele might hesitate to invite a robot into their hotel room to deliver additional towels, as they may prefer the personal touch of interacting with a human staff member.

Robots are introduced to work in harmony with their human counterparts, not replacement

Introducing robots into customer service roles can evoke a sense of relief and a feeling of threat among human employees. Placing robots at the forefront of customer service can alleviate the burden of repetitive tasks and minimize mistreatment towards customers. However, human coworkers may harbor skepticism regarding the effectiveness of robots or harbor concerns that they are too capable and may replace their jobs. However, there is currently no reason to be fearful or apprehensive.

So, how are robots used in the service industry? Human employees are necessary to supervise client interactions with robots providing customer service. They must be there to assist clients as needed throughout robot interactions. Make sure to make your consumers work and take away the choice for human services to avoid becoming like the self-checkout lane at the grocery store. In a nutshell, the most effective service team consists of employees and robots.

Final thoughts

There might be unexpected benefits beyond customer service interactions of service robots, as this emerging technology is still in its infancy. Technology that integrates robots should not be added as a novelty but to provide value to customers and support employees – maintaining a balance between automation and human interaction.

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