We need robots for low-value human interaction services

robots for customer assistance in retail

Imagine boarding a plane at a busy airport. You’ve managed to get through the security and found the right gate. Your very simple task is to get past the boarding squad and find your seat at the plane.

But have you ever thought about the quality of interaction with the personnel at security and at the gate? Do we really need people in these checkpoints? Could we be better off, maybe even less annoyed and much more efficient, if robots took care of this sort of mundane work?

It is fair to say our days are packed with plenty of human interaction that is of low value for both counterparts.

Wouldn’t it be sweet, if you could simply show your boarding pass to a robot and concentrate on more high value interaction with your travelling buddy?

A robotic check-in

Let’s continue the story. After a long flight, you enter a hotel, probably feeling tired. Your top priority is getting to the room for having a shower and some rest. But first you have to check in. Ahead of you, there could be someone discussing tourist sights with the receptionist, slowing down the queue. Wouldn’t you get annoyed? But remember: the next day, you could be that annoying person.

Checking into a hotel is a mechanical event of low-value human interaction. On the other hand, chatting about sights, getting around and specific services of the hotel, is of much higher value, suitable for us humans.

What if your were greeted by a robotic receptionists? They would be dedicated for fast-line check-ins, prompting to provide your ID and credit card. They would also liberate the personnel for higher-value interaction.

In an instant, you’d get your room key and receive basic instructions about the hotel, your room and its amenities. When you get to the room, there would be a robotic assistant. It could take voice commands to switch on the television, lights and configure air-conditioning.

This is not daydreaming. In Japan, there are two hotels staffed by robots. One of the receptionists looks like a dinosaur. It’s certainly a joy for families travelling with kids!

Time to shop smart

Back home, you intend to throw a party, and need to prepare something exotic. Having found a perfect recipe you head to a massive supermarket to make sure you’ll get all ingredients. It’s your first visit, and it’s hard to locate everything. Is there any personnel around? Of course not. But no worries!

Customer assistant robots roam the store, ready to serve. You could get one’s attention by a mobile app or by pushing a button marked “get help”. One robot would quickly approach you, and walk you to the right shelf.

Isn’t it obvious that robots can take care of massive amounts of low-value service situations?

All service is important, but human interaction is not always necessary or expected. In many cases, there’s a huge demand for simple services, but there are no humans available. Staffs have been minimized.

In Robosteam next October, you will see how service situations with low-value interaction can well be given to robots. One such example is called Heasy, a robot designed for retail industry and customer service. Perhaps you’d like to find out more about it?

Or do you work for a company developing a robot for customer services? If yes, then get in touch with us to take part!

Robosteam Helsinki 2017, October 10–12, in Messukeskus Helsinki Expo and Convention Center, Finland

Recent Posts


By | 2017-06-22T10:23:53+00:00 June 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|