25 August 2022

New Publication: Customer Comfort During Service Robot Interactions

How can we ensure that customers feel comfortable during robot-enabled services? Because why would they otherwise keep using them? With our latest empirical study published in Service Business, we investigate whether human-like service robots make customers feel more or less comfortable. In addition, we investigate to what extent the answer to this question depends on whether the service robot makes a mistake.

Based on an online experiment, we gain interesting insights. First, we find that customers feel more comfortable interacting with human-like rather than machine-like service robots. The underlying reason for this positive effect of human-likeness lies in the fact that customers more easily build rapport with human-like service robots. We further demonstrate that this positive effect of human-likeness disappears in case the service robot makes a mistake in the service delivery. Therefore, based on our study, human-like service robots appear to be preferred as long as the service robot does not make a mistake – otherwise, human-like and machine-like service robots produce similar outcomes.
As an Open Access publication, you can download and read the full article for free: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11628-022-00499-4.   
Becker, M., Mahr, D. & Odekerken-Schröder, G. (2022). Customer comfort during service robot interactions. Service Business, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11628-022-00499-4