Insights & resources
Being at the forefront of research on service robots, the researchers of the Maastricht Center of Robots (MCR) investigate many important issues, such as service and social robots in unstructured environments, human-robot interactions, service robots’ value creation and destruction potential, and the service triad consisting of service robots, customers, and frontline employees.
On these topics, the members of the MCR have produced many relevant publications and conference papers. Also our students have written interesting and insightful Master theses. Our most relevant projects and publications are listed below.
- 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
- Becker, M., Efendić, E. & Odekerken-Schröder, G. (2022). Emotional communication by service robots: a research agenda. Journal of Service Management, Vol. 33 No. 4/5, pp. 675-687. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-10-2021-0403
- Odekerken-Schröder, G., Mennens, K., Steins, M. & Mahr, D. (2021). The service triad: an empirical study of service robots, customers and frontline employees. Journal of Service Management, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 246-292. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-10-2020-0372
- Odekerken-Schröder, G., Mele, C., Russo-Spena, T., Mahr, D., & Ruggiero, A. (2020). Mitigating loneliness with companion robots in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: an integrative framework and research agenda. Journal of Service Management, 31(6), 1149–1162. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-05-2020-0148
- Čaić, M., Avelino, J., Mahr, D., Odekerken-Schröder, G., & Bernardino, A. (2020). Robotic Versus Human Coaches for Active Aging: An Automated Social Presence Perspective. International Journal of Social Robotics, 12(4), 867–882. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-018-0507-2
- Efendić, E., van de Calseyde, P. P., & Evans, A. M. (2020). Slow response times undermine trust in algorithmic (but not human) predictions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 157, 103–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2020.01.008
- Čaić, M., Mahr, D., & Odekerken-Schröder, G. (2019). Value of social robots in services: social cognition perspective. Journal of Services Marketing, 33(4), 463–478. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-02-2018-0080
- Čaić, M., Holmlid, S., Mahr, D., & Odekerken-Schröder, G. (2019). Beneficiaries' View of Actor Networks: Service Resonance for Pluralistic Actor Networks. International Journal of Design, 13(3), 69-88. http://www.ijdesign.org/index.php/IJDesign/article/viewFile/3106/873
- Čaić, M., Mahr, D., Odekerken-Schröder, G., Holmlid, S., & Beumers, R. (2017). Moving Towards Network-Conscious Service Design: Leveraging network visualisations. Touchpoint, 9(1).
- Čaić, M., Odekerken-Schröder, G., & Mahr, D. (2018). Service robots: value co-creation and co-destruction in elderly care networks. Journal of Service Management, 29(2), 178–205. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-07-2017-0179
- Čaić, M., Avelino, J., Mahr, D., Odekerken-Schröder, G., & Bernardino, A. (2018). Robotic versus human coaches for active aging: A field study on customer service experience. Paper presented at La Londe Conference, La Londe les Maures, France.
- Čaić, M., Avelino, J., Mahr, D., Odekerken-Schröder, G., & Bernardino, A. (2018). The Social Role of the Digital Interface: How Social Robots Change Service Interactions. Paper presented at Interactive Marketing Research Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
- Čaić, M., Mahr, D., Odekerken-Schröder, G., & Holmlid, S. (2018). Rise of the machines: Acceptance of social robotic services through network utility maximization. Abstract from Frontiers in Service 2018, Austin, United States.
- Čaić, M., Odekerken-Schröder, G., & D. Mahr (2017). Programmed to Care: A Typology of Social Service Robots in Healthcare. Abstract from Frontiers in Service 2017, New York, United States.
- Simao, H., Ribeiro, P., Moreno, P., Figueiredo, R., Duarte, N., Nunes, R., Bernardino, A., Čaić, M., Mahr, D., & Odekerken-Schröder, G. (2018). Experiments with Vizzy as a Coach for Elderly Exercise. Paper presented at The 13th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction , Chicago, IL, United States.
Humanlike or Machinelike? How a service robot’s voice and language adaptations shape customer acceptance in retail
Ann-Kathrin Meyer conducted her research in close collaboration with Welbo, one of MCR’s industry partners. She conducted online experiments with 402 participants, investigating the impact of service robots’ different voice types (robotic vs. humanlike) and language styles (emotive vs. non-emotive) on customer acceptance. Her work shows that a service robot’s humanlike voice should be matched with a humanlike appearance.
Human-Robot Interaction: How do service robot linguistic style and voice type affect customer service encounter evaluation?
Nina Beau conducted her research together with the MCR industry partner Welbo. Including 496 participants in her studies, the key finding of her thesis is that a humanlike voice type and informal language style is more congruent with customer’s expected conversational norms. Moreover, she finds that customer’s extraversion plays an important role in this relationship: Introvert customers prefer to interact with a service robot that speaks with a humanlike voice type.
Do you want to be served by a robot? – How to ensure successful implementation of service robots in a restaurant.
Minako van Overstraeten conducted 17 interviews, taking both a customer and an employee perspective on the acceptance of service robots in a restaurant context. She finds that it is essential that managers take a network-conscious approach when employing service robots in their restaurants, focusing both on customer satisfaction as well as employee well-being. Here, customers should be informed in a user-friendly and intuitive manner about how to interact with the service robots. Furthermore, employees should be reassured of their job security by offering them ways through which they can differentiate themselves from service robots.
How do hospitality employees with different personality traits and experiences perceive service robot implementation into their work environment?
Gabija Norkeviciute performed her master thesis in collaboration with Dadawan, one of MCR’s industry partners. She investigated the implementation of service robots in restaurants from an employee perspective. Based on 10 in-depth qualitative interviews with Dadawan employees, Gabija finds that depending on personality type, employees experience the introduction of service robots differently. She identifies two main personas: The cooperator and the sceptic. Restaurant managers need to tailor their implementation strategy to these different personas.