Passive, Interactive and Proactive Robots: Impact on Customer Experience in High and Low Risk Services

Project dates: 18/02/2019 - 31/10/2019

This honours research aimed to examine if there is a relationship between robot autonomy, perceived service risk and the customer experience within a medical and a hospitality context.

This research used an experimental method with a 2 x 2 factorial design, to test hypotheses related to the change in customer experience scores after manipulating two variables (robot autonomy and perceived service risk). Research participants were assigned to 1 of the 6 possible experimental conditions or 1 of the 2 possible control conditions.

Findings indicated that robot autonomy affects customer service responses when the covariate of product intelligence is controlled for. Additionally, the results showed that the presence of service robots tends to increase the perceived service risk, which in turn leads to poorer service outcomes. The results also demonstrated that with behavioural control as a covariate, there was a significant interaction effect between robot autonomy and perceived service risk on cognitive experience.

Key contributions:

  • Service outcomes are improved if an Autonomous Service Robot does not appear too intelligent.
  • The study has demonstrated that robots exacerbate an already risky situation in combined frontstage and backstage service.
  • The study recommended that managers provide visible cues of reduced intelligence in robot physical appearance

Overall, the research has filled an important gap by examining service robots operating beyond the line of interaction visibility.

 

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Chief Investigators


Robot image

Image Source: Pixaby, SoftBank Robotics