Customers embrace social robots in targeted commercial sectors, ECU reports

Image credit: ECU

In the ongoing discourse surrounding artificial intelligence, recent findings from Edith Cowan University (ECU) have suggested that implementing social robots in commercial environments may encounter reduced resistance.

Led by Professor Sanjit Roy of ECU’s Marketing and Service Science department, the research explored the dynamics between customer equity drivers, trust in social robots, and trust in service providers.

Professor Roy’s study aligned with the principles of Industry 5.0, advocating for harmonious collaboration between humans and machines, the university said in a media release.

He noted that social robots, increasingly prevalent in retail, serve as entertainers, social facilitators, and even mentors, presenting themselves as supportive and social entities rather than mere machines.

Beyond retail, social robots exhibit versatility in handling tasks ranging from repetitive functions to complex assignments, such as aiding in medical diagnostics and surgical procedures.

Their integration aims to enhance productivity, reduce operational costs, and improve customer experiences across various industries.

The research highlighted the role of social robots in fostering trust and relationship equity between customers and service providers.

While concerns persist regarding the authenticity of human interactions replaced by robots, Professor Roy suggested that efficiency and convenience often outweigh such reservations.

Moreover, the study emphasised the importance of trust in service providers in shaping perceptions of social robots.

Customers’ initial trust in social robots often derives from their trust in the service provider, indicating the significance of establishing a robust brand identity and nurturing long-term customer relationships.

For businesses considering the adoption of social robots, the research offers actionable insights. Emphasising brand equity and relationship building can enhance customer trust and positively influence their experiences with social robots.

Transparent communication and consistent service delivery emerge as crucial strategies in reinforcing trust and facilitating seamless interactions with social robots.