Automated Service or Human Interaction?
I’m fairly certain everyone has had experiences where the service received heavily influenced your desire to return again. No matter how good a restaurant is or how beautiful a hotel is, if the service you get is downright crappy, the likelihood of you returning is close to zero. You’d also be much more likely to rant about a horrible experience with service to your friends and family. It’s unfortunate because there could be a huge laundry list of reasons why service was horrible but the why to it really isn’t the customer’s concern.
Alternatively, if the service was great, but the product wasn’t that great, you’re much more willing to give it a second try. You feel like someone cares. Or maybe the people the owner hired care more (yay for friendly and awesome staff!).
Now, how about automated service? In a world that’s teetering on the edge of technology taking over the task of providing service, what does this all mean? If you walked into a restaurant that had zero human interaction and instead offered robot service, how would you feel? Robot service could be programmed perfectly to know exactly what you need in any given scenario, possibly before you even realize you dropped your fork, maybe your robot server is already bringing you a new one. Before you ever ask for your wine to be topped up, your robot server is already topping it up for you.
What if you were at a car dealership and wanted to purchase a car and the robot salesperson could tell that you weren’t ready to be approached yet based on your body language?
What if you went to the mall and the girl you normally see at your favourite shop has been replaced by a robot who tells you that based on its analysis of your body shape, the clothes that you really are not flattering for your body and you should really try that black piece that tucks away your food baby?
All those endless possibilities. And yet, I feel like human interaction is crucial. Having a quick conversation with my server at a restaurant or getting a second opinion about that dress I’m thinking about or even finding that you have a mutual interest with the cashier you see at the corner store fills your day with potentially interesting stories and experiences. There’s a part of me that would like to see a world where service is never a problem, but a bigger part of me (read: the rather social and chatty part of me) hopes that we never lose human interaction in the service sector to robots.