Rise of the robots: Staggering number of Brits reckon ‘droids will give better customer service than humans


“How may I help you?”

Robots are already toiling away in factories across the world – but how would you feel about coming face to face with one?

According to the results of a new survey over a quarter of British consumers (27%) believe a robot would provide better customer service than a human.

That means dealing with a robot waiter in a restaurant or chatting with an artificial intelligence during a call centre query.

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“Customers today expect nothing less than exceptional customer service and will not hesitate to seek services elsewhere if they don’t get it,” said Mark Bridger, vice president at OpenText , the enterprise information management company that conducted the research.

Bruno the pizza-making robot

OpenText polled 2,000 Brits aged 18 or over on how they’d feel about being served by a robot over a human being.

Just under one in five (17%) said they’d prefer to deal with a robot when contacting government departments or switching energy providers.

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And one in five of respondents aged over 65 said they’d get better customer service from a robot when buying something in a store.

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“Businesses are fast realising that they need to alter the way in which they interact with their customers to meet their demands. The introduction of robots and AI will offer an opportunity to revolutionise this interaction process in the very near future,” said Mr. Bridger.

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Some businesses in China have already experimented with putting robots in front of the paying public.

Using a battery, the robot is capable of serving diners at a restaurant in Shenyang, capital city of China’s Liaoning Province, for up to eight hours.

Barcroft Media
A battery-powered robot serves dishes up to 8 hour a day in a restaurant in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province

The robot takes customers their food and drinks and, thanks to a mix of sensors and navigation hardware, is able to avoid spilling anything.

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It can carry up to 7kg of food or drink at one time and, better yet, doesn’t require wages – or even a tip.

How long until we see something similar in our own restaurants?

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