Lowe’s Will Test Customer Service Robots at California Store

Most businesses know that customer service should be a top concern, and companies of all sizes are constantly searching for more efficient ways to deliver better customer experiences. But one new solution that’s been proffered moves science fiction into the realm of reality: robots.

Lowe’s will be introducing two customer service robots in its Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California, as of late November, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 28.

The “OSHbots,” co-created with startup Fellow Robots, will greet customers, identify products and lead consumers to specific aisles.

For example, a shopper could hold up a screw to the robot’s 3D cameras, ask for more of the same kind and follow the robot to the correct product in the store. The robots also house two large screens to facilitate videoconferencing with customer service representatives, should the robot be unable to assist.

As of now, the OSHbots speak English and Spanish, but developers say more languages will be added.

This isn’t the first time Lowe’s has pushed the envelope on high-tech customer service offerings. It has also developed a virtual reality space, dubbed the “holoroom,” in which customers can test out various furniture pieces in different rooms.

Lowe’s has stated that the OSHbot is the first customer service robot of its kind in the United States.
Oldies but Goodies

But many business owners might be surprised to know that, according to recent feedback, one of the oldest customer service methods in use is still the preferred one: telephone calls.

A CorvisaCloud survey of more than 1,200 American consumers showed that 55% of participants preferred the phone over higher-tech options such as emails (22%) and text chats (12%), eWEEK reported Oct. 4.

“It’s clear that the phone is not going away any time soon,” said CorsivaCloud President and CIO Matt Lautz, even as he highlighted opportunities offered by new technology.

The study also asked consumers their top frustrations with customer service. Common concerns were ill-informed and difficult-to-understand call center workers (49%), obviously scripted responses (80%), long hold times (32%) and a failure to pass along messages and relevant information when a call is transferred (18%).

Business News Daily article addressing the same study offered some advice based on the results, including “hire the right people” and “lose the robotic responses.”

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