Customer Relationship Management and Service Robots

Service robots have been designed to interact with people and support customers, so they participate in encounters that originally were designed solely for humans, such that they are inherently social. These robots that have the ability to make customers feel that they are in the company of another social entity are spreading rapidly into various service settings and supporting encounters. Despite their growing use, insights into the psychological responses of customers to service robots are scarce. We therefore examine customer relationship management and the placement of service robots during the service encounter. Hereby, we focus on customer-service employee interaction or customer-robot interaction on the individual level. Our research attempts to integrate insights from marketing research, psychology, and research on human-robot interaction.

Sample research questions of our group are:

  • How can service robots be applied in different service areas in a responsible manner?
  • Which design aspects and behaviors are important for service robots to support frontline employees during the service encounter with their customers?
  • How should a service robot look like in terms of human-likeness to be accepted by customers during the service encounter?

Our research in this field is interdisciplinary in nature in that it integrates insights from psychology, marketing research, and research on human-robot interaction. We focus on the responsible design and application of robots. This includes the basic notion a human user-centric design and placement of social robots.

Sample Publications:

  • Stock, Ruth Maria (2018), Can Service Robots Hamper Customer Anger and Aggression After a Service Failure?, International Conference on Information Systems 2018, San Francisco, USA.
  • Stock, Ruth Maria/Merkle, Moritz (2018), Customer Responses to Robotic Innovative Behavior Cues During the Service Encounter, International Conference on Information Systems 2018, San Francisco, USA.
  • Stock, Ruth/Merkle, Moritz (2018), Can Humanoid Service Robots Perform Better Than Service Employees? A Comparison of Innovative Behavior Cues, 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, USA.
  • Stock, Ruth/de Jong, Ad/Zacharias, Nicolas (2017), Frontline Employees’ Innovative Service Behavior as Key to Customer Loyalty: Insights into FLEs’ Resource Gain Spiral, Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM) 34, 2, 223-245.
  • Stock, Ruth/Merkle, Moritz (2017), A Service Robot Acceptance Model: User Acceptance of Humanoid Robots During Service Encounters, IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications 2017, Kailua-Kona, USA.
  • Stock, Ruth (2016), Emotion Transfer from Frontline Social Robots to Human Customers During Service Encounters: Testing an Artificial Emotional Contagion Model, International Conference on Information Systems 2016, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Stock, Ruth/Bednarek, Marei (2014), As They Sow, so Shall They Reap: Customers’ Influence on Customer Satisfaction at the Customer Interface, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science(JAMS), 42, 4, 400-414.
  • Stock, Ruth (2014), How Should Customers be Integrated for Effective Interorganizational NPD Teams? An Input-Process-Output Perspective, Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM), 31, 3, 535-551.
  • Homburg, Christian/Hoyer, Wayne/Stock, Ruth (2007), How to Get Lost Customers Back? A Study of Antecedents of Relationship Revival, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (JAMS), 35, 4, 461-474.
  • Homburg, Christian/Stock, Ruth (2004), The Link between Salespeople’s Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction in a Business-to-Business Context: A Dyadic Analysis, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (JAMS), 32, 2, 144-158.

This research area is financially supported by a number of projects: