Everywhere you go, you see technology making so much advancement and replacing some human jobs with Artifical Intelligence (AI). According to Wikipedia, “Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligence, MI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”
My majority of experience has been working in hospitality. Though, I would say that these kiosks are certainly a great invention for our industry, but it totally depends on customer to customer. For many guests who do not wish to stand in line or do not want the human contact would definitely make the most use of it. Like at airports, I see many travelers using and agents are pushing travelers to use and check-in using the kiosk. Whereas, certainly in my case I like and enjoy the human touch and most of times I choose to go see an agent. I would also argue that these kiosks are also removing the human touch from providing personalized service to guests. Like at many hotels, introduction of Ipads in the room where the guest just needs to touch and service would be delivered. They do not need to call reception desk and talk to a live person. I think with the introduction of new technology like self-service kiosks we are getting away from the human touch from providing exceptional great customer service! But not everyone is going to want this kind of experience. Some people like to be welcomed by a person, who not only takes the order, but answers questions about the hotel and brings you your extra towels, coffee etc.
While a machine can perform a given task, often more efficiently than we can, what it lacks is the artistry in the activity, that uniquely human ability to cater to the needs of the individual. The protocol may suggest one approach, but a person who is good at their job understands when to adjust and the subtleties that are required.
I would also argue that how can you create customer loyalty without human touch specially for a service-based industry? If you are a guest staying at hotel, you check in yourself using an app, check-out using an app and never see an agent. From a hotel’s perspective how would they know whether you enjoyed your stay at the hotel or not? If something was not satisfactory, how would hotel staff know to resolve the issue?
I recently travelled to overseas from Ottawa International Airport and was amazed to see self-check in kiosks at Airport and how Air Canada’s agents are pushing travelers to use those machines. Have you been to Ottawa Airport recently and tried using those machines?
My experience was bit frustrating as I tried checking myself in using that kiosk, but it failed to print me baggage tags, for which I had to go see an Agent. The lineup for seeing an agent was long as there were only two agents working. After being in line for over 40 minutes, I went to see an agent and when asked, agent replied, “These AI machines are not that smart” as they needed to verify my visa for country I was travelling. I told her then why push international travelers to use that kiosk when it is bound to fail and frustrate guest.
Do you prefer using technology or do you prefer the human touch?
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