Even the 2016 holiday season finds itself involved in the next generation of robotics technology. It would appear that several of the customer service representatives hire in the bay area might come from the family. They even have the same first name, Pepper. How is that possible?
At two malls located in the San francisco Bay area, San Francisco Centre and San Jose’s Valley Fair, customer service these Pepper robots has been deployed into the mall areas to do what customer service representatives are suppose to do best, interact with customers. While these diminutive, cute looking robots may not be able to tell you what store you can find certain items in, they have proven to be a sheer delight when it comes to tasks like taking customer surveys and giving out good cheer and holiday hugs.
Pepper was the brainchild of the robotics division of Japanese telecom giant Softbank. In 2015, 1,000 of these cutesy humanoid bots were produced and put up for sale. When word hit the marketplace, they were sold out within minutes. This should certainly justify any decision Softbank might make to increase production of these little bots along with a new generation of robots that will be developed to help big box stores deal with the hoards of customers that come pouring in the door during the holidays or on a busy Saturday afternoon.
Of course, this is not the first time robots have been seen providing customer service to customers in American big box stores. At Lowes, the store’s LoweBot is used as a mobile customer service terminal that has the ability to answer simple questions related to where certain products might be located or pricing information. Not only do these robots take pressure off of the human staff, but they also prove to be very entertaining for the customers who are intrigued by the technology.