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  • Writer's pictureAoun Raza

Robots with Personality: Towards Developing Persuasive Sales Robots

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Using a robot to persuade a human is fearful and exciting at the same time. It is human nature to be fearful towards any technology which might be able to change the way buyers make any decision. That decision can be as simple as buying a product or it can be more complicated decisions like donating to a charity. Persuading humans through a robot raises questions that combine psychology and technology. In complicated social settings like sales, a sales person has to navigate her way towards persuading the other person into making a decision. With developments in artificial intelligence and robotics, robots have become more than just an assistant. It is true that robots are helping individuals in completing ordinary tasks, it might not take long when robots start helping humans into performing more psychologically complicated tasks.

Developments of Robots like Pepper have introduced robots as assistants. A social robot is a robot that can interact with a human in a social setting. That setting can be a public place or can be anyone’s home. Robots can evoke emotions in humans. But persuading an individual requires more than just evoking emotions. To become successful, persuasion attempt requires tone of voice, authoritative vs suggestive statements and emotional engagement.

Making Robots Less Robotic

With developments in the field and new types of robots being introduced to the world, scientists have been working hard in mitigating negative connotations to word social robot. These mitigations can be observed when looking at recent additions in the field of social robots. A robot can collect and deliver information effectively today thanks to the field of social robotics.

Although social robots are effective when it comes to collecting and delivering information, there are limitations to their effectiveness. These limitations include where, how and with whom the robot is communicating. The limitations make Human-Robot interaction not a very enjoyable experience. If a robot can have a personality like a human, it might make the experience more enjoyable.

Trusting Social Robots

One of the hurdles that can negatively influence any human-robot interaction is the lack of trust in the information provider (a social robot). If an individual believes that social robot cannot be effective in assisting her, then it might not be an enjoyable experience for that person.

A cross-cultural study that investigated negative attitudes towards social robots found that people from Japan tend to accept social robots more than people from other regions of the world. Acceptance of social robots depends on the trusting beliefs that an individual has. These beliefs influence attitude towards using social robots.

Making Persuasion Better with Social Robots

Social robots can become persuasive if they are designed to be humanoid psychologically as well rather than just physically. The way they communicate and how they communicate can have an impact on their ability to become persuasive. If a robot has a personality rather than just scripted words, it can have an impact on humans and might be able to evoke emotions more effectively because of that.

Social robots might mitigate manipulation in the field of sales and will lead consumers into making smart buying decisions. Giving them informative advice rather than being aggressive in sales tactics can make purchase decision a long-lasting impression on the consumer and thus can lead to more loyal customers. Making artificial intelligence sound less robotic is beneficial for any business and at the same time is effective for customers as well.

If a Robot has a personality and can communicate, the way humans do, people will eventually start trusting in social robots and will rely on robots for their purchase decisions. The role of Social robots as sales advisors might lead to people making decisions based on accurate information. But for this to happen, people must trust robots like Pepper.

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