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Self-checkouts in the UK: Millions of ’embarrassed’ Brits want them gone, study finds

A study by marketing research firm OnePoll.com has shown that millions of Brits want to see self-checkouts in the UK removed, as they value the human interaction with cashiers over the autonomous service

Millions of Brits want to see self-checkouts in the UK removed from shops because they feel “embarrassed” when using them, according to a new study.

The automated cashier system is leaving shoppers feeling confused, according to the research commissioned by French multinational hospitality firm AccorHotels, while around two thirds of respondents say a human member of staff is more efficient.

However, 68% believe human staff in the service industry will continue to be replaced by the technology as time goes on.

AccorHotels Northern Europe chief operating officer Thomas Dubaere said: “Technology is transforming the way we live and work – but it can never replace the importance of the human touch.

“Business is best when it uses technology to empower staff to go off script, to stop acting like robots and use emotional intelligence to put people, staff and customers, first.

“This research reinforces the importance of people in business, particularly hospitality and service industries, and demonstrates why technology should be used to enable honest and thoughtful human interaction, not replace it.”

Self-checkouts in the UK can’t replace human interaction

The study by marketing research firm OnePoll also showed 50% of shoppers have made friends with a member of staff in a restaurant, hotel or shop at one time or another.

Meanwhile, one in two said they would miss interacting with human cashiers, were self-checkouts in the UK to be replaced entirely by the autonomous self-service technology.

Almost three quarters of respondents value friendly customer service, while just under half said they feel cashiers can be too “robotic” in their interactions, and would prefer a more “off script” service.

Writer, commentator and author on brands and their relationship with future technology Tom Cheesewright said: “Ultimately, luxury is seamless service, however it is delivered.

”Now and into the future, only humans can complete that seamless experience – we are uniquely flexible, both physically and cognitively.

”We can be warm and emphatic, picking up on what people need even if it isn’t consciously expressed.

“Until there is an explosion in the capabilities of AI and robotics, humans and machines are likely to exist side-by-side in any service environment – part of the joy of travel is interaction with new people.

”Just as the rise of digital music has been accompanied by a rise in the enjoyment of live music, and more tactile media like vinyl, so the rise of digital interactions in our everyday lives will likely see us value the human moments more.

“How will this look in tomorrow’s hotel?

”In just a few years, most people will likely have an AI-powered personal assistant that knows their preferences in terms of food, lighting, and entertainment, as well as being connected to their calendar applications, communications and social net-works.

“A smart assistant could interface with the hotel systems to source a meal for their user without any conscious interaction from the guest beyond a nod of approval for the card transaction.

“Humans won’t be needed for the mechanical transactions of checking in, ordering, and taking payments – but their advice, direction, and warmth will be at a premium.”