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Do Kiosks and IVRs Threaten Human Interaction?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the our-menu-options-have-recently-changed dept.

News 294

DavidGilbert99 writes "According to research by the Hyatt Hotel group, one third of customers are already checking in at self-service kiosks in their hotel lobbies, eschewing the traditional route of the receptionist. This is indicative of a wider trend according to voice recognition experts Nuance who believe we simply never want to talk to a real human again, preferring the clipped, efficient tones of its Nina virtual assistant. Expanding this from mobile to now include the web means we could soon be living in a world where speaking to a real live human is the exception rather than the rule." When things go smoothly, I prefer the automated versions of many things (airport check-in, ordering products to arrive by mail, depositing a check); it's when things go wrong that voice menus and web sites just seem to make simple problems into complicated ones.

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Speed and cost (4, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079125)

I just want to check-in faster. I don't care if it's with a person or a kiosk. And if you charge me to talk to a real human, I'll use the machine.

Re:Speed and cost (4, Insightful)

Samalie (1016193) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079169)

This really is everything.

Imagine for a second I'm a poor bastard that has been travelling for the last 30 hours. Between flights, security, check-in-delays, etc...I'm fucking BEAT.

I just want to get in my fucking hotel room as fast as is humanly possible.

People are (generally) slow. Inefficient. Worse..talkative.

Bring on the machine!

Re:Speed and cost (2, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079267)

Human interaction can be invigorating, and psychologically refreshing. To each their own, I suppose.

Quite frankly, with an attitude like yours? I don't think they want much want to talk to you, anyways.

"Thank god. He went straight to the kiosk..."

I am less forgiving - because people like you are responsible for the rise of Sirius Cybernetics, the robotics company behind some of the galaxy's most aggravating robots. "Share and enjoy!"

Re:Speed and cost (1)

Imagix (695350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079347)

Sirius Cybernetics, the robotics company behind some of the galaxy's most aggravating robots

I thought that was Cyberdyne Systems....

Re:Speed and cost (4, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079367)

Human interaction can be invigorating, and psychologically refreshing.

Agreed, but when facing an overworked underpaid desk attendant who has had to deal with 35 cranky customers before coffee it tends to be a chore for both parties.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079421)

I was once as anti-social as the gp... but I discovered something that I absolutely love about talking with a real person... UPGRADES. If you are friendly, personable (and maybe if you add a tip)... you might get a better room, a jacuzzi suite (nice for relaxing after a long day of travelling!)... who knows! By being an ass you're missing out on all of these possibilities.

I almost never go for the machine anymore these days... maybe it's also because I'm getting old.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079439)

Meh, Samalie not entirely wrong. In some circumstances I just want to get done with the check-in quickly. Perhaps I had a long flight, perhaps it's midnight and I want to go to bed, perhaps I'm in a hurry, etc. It's not rude or anti-social... it's the way things work.

And some people don't realize (or care) that there's a huge line behind them and perhaps showing the clerk pictures of their grand-kids or talking about their kid's soccer game isn't the most sensitive thing to do for everyone else in line. As pleasant as they're being, I sometimes find THAT to be more rude than a guy who's just sighing in annoyance. They're choosing to make people wait because they want to talk to some stranger.

And face it: showing some stranger pictures of your grand-kids is more for YOUR benefit than their's... showing them to family/friends is another thing, but strangers is just self-gratification.

For grocery shopping: it's a mixed bag. Sometimes I'll use the cashiers, sometimes a kiosk. It depends on the length of the lines and who's working that evening: as some of cashiers at my store have a hard time with the machines and need the manager for everything.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079709)

"For grocery shopping: it's a mixed bag."

If I'm only buying one or two items, Kiosk is usually faster, if I have multiple duplicate items, or 10 plus, if I don't get a discount for using the kiosk, then I'm using a cashier. If they don;t want to pay a human to cash me out and bag my goods, then I should get a discount on them. Otherwise, keep somebody employed and use a human cashier whenever possible.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

holostarr (2709675) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079883)

I think people are missing the point, regardless of why people are picking a terminal over human interaction, human contact is more and more in decline. It seems the bigger our cities and communities get, the less we wish to interact with one another.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079547)

Human interaction can be invigorating, and psychologically refreshing

It can, but when the human you are interacting with is a desk monkey hired for their appearance and tasked with giving you as little for your money as possible, it probably won't be.

Quite frankly, with an attitude like yours? I don't think they want much want to talk to you, anyways.

They don't want to talk to most of the people they talk to, but they do because they're paid to.

I am less forgiving - because people like you are responsible for the rise of Sirius Cybernetics

Ah yes, the old "people like you". Except in this case, the people like him are the ones who value efficiency and quality of service. If a machine can give me a higher quality of service than a desk jockey, then neither I nor the machine can possibly be the problem.

Re:Speed and cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079635)

Human interaction can be invigorating, and psychologically refreshing. To each their own, I suppose.

For about 55% of the US population, they are.

For about 45% of the population, they aren't.

Introverts are people, too. They're just people who do not want to tell you their whole life story and be best friends with you and invite you to their weekly poker night just because you happen to be selling them a stick of gum today.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079731)

Human interaction can be invigorating, and psychologically refreshing. To each their own, I suppose.

Right. Some people are extroverts, some are introverts. And that goes for the people checking in, and the receptionists. And plenty of people are already maxed out with the number of people they are dealing with.

Re:Speed and cost (5, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079841)

Hmmm, GP says they'd rather avoid people when they're stressed and tired and not in the mood.

You then respond by getting judgmental. You toss out a platitude about the benefits of human interaction and then proceed to insult them. Cause there's nothing like being snide to encourage human interaction. (I guess being insulted could technically count as "invigorating", not so sure about the "refreshing" part though.)

You know, just going by the sample comments, i think i'd rather talk to the GP when the GP is in the mood to talk, and just avoid you. Unless you want to make the defense that you're currently stressed and tired and not really up to decent human interaction at the moment?

Re:Speed and cost (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079939)

I've probably made mention before that I'm an asocial type of guy. Just call me an asocial asshole, and everything is good. I don't want to talk to a receptionist, I don't want to deal with some toad carrying my luggage, I just want my room.

BUT - I'd rather deal with the talkative receptionist, and the toad, and whoever else, than the machine.

When things go drastically WRONG, there is zero satisfaction in trying to strangle the damned machine. COME HERE TOAD!!!! (choke the toad until his eyes bug out) Now I feel better.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079353)

If you've been traveling the last thirty hours I'm going to guess you probably had your hotel reservations set up in advance. Most big name hotels have an automated check-in for people with advance reservations.

I agree about wanting the check in to be simple but after the fact I appreaciate if there is decent local concierge service. That's not the type of thing people want automated. Some hotel chains may have a centralized call center but even that creates it's own set of problems .

Re:Speed and cost (1)

Samalie (1016193) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079531)

Definitely agreed.

I'm not an anti-social asshole (as some have suggested). In this exact scenario, I want to skip any potential lineup, talk, generalized bullshit, and get to sleep.

I hope I have a great human concierge service, and even just a front desk/bellhop that I can talk to about the area, or any issues I may have. I even love meeting the housekeeper responsible for my room...more towels :)

I guess I came off harsh...I don't want no humans at all, but anything that gets me in my room, comfortable & resting faster is a good thing in my book :)

Re:Speed and cost (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079847)

Imagine for a second I'm a poor bastard that has been travelling for the last 30 hours. Between flights, security, check-in-delays, etc...I'm fucking BEAT.

I just want to get in my fucking hotel room as fast as is humanly possible.

In other words, you're the perfect person who the kiosk can go and say "Check me in now" where I can add a whole pile of addons to your room (with charge, of course) and you'll happily pay for it because you agreed to it.

Just like how some things (like Java installer) can go and bundle in Chrome and other crap with your software installation, you can bet the kiosk will too - knowing people will be too tired to bother reading it out. Of course, if you use the clerk, they'll have asked you, but if you use the kiosk, it's just a checkmark you'll probalby miss.

Sounds like a great business model to have, actually - I wonder why kiosks don't do it now...

As for not wanting to interact - remember that next time you have something slightly out of the ordinary you need. Like maybe trying to dispute the charges because of the failure to decline kiosk offers - it's a lot harder to convince a machine than a human. Or want something special done to your mean that's not offered.

Humans are flexible, machines are not. The problem with kiosks is, while 90% of the time the defaults suit your needs, the 10% is when you'll need a human. And if that's the case, 0% will there be one to actually assist you when the time comes because management feels the clerk was redundant. (Like say the credit card terminal goes down - the clerk will probably do everything else (like get you your key) and charge it later, while the kiosk will sit there staring back at you with "Authorization Failure").

Re:Speed and cost (4, Informative)

frinkster (149158) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079193)

I just want to check-in faster.

That's basically it. When I check in to a hotel, the person at the desk spends five minutes typing on the keyboard. Why? What kind of garbage reservation system are hotels using that forces the worker to type so much?

Want to reduce your personnel costs? Get a reservation system that doesn't require so much typing and you could have a single clerk at the desk instead of three.

Re:Speed and cost (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079485)

This is also true at airports. When I do a self-service checkin it's 2 minutes of "scan credit card", hit "decline offer" half a dozen times, and get my printout. If I go to a person they are apparently required to type out War and Peace to complete every single transaction on their terminal and it takes ten times as long to check in.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079529)

AS/400 green screen character display archaics from the early 80s are to blame.

Re:Speed and cost (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079623)

AS/400 green screen character display archaics from the early 80s are to blame.

No, no they aren't. It doesn't matter if you have a GUI or not. Also, they do effectively have a GUI. Those terminals understand fillable fields and the system presents an interface for you to fill out. There's no technical reason it can't ask them for the same information for which it asks you, and present its responses without graphics. Those systems were designed to be changed by the very way you build applications on those mainframes. Change the layouts, change the program, it's easy.

The problem is that the applications are poorly designed for the purpose of getting you through the airport quickly. I don't know what their actual purpose is, but that's the case.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079735)

i bet they have to type out your name, DL number and other info from your ID to match up to the ticket info.

if you scan a credit card then that's already an identifying piece of info so they can get it from the database. since you have the CC in hand, you are probably the person who bought the ticket.

security and lessening financial liability due to fraud. say you steal someone's CC to buy a ticket. you go to the counter with your ID and it will be easier to flag you. same for TSA requirements

Re:Speed and cost (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43080019)

Also, it's almost self-fulfilling that the kiosk's will be faster.

Why do people stand in line to talk to the single check-in person at the airport when there are several available self check-in terminals? Typically because they have some issue that the terminal can't deal with (e.g. unconventional luggage, specific seating requirements, lost booking code, etc).

The kiosk's handle the 95% of "I just need to perform the standard tasks". The poor desk jockeys are left with the 5% of exception cases. That combined with the fact that a company can put in a dozen kiosk's for less than the price of a single employee makes it the much faster choice.

Re:Speed and cost (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079207)

use machines is fun! it let's you talk to even more people and use more time!

like this one hotel, had to ask staff where to find more staff to check in! BRILLIANT!

and like this one flight switch over, had to ask staff where to find staff to find another member of the staff! EXCELLENT!

There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079161)

It seems 90% of the time I can't use the IVR since for that kind of thing I would have used the web page, which means I am now stuck trying to get a human which is getting harder and harder. I suspect that this is intentional, the longer you have to play around with the IVR the shorter the queue wait times are in the call center.

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079203)

It seems 90% of the time I can't use the IVR since for that kind of thing I would have used the web page, which means I am now stuck trying to get a human which is getting harder and harder. I suspect that this is intentional, the longer you have to play around with the IVR the shorter the queue wait times are in the call center.

If you want a human in the IVR, just hit 0 repeatedly as soon as it picks up. They will transfer you directly to a CSR - every.. single.. time..

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (1)

Lifyre (960576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079251)

Except when they just disconnect you. Which has happened to me more than one time. However I've found in those cases it is almost always effective to start swearing at the IVR and it gets you over to a CSR.

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079427)

Except when they just disconnect you. Which has happened to me more than one time. However I've found in those cases it is almost always effective to start swearing at the IVR and it gets you over to a CSR.

Swearing at computers gets you to humans? Your sig is uncannily appropriate.

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079895)

or just don't say or press anything. some people still have rotary dials and a patient loathing for automated voices.

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079729)

It seems 90% of the time I can't use the IVR since for that kind of thing I would have used the web page, which means I am now stuck trying to get a human which is getting harder and harder. I suspect that this is intentional, the longer you have to play around with the IVR the shorter the queue wait times are in the call center.

If you want a human in the IVR, just hit 0 repeatedly as soon as it picks up. They will transfer you directly to a CSR - every.. single.. time..

IVR programmers know that everyone knows that trick, so now "0" will often take you to the main menu.

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079287)

You might try looking up the company at GetHuman [gethuman.com] . They've got a pretty good database of the arcane paths you need to follow through the IVR systems to get to a person.

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079341)

http://gethuman.com/ [gethuman.com]

Last time I had an issue with a major company (I think it was FedEx, it might've been UPS), their website failed horribly, I called their support line, tried several times to speak to anyone, and eventually got auto-disconnected after waiting on hold for a bit. In frustration, googled how to talk to a person there, ended up on that site. Immediately got an actual person, and a minute later, everything was fixed. It's a pretty awesome site.

Re:There has to be a way to get out of the IVR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079519)

And how about that airline food, it sure sucks! AMIRIGHT???

Troll.

Place item in bagging area (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079163)

Place item in bagging area how about place a real person at the check out.

Re:Place item in bagging area (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079417)

I make a point of only using human checkouts. If everyone did this, they would be perceived as an expensive waste of hardware, rather than a convenient money saver for the supermarket.

Human checkouts are faster. I can concentrate on my task (packing), the checkout person can do theirs (scanning). Specialization is what all efficient production lines are about. So robot checkouts are not superior for the customer, they are superior for the store.

People still use them. Because the line at them is shorter. Probably because people hate using them... UNLESS they are running late with only a few items in the basket, when a short line outweighs the throughput efficiency of a human operator. And the store can cram 4 of them into the same area that 2 humans used to occupy, making up for the reduced throughput AND enabling them to fire an employee (they have 1 person supervise the 4 robo-checkouts).

Re:Place item in bagging area (1)

james_shoemaker (12459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079645)

At my grocery store my job is taking the items out of the cart and putting them on the conveyor. The store has people that scan/check, pack things into bags, and place them in my car. The only time I use automated checking is if I have only a couple of items. You actually have to pack your own items in bags? I hope that never comes to Iowa.

Re:Place item in bagging area (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079879)

This is the way it is in England as my American wife found out when she stood there watching the groceries pile up the first time she went shopping there. To me it makes sense. I have nothing better to do and I have more of an interest in making sure my groceries are stacked properly. Wal mart doesn't even have separate baggers, the checker does it so that just means more time and longer queues at the checkout.

Re:Place item in bagging area (1)

Dracos (107777) | about a year and a half ago | (#43080039)

The fact that Walmart generally only has half as many lanes open as it needs at any given time is also a factor.

I chalk this up as more evidence that corporations consider their non-executive workforce a liability rather than an asset.

Re:Place item in bagging area (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079813)

The best reason to use the robot checkouts is that the people why typically take the longest at checkouts (old people, check writers etc) tend to use the human checkouts. Also, the robot checkout is a pretty known quantity. Nothing worse than hitting a human checkout where the checker gets you through in the time the next checker over gets two or three people. Also the robo-checker tends to have a uni-queue at the times it has a queue at all. Definitely room for some Clooney-esque optimization.

Re:Place item in bagging area (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079865)

I make a point of only using automated checkouts. The human checkouts tend to have longer lines, and shoppers with much fuller shopping carts. From this perspective automated checkouts are faster. Unless you get behind a customer who has no idea what they're doing. But I put myself through college as a part-time cashier at Toys-R-Us, so my throughput is generally the same as (or even better than) the current human cashiers.

TL;DR - Your preference works for you, not for everyone.

Re:Place item in bagging area (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079739)

Personally, I would rather see the technology develop to the point that I don't even have to scan my groceries, just drop them into the bag. If that means RFID in packaging so be it, my trunk is made of metal and I own a microwave for any edge cases.

Hopefully this will eventually advance to the point where most of us can do our shopping online, which will save us a lot of effort and time which we can use for meaningful, voluntary human interaction.

Re:Place item in bagging area (1)

Dracos (107777) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079995)

THIS.

Self-checkouts at stores are a dereliction of customer service. From my totally unscientific observations of them remaining unused while there are lines at the real checkouts, most people don't like them.

Humans (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079173)

Just make sure the complaints department has plenty of them. I do not want to talk to a machine.

Re:Humans (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079333)

I'm unimpressed by siri on an iPhone, but siri when I had to call apple was amazing.

I spoke one sentence, and was immediately transferred to a person knowledgeable in the area I needed.

this is far better than the person, questions, hold, person that I'm used to.

specifically, I stated "upgrade to is 10.6" (it wasn't available in the stores anymore). Within 3 minutes I had already paid and was done.

Re:Humans (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079453)

Depends on your voice. I have a rather low voice and often times the system just can't pick up my voice at all. It'll suggest talking louder, but that's bullshit. Talking louder only helps if you're talking unreasonably quietly, which is pretty much nobody.

But, properly implemented, a menu system can be much more efficient as it gives the technicians the information they always have to ask before they come online to help. What people hate are poorly designed systems and ones which are confusing.

There is a difference (5, Insightful)

MasseKid (1294554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079195)

There is a difference between interacting with an average human and interaction with someone getting paid minimum wage. There's no value added by the later.


On two recent trips I had drastically different experiences. Front desk clerk at a cheaper hotel took 25 minutes to check in the three people in our group. We asked about simple things like which of the three restaurants next to the hotel was better and he couldn't even tell us what restaurants were next to the hotel. The second was at a much nicer hotel. The person behind the counter was clearly paid more, smiled, and was very nice. It took them all of about 10 minutes to get all four rooms of the group checked in, including changing floors for one of them. They also made some great recommendations for food.

What people want is value added. I'd never check in via a kiosk for the second hotel, but I'd be very glad to check in via a kiosk at the first. Not wanting interaction with idiots isn't the same as not wanting interaction with people.

Re:There is a difference (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079597)

This : telling a machine to fuck off (with a cancel button) because they are are dumbo-know-nothing is much easier than doing the same to a human dumbo-know-nothing.

Alas, no-one encourages people to be good at their job anymore. Franchise places want consistency - the same experience in every location. Which means you have to reduce the skills to do the job to a three-ring binder that even a dumbo-know-nothing can read, meaning the only people who will stay in that job are the ones who found their level.

When was the last time someone raved to you about how great a particular McDonald's or Subway joint was? Never.

I used to eat meatball subs in a place that had people who cared. They cost £0.50 more than Subway, but you got a bowl of soup as well, and the sub was heaven - real cheese, meatballs that weren't scorched and dried up from sitting in the pan, bread made from dough instead of foam. They guy behind the counter knew me, knew what I liked, brought me my sandwich while I sat in the window and indulged in a little people watching. That kind of service you don't want to automate away. *

KFC? I prefer to use the auto-till because it reduces the number of chances they have to fuck up your order.

* alas, this lovely deli died because Subway opened 7 locations within half a mile of it

Re:There is a difference (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079651)

Then why did you choose the cheaper hotel for the one trip? Some people will complain that the more expensive hotel is wasting its money on expensive help. Why pay people a living wage when there's plenty of people looking for work? Then we complain when we get poor service. I don't know how many times a friend complained about the incompetent help at MacDonalds, but he clearly loves the $1 value menu for his 4 kids. You get what you pay for. Usually.

I don't mind IVR when things go right, and if that saves money, fine. It's when things go wrong and you need to talk to a person that you'll find out if the company cares about customer service, or if they're just cheap.

Re:There is a difference (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079765)

The person at the cheaper hotel can't afford to eat out. They can probably tell you which brand of ramen is best, though.

Often the same thing (4, Insightful)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079199)

If I'm at a counter and the person behind the counter is just reading things off a screen to me, what's the point? If the person adds nothing to the transaction, what I really should be talking to them about is what they are going to do after their job is eliminated.

Re:Often the same thing (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079495)

Because computers never have bugs and people always know what the things on the screen mean. Having a person there slows things a bit, but they're supposed to be there to fix things and answer questions as well.

Also, this sort of attitude is why customer service in the US is so incredibly bad most of the time. In China, where I'm pretty sure the government mandates a minimum number of employees, customer service is good to the point of being creepy often times. You'll have an employee for ever 4 or so aisles there to answer questions or direct you to the correct aisle and even fastfood restaurants like McDonalds will have people there to clear up after you finish eating.

This is what you get when there are insufficient jobs for the people which coincidentally is the situation you get when you eliminate all the jobs that aren't completely necessary.

Re:Often the same thing (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079781)

Exactly. I'll talk to a concierge or someone who can offer services not available from a computer, but if it's just a check-in drone at the front desk, why would I wait in line if I can hit the same buttons they can with none of the hassle?

Besides which, this, at least to me, seems like an interface issue. We all know that progress indicators slow down computers by stealing cycles to update the screen, yet we'd still rather have them than not, simply because they significantly improve our interaction with computers. Similarly, when you have a drone going through an opaque script and you're unable to assess the state of progress, it can be a frustrating process. Going through the motions yourself at a kiosk allows you to have a sense of progression, even if that drone at the front desk might be capable of working through the on-screen system faster than you can.

Another interpretation (3, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079223)

1/3 of the Hyatt's guests are tech savvy introverts who have figured out that they can lessen stress inducing interactions. The other 2/3s are either extroverts or introverts who haven't figured out how to use the kiosks.

Re:Another interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079413)

More likely 3/3s are people who don't feel like talking to a minimum wage drone with a highschool diploma who has a chip on their shoulder that they aren't getting paid 30 dollars an hour to say "I'm sorry that's our policy" or "I don't see your reservation in our system, how do you spell Smith again?"

Re:Another interpretation (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079711)

Apparently 3/3s also don't like paying more for a better hotel that actually pays enough to attract intelligent people to run their front desk.

Re:Another interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079441)

Hyatt... OH yeah the place that nickle and dimes you on every little thing. As if a bottle of water is really worth 8 bucks... Everything in that hotel is at a premium cost. Not surprising they want to cut costs and increase their margin. Meaning they want to eliminate the help. Wouldnt be surprised if they figure out 'hey we can charge 1 buck extra for either interaction'.

Threaten is not the right word. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079227)

If I want to talk to someone, I will.

If I want to get something done, unless said "something" is to speak to someone, I want to get it done - whether or not interaction with others is required.

Remember: you are not special.

Nuance has it all wrong (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079229)

Yes, I don't want to speak to a human. Humans are rude and unhelpful, and they don't need to give me askance looks when they see all the weird stuff that I'm buying at the drugstore.

But I don't want to speak to a computer either, because I don't like repeating myself. Just let me push buttons.

Machines (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079241)

When I talk to one of the machines over the phone, they usually give me a list of options, none of which relate to my problem. I have no problem starting with a machine, but PLEASE, give me a way to get to a human when the machine doesn't cut it.

Re:Machines (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079661)

I'd have no problem moving on to a machine, if the machine was good at dealing with my problem.

Say :

Menu : three confusing options, fourth option for a human operator
Human : You explain your problem and then... they direct you to
Machine : The correct piece of software tailored for your issue

Re:Machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079901)

It is already a failure that you are talking to a machine on the phone in the first place. Voice-only is a horrible medium for navigating menus or imparting computerized information. All such interaction should happen using text or a gui and the first thing the computer voice should tell you is: "for a better experience, go to www.example.com." Then you can go there and if you do need to talk to a person, and it has to be on the phone, the website could give you a session id to type in to by-pass the voice menus.

Most kiosks are made for speed (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079273)

slide credit card and/or enter a few numbers to identify yourself
answer a question or two about checked luggage
grab your ticket/key

most times you talk to a person their computer system is some ancient software where the person has to type in war and peace to get the same thing done

Re:Most kiosks are made for speed (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079543)

most times you talk to a person their computer system is some ancient software where the person has to type in war and peace to get the same thing done

THIS What the fuck are they typing? Why does it take so many keystrokes? They are all pretty fast typers judging by the rate of "clicky clack click" soa re they just hitting random keys while staring at the screen doing nothing? I can't imagine what kind of UI forces a person to type that much.

Re:Most kiosks are made for speed (1)

Pope (17780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079685)

THIS What the fuck are they typing? Why does it take so many keystrokes? They are all pretty fast typers judging by the rate of "clicky clack click" soa re they just hitting random keys while staring at the screen doing nothing? I can't imagine what kind of UI forces a person to type that much.

A UI designed by the programmers, not a UI designer, unlike most self-serve kiosks.

That said, the self-serve kiosks usually have 2 or 3 actual tasks do to, whereas the desk ones can do EVERYTHING. Of course it's easier to design a kiosk UI.

False - All Kiosks Are Made To Cut Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079577)

Push more sheep through, lower/eliminate labor cost.

Your interests are of precisely zero importance in the decision to implement kiosks. But, it's adorable that they've got you believing that kiosks are for your benefit.

Your naivete is like a new born kitten. Adorable!

Re:Most kiosks are made for speed (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079763)

Don't knock old software too much - the oldest stuff is probably the fastest.

The best airline systems are still based on terminals. Because even though they have a learning curve, they were really, really, well designed for maximum throughput. Many of them are probably either still running ancient mainframes or virtualizing them if they are smart.

Systems with GUIs often concentrate on presentation to the detriment of usability. I've seen systems that don't even make any provision for keyboard usage patterns - where the tab order on the form was in an apparently random order, to the point where the people using it would despair because they'd have to mouse between each field instead of the age-old data entry staple - hitting tab. When we ported our terminal-era app to GUI, this was the number one design stipulation - that it would remain key stream compatible with the old version. Alas, this lead to some really painful code...

What would be faster in McD's - the current hunt and peck through little icons of the food on a touch screen, or a real keyboard where the server enters the unique code for each food item? The latter - but alas, only after they'd been trained. Training = skill and skill = higher wages, so they don't want to do that.

Voice recognition currently is horrible (5, Insightful)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079321)

How many times recently have you tried to call say a cell phone or cable company only to go through the decision tree hierachy that does not give are you an option your need, but you don't find that out until you are 3 or 4 levels down on the tree and you have already invested 10 minutes and then r put in a wait queue for another 20 just to find out you are in the wrong place. That design may save on some human salaries but at the cost of many very pissed off clients.

I think most people would like to talk with a person that can understand what you need and help. We certainly don't have a technology yet that allows a machine to take that place.

There also seems to be the effect if not the intent to limit access to only certain problems or complaints which you can do by design with an automation but not a person. So limited access for complaints is the other problem.

Re:Voice recognition currently is horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079411)

That is their point exactly, why spend money on you calling them up? They want clients that don't use their service, don't call them up, and just keep paying.

Re:Voice recognition currently is horrible (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079679)

How many times recently have you tried to call say a cell phone or cable company only to go through the decision tree hierachy that does not give are you an option your need, but you don't find that out until you are 3 or 4 levels down on the tree and you have already invested 10 minutes and then r put in a wait queue for another 20 just to find out you are in the wrong place.

Forget how many. What percentage of the time when I call a company and get a human do they send me to the right place, versus what percentage of the time can I get to the right place via the call tree? I have no statistics, but you're not even asking the right question. My personal experience of the matter is that either way I'm likely to have a bad time when I call any company, whether I speak to a human or not. More than half the time when I get a person they don't know what the fuck I'm talking about anyway, and I get transferred around to three or four different departments before I even reach someone who can help me with my actual problem... I say the same things to three or four different people, and eventually I get to talk to the right one. Sometimes I even have to hang up and call back and speak to a different person in the same call center before I can even move on to the next stage.

I think most people would like to talk with a person that can understand what you need and help.

That is so true. Unfortunately, you often end up talking to a person who can't understand simple (insert your language here) and who can't help. I would go so far as to say usually.

Re:Voice recognition currently is horrible (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079829)

In the age of the smartphone it could be so much easier - instead of having the menu on your phone system, have the menu on your website, in a format that's more useful, and have the phone directly call the relevant department at the end of it.

Hmm. I'm sure there's an app in that.

Meh If thats what you call interaction (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079361)

"Coffee with milk and no sugar"
"That will be three dollars"
"thanks"

OMG! The meaningful interactions I will miss! What am I going to miss out on? Meaningless protocol driven exchanges? The occasional moments where protocol breaks and customer and server have a brief moment of human interaction? Frankly, if it bothers you to lose these minute interactions, then you have bigger issues.

Re:Meh If thats what you call interaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079833)

Frankly, if it bothers you to lose these minute interactions, then you have bigger issues.

And some of us contend that when people overanalyze these interactions to clinically squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of them so that they have the spare time to make snarky comments to others who appreciate live interactions with human beings, then those people have bigger issues.

Re:Meh If thats what you call interaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079933)

No wonder this is news for nerds.
Imagine this short conversation you described above, just with nice girl with nice smile.
Can you really tell you would rather communicate with machine?

Re:Meh If thats what you call interaction (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43080015)

Yes, if you ignore all the other interactions that have value that are intermixed with useless ones, then it all seems useless.

Have you never gotten a date as the result of some meaningless conversation? Have you never learned something new as the result of a meaningless conversation with a clerk, or overheard from someone else's meaningless conversation?

My guess is that the one with a problem here is you, and you don't even realize how much of the world around you that you're missing just because you have your head so far up your own ass.

Peasants! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079371)

Well, this seems mildly interesting to me. The peasants actually prefer to have less service? The peasants actually prefer to constantly learn new systems that force them, like cattle in a race, to follow a predetermined path to increasing the corporation's profits? Silly peasants, don't you realize that you are working for the corporations, for free?

I'm not fooled by false hopes of time savings or fantasies of cost savings by doing the minimum wage labor myself. Thanks all the same. I prefer full service, where someone else has to master the system and do my bidding before receiving my payment.

If your hotel check-in is faster at a DIY kiosk than by a professional front desk manager, you're at the wrong hotel. When I stay at Hyatt properties, the front desk handles my check-in, payment transaction and baggage handling. Should they choose to discontinue that in favor of a DIY kiosk, I will take my business elsewhere.

Now, before you type up a heated retort, I am well aware that Hyatt will not miss my individual patronage and will happily trade it for the DIY profits form the unwashed masses. But, I remain unwilling to compromise, and there are lots of alternatives to Hyatt. And in the places where those alternatives don;t presently exist, new businesses will spring up to serve my needs, even if it is at a premium.

I have no problem paying for decent/exceptional service. I'm uninterested in paying or the "privilege" of doing the work myself. I I want that, I'll go to a motel, but even they staff the front desk.

Enjoy your "savings", peasants!

Re:Peasants! (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079843)

I caught an episode of Undercover Boss awhile back, where the CEO of Great Wolf Lodge was the principle character. She started at the front desk, and was appalled that it took 20-25 minutes to check in each family. Apparently, over time the tasks required to check in customers had increased so that it was impossible, even for competent help, to check in people quickly. I suspect it's much quicker now. Don't underestimate stupidity at the top level as the cause of poor customer service.

Re:Peasants! (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079969)

Ever turned up at a hotel and you've been traveling all night and it's after midnight and the front door is locked and the employee is in the bathroom? Not the best start to a stay. (Same chain as yours. I don't hold it against them but humans are humans).

My name is... (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079377)

"Not Sure" - Idiocracy.

Flawed premise much? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079405)

While the overly-aggressive push to IVRs in areas where they are clearly too immature to be viable is a rather annoying penny-pinching move, it hardly seems like most of the situations being described are really the sort of 'human interaction' that we want to hold on to.

Interacting with the poor bastard getting paid not-enough to push whatever paper is connected to my situation isn't all that pleasant. I hate to think how it is for the CSR, whose reward for finishing with me is yet another customer...

It is certainly possible for technology to be isolating(or, perhaps more accurately, quietly ease somebody into isolating themselves); but if your quota of 'human interaction' is currently with people slated for replacement with voice recognition and expert systems, I have some bad news about how isolated you already are.

The REAL question is : (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079429)

Do humans threaten computer interaction ?

Not at the grocery store (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079445)

Maybe a kiosk at a hotel is fine, but self-checkout at the grocery store is usually a pain in the neck. More often than not there is some sort of problem, even when scanning normal items, so you end up needing the help of a person to clear the error anyway. Of course the person who does this also attends to a register, so they have to wait until the people in their lane have been helped first before they can help you, so it ends up taking longer than if I just went straight to the human cashier.

Re:Not at the grocery store (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079539)

Are you sure you're not just doing it wrong? If I don't have much in my cart I tend to prefer those self-checkout terminals because they're so hassle free. That said, I never use the ones at Warmart or Food Lion because they're badly designed and horrible. Even the old annoyances of "This item is 1/4 gram different than its database weight, you thieving con artist!" have largely disappeared over the years.

Re:Not at the grocery store (1)

jjsimp (2245386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079563)

I usually have no problems with the grocery store kiosk, except waiting for the moron in front of me to figure out how to use it. However, I am not one of those people that memorize the prices for everything in their cart. So, I could be getting screwed, but wouldn't know it. Also, if I am buying something that needs to be weighed, such as produce, I use a cashier and not the kiosk.

The convenience factor is huge with me. Too bad everyone starting using them, when they first came out I was one of the only ones to use it. Used to be able to skip the lines at checkout.

Hotels have kiosks? (1)

jjsimp (2245386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079473)

Is it just Hyatt's and other similarly priced hotels that have the kiosks? I'm an introverted traveler that has never seen a check-in kiosk. Does the kiosk spit out the room key?

Personal opinion (1)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079487)

I always like talking to an actual human better. I spend enough time dealing with (or building) automatic systems. And I know how much they suck. The machine at the airport NEVER recognize my passport. Voice system NEVER recognize my foreign accent. Systems ALWAYS assume you know why you are there or the proper term for what you are trying to do or the procedure.

"Jack In The Box" too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079571)

Look, there's no question running "Jack In The Box" cash registers employs more people than building Red Box video stores, but the fast food joints that have robot cashiers can reduce their prices. Partially to make up for the fact that there aren't any pimply faced teenagers who can afford to buy a Ford Motors vehicle. So the former cash register jockeys have to go to college and eat $.45 tacos because the extra $.045 cents are needed to pay the captive market prices of textbook publishers. These pimple faced brats have no money for entertainment after paying $.90/2 tacos and $450 for a text book, so instead of watching Django Unchained in theaters with the rest of us plantation owners, they have to download it from the Internets creating demand for Fiber Optic infrastructure. They eventually graduate college, invent a robotic pharmacist, and buy a "Jack In The Box" franchise.

Total impact:
-My tacos are 10% cheaper
-congress finally investigates college text book prices
-I don't have to deal with pimple faced teenagers to order tacos
-The MPAA loses money
-Google Fiber
-Cheaper prescription pills just in time for the baby boomer retirement

Most importantly, a new "Jack in The Box" location puts up a help wanted add for someone to cook more tacos to feed all the people who just saved money on their cholesterol medication. This person's job will be way better because he doesn't have to interact with me acting like a bitchy customer to make a living, but he will continue to mope around like Dante Hicks in Clerks until his coworker gets fired, goes to school, and invents the "Auto-taco 9000". At that point, he'll either try to get a student loan, or if he's mentally disabled he might loiter around outside his local city hall with a bunch of other people in sleeping bags eating cheap tacos and watching Iron Man 3 on their cell phones.

That assumes the Federal Reserve prints enough money and congress stops acting fucktarded. If they squeeze the money supply hard enough, the "Auto-taco 9000" may never get the small business grant it so desperately deserves. Randal Graves will have to turn to Kickstarter & Crowdfunding to get his chance to feed customers wayward rodents.

The Federal Reserve & Congress must act to ensure that America stays competitive with third world countries in the "feeding rodent meat to tourists" department! If they don't, we may all soon be buying "100% Rodent-Free" tacos from illegal immigrants out of the back of a van.

Speak for yourself: (2)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079591)

Rant mode on: I work on laboratory equipment for a university. I spend a lot of my time and frustration on the phone with the companies who make scientific gear. Breaking out of canned menus and hold only works sometimes and often just results in voicemail sans returned calls or email.

Yes, for the 14th time this call, I did know that you have a web site.

If the answer I needed was on the web site, I would have gotten it there.

If I wanted to order a new machine, I would've dialed sales directly. You make that easy.

If my user wanted to drop N thousand dollars to have your tech come out three times again to fix a simple problem, they wouldn't have come to me out of frustration

I want tech support so I can ask a technical question that YOU (the company) removed the manual that had the answer from your web site.

And when we drop half a million on a machine, I expect better than some lame voice menu system with only a very few highly overworked tech support types on the other end.

(There. I feel better. But only till I get in another phone runaround with the instrument makers. Don't let me get started about them dropping support and parts for instruments after as short a time as possible.)

Not for me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43079607)

I so prefer working with people behind the counter (as probably does everyone who has some modicum of social skills). Automation is rules based. But if you're pleasant to the people behind the counter, in general they will go out of their way to make sure you have a good experience, even if they have to bend the rules a bit.

I hope so! (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079643)

I can't stand talking to humans, for basic day-to-day stuff. I don't have any great desire to answer how I'm doing or hear how other people are doing, or comment on how the weather is or what some rich guys did playing with a ball. I just want to get on with my day and not be distracted from the voices inside my head.

Isaac Asimov wrote about this idea in the 50's. (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079649)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_Sun [wikipedia.org]

"The book focuses on the unusual traditions and culture of Solarian society. The planet has a rigidly controlled population of twenty thousand, and robots outnumber humans ten thousand to one. People are strictly taught from birth to despise personal contact. They live on huge estates, either alone or with their spouse only. Communication is done via holographic telepresence (called viewing, as opposed to in-person seeing)".

A Kiosk won't upgrade me (1)

SirCodeAlot (574117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079657)

I will continue to prefer a human with whom I can attempt an upgrade for a gratuity. A machine gives you no leeway.

Oblig book reference (1)

ehud42 (314607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079701)

The Machine Stops [illinois.edu]

Demolition Man predicted this (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079719)

What was possible the most prophetic movie of the 20th century nailed this one.

Erwin: "Greetings and salutations. Welcome to the emergency line of the San Angeles Police Department. If you prefer an automated response, press one, now."

Routine vs. exception (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079747)

For routine stuff, the automated systems are usually faster and smoother. When I know what to expect, have everything ready and don't have anything exceptional to deal with, I much prefer to punch a few buttons on a machine and be done with it. When I want a human being involved is when the exceptions pop up: there's a problem, or I don't know exactly what to expect or what I need, or I have something that's not part of the normal flow that needs dealt with. That's when I want to take it to a human being who can exercise some judgement or explain to me what's going on. And ideally having the automated systems handling the routine stuff should improve things by freeing up the human reps to concentrate only on those exception cases.

The above, though, is probably why people prefer the machines: all too often the human reps can't apply any discretion or can't explain what's needed. Policies don't allow them any leeway, and hiring and training policies select against actually understanding what's happening. Given the choice between the machine and a human drone who can't do anything except follow the book, most people will go with the machine that'll get it over with quicker.

Sales pitches (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079797)

Any company that gets you to a human fast is likely only doing that so they can give you a sales pitch. I'd rather have a screen I can just click on "no". It wastes less of my time that way.

Inevitable. (3, Insightful)

Anarchy24 (964386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079845)

I don't want to wait in a line if I have a simple transaction - like checking into a hotel or printing tickets. Faster line to the kiosk, faster service by the kiosk, (usually) no confusion on the part of the computer. I like to have the opportunity to do things for myself, before having to rely on another person - often, this is not possible. Complex problems require human intervention. Computer errors too. And customer service by a computer exacerbates problems, because it is perceived as insincere and says, "we don't care about you and we aren't going to waste our time on you". Human workers will always be necessary - but in declining numbers, as machines become increasingly efficient and capable of performing complex tasks that could only have been done by a human before.

And for as fun/cool/effective as technology is, Slashdot readers are innovating their own demise.

People don't want to avoid people, just assholes (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079873)

If people in general didn't want to talk to other human beings, most of our planets population wouldn't be crammed into tiny areas ridiculously over crowded of land, better known as villages, towns and cities.

What people don't want is to deal with the lip of the teenage prick behind the counter who thinks his shit doesn't stink and that you're an asshole because you didn't realize that your 6 pack of soda counts as 6 different items so you now have 21 items in the 20 items or less line.

Euro-centrism (2)

Shotgun (30919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43079893)

Wouldn't this be more of a Western culture issue? Many parts of the world value the human interaction much more that Western, industrialized cultures, especially the American culture, which is off the end of the chart with its task oriented nature. This is NOT America bashing. Our culture is what you want when you want to get task done in the shortest time possible. We are good at business and getting projects done. Other cultures are not nearly as concerned with "git 'er done", if it sacrifices human interaction.

Would other cultures prefer the kiosks?

An annoyance (2)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#43080001)

I'm sick and tired of automatic systems that say "please be sure to listen to all of the following options as our menu has been changed". As a rule, they never give you a date when the menu has been changed, so this statement seems to typically be a lie used as an excuse to convince people to listen to the options every time.

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