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EMAC 2022 Annual

Just Name it: How Naming Humanoid Service Robots can Decrease Eeriness and Increase Repurchase Intent

Published: May 24, 2022


Malak El Halabi, Grenoble Ecole de Management; Olivier Trendel, Grenoble Ecole de Management


Though HSRs are the “holy grail” of robotics, the eeriness they elicit in consumers still raises concerns. From a firm’s point of view, the question revolves around integrating HSRs without hurting consumers’ repurchase intent as a result of their eeriness. The results of four studies, using three distinct HSRs and three different service settings, collectively examine a novel marketing strategy which consists of consumers naming the HSR in a service setting. We propose that naming an HSR versus not naming it, increases consumers’ repurchase intent. This is because the act of naming simultaneously increases perceived familiarity of the HSR and control over it, which decrease its eeriness and consequently increase consumers’ interaction enjoyment. We also provide evidence that naming an HSR has positive downstream consequences in service failure recovery. Altogether, our studies offer theoratical insights on how to faciliate technological infusion into service frontline in an actionable way.