Best Buy Testing Robot Customer Service Employees

In an era where retail is increasingly moving online, some shoppers still prefer to deal with actual human beings when they go to the store. But the folks at Best Buy believe that some in-store customer service tasks may be best done by automatons.

At one Best Buy in Manhattan, the retail has a robot employee named “Chloe” who handles requests for DVDs and CDs for those still living in 2004.

A reporter for NYC’s Fox 5 got a firsthand experience with Chloe during a Best Buy shopping trip to purchase a CD. It appears to just be a massive jukebox sort of operation, where you punch in your request on a screen and Chloe’s robotic arm fetches it from its glassed-off shelves.

In addition to disc-based media, Chloe can fetch other items that you might need — headphones, cellphone chargers — and two of the in-store robots at the Manhattan location is situated in the store’s vestibule so it can be accessed 24 hours a day.

This is Best Buy’s first attempt at automated in-store service. The idea is to give shoppers the immediacy of going to a bricks-and-mortar store and the joy of not having to deal with another human being.

“We’re looking to see how customers like it and how they use it before we make any decisions,” a Best Buy rep tells Fox.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.