Comparing customer trust in virtual salespersons with customer trust in human salespersons

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 22 - Publication in policy or professional journal

18 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


Title38th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
PlaceUnited States
CityBig Island
Period3 - 6 January 2005


Virtual salespersons (computer agents) act in a similar role in online stores as human salespersons act in physical stores. Customer trust in a salesperson is key in generating transactions and managing customer relationships. In this exploratory study, 44 participants used the services of both virtual and human salespersons in the same commercial store. Written protocols were collected by asking the participants open-ended questions regarding their comparative trust. This paper finds that similar to trust in a human salesperson, trust in a virtual salesperson contains trust in competence, benevolence, and integrity; however, the formation processes of trust in virtual salespersons, trust in human salespersons, distrust in virtual salespersons, and distrust in human salespersons are different. This paper theoretically outlines to what extent research on trust in computer agents can draw from literature on interpersonal trust. It practically contributes to our understanding of how to better design trustworthy virtual salespersons.