University of Oulu

Mobile customer relationship management : a communication perspective

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Author: Sinisalo, Jaakko1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : University of Oulu, 2010
Publish Date: 2010-12-10
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Oulu for public defence in Arina-sali (Auditorium TA105), Linnanmaa, on 20 December 2010, at 12 noon
Tutor: Professor Kimmo Alajoutsijärvi
Professor Heikki Karjaluoto
Reviewer: Associate Professor Shintaro Okazaki
Professor Virpi Tuunainen


This study examines communication through the mobile medium in customer relationship management (hereafter mCRM). Although the academic research on mCRM is gradually evolving, there is still a lack of empirical research on this topical issue. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to begin to fill this gap by enhancing the theoretical and practical understanding of mCRM.

The empirical part of the study is conducted as a qualitative case study. Seven Finnish companies utilizing the mobile medium as a communication channel in CRM were selected for the empirical analysis. Interviews, observations and personal experiences gained within those companies form the main sources of data.

The main theoretical contributions of the present study to existing academic literature are as follows. First, the study proposes the conceptualization of the focal phenomenon of the study, mCRM, and further elicits the salient characteristics of it. Second, following the conceptualization, the study focuses on communication as the core of the interaction between the company and the customer via the mobile medium. Accordingly, the study sheds light on the key elements of the communication process within mCRM and its various phases. Third, the study founds a theoretical framework for mCRM; identifying the customer relationship management, mobile commerce and communication literature streams that define mCRM theoretically. Fourth, the study elaborates on the specific role of the mobile medium as a channel within CRM and highlights the ways in which it differs from all other channels within the multichannel CRM environment.

Although mCRM communication has an inherent potential to benefit both company and customer, it has been utilized quite cautiously to date. This is rather surprising given that, compared to other channels, the mobile medium has an exceptional ability to reach people. In addition, greater utilization of the mobile medium could save time and money. This is because many face-to-face encounters could easily be replaced by communication through the mobile medium. The study offers guidelines on aspects ranging from the initiation of mCRM to actual communication through mCRM. Hopefully, the findings of this study will encourage managers, regardless of industry, to consider whether their company could provide added-value of any kind through the use of the mobile medium to benefit their customer relationships.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. G, Oeconomica
ISSN: 1455-2647
ISSN-E: 1796-2269
ISSN-L: 1455-2647
ISBN: 978-951-42-6391-0
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-6390-3
Issue: 49
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2010. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.