Customer Relationship Management

Digitalization empowers customers. New digital technologies significantly change customers’ behaviors in terms of how they become informed, evaluate, and purchase. Customers are not only better informed but also more self-confident; they become more connected – with each other as well as with companies. Mastering the end-user interface becomes ever more critical for companies – and this is largely independent from where a company is in the digital value chain. Our research shows that digitalization heavily affects established customer relationships as well as processes and, thus, concentrating on customer needs and customer experience is more important than ever. The research group Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is dedicated to explore the interaction between companies and customers comprehensively with five focus areas as displayed in the following figure. In these areas we conduct and publish research, offer teaching and possibilities for learning, and support industry partners by developing and implementing solutions for their individual challenges.

The research focus Customer Interaction and Integration analyzes developments and modifications of the relationship between companies and their customers. Research projects in this area deal with new opportunities of customer interaction, customer integration in company processes, and company integration in customer processes. The objective is to improve processes along the value chain and increase customer satisfaction simultaneously.

Especially social media creates a special environment for customer interaction and integration. In social networks all sorts of combinations and extensions of fundamental communication channels arise: Companies communicate with their customers, customers communicate with companies, and customers communicate with other customers. The research area of social media is captured by the research focusSocial CRM. Previous research contributions in this area not only analyze the new and emerging structures of communication, but also question the relationship between companies and their customers in social networks. Other research contributions discuss relevant phenomena or concentrate on the position of individual customers within social networks. Because of the constant emergence of new innovations, phenomena, and developments, Social CRM can be viewed as a research focus that is dedicated to extend the current state of research and to set future research goals.

Kompetenz fim fraunhofer fit Not only social media, but also the proceeding digitalization in general enables companies to get access to an increasing amount of customer data. Storing, using and evaluating these big data volumes can generate competitive advantages and new business models. Major challenges hereby are to ensure an appropriate level of data quality and to satisfy customer concerns when it comes to their data. Customers are aware of the issue Big Data and decide on the provision of their data according to an individual calculus. The research focus Customer Data and Privacy addresses these topics. It focuses on the measurement and an economically viable improvement of the quality of customer data as success factors for companies. Furthermore, it sheds light on the privacy-calculus of customers.
More detailed information regarding this topic is available in German only in our Data Protection brochure.

Based on this customer perspective, further factors exist, influencing the customer experience, their satisfaction and behavior. The research focus Customer Satisfaction and Customer Experience examines these manifold determinants. While cultural differences can affect the perceived quality of services and customer satisfaction in general, the amount of digital information can lead customers to change their behavior and transform into so called hybrid customers. Furthermore, several research projects focus on irrational behaviors of customers, originated by emotions. Empirical approaches frequently solve scientific problems within this research focus.

An additional factor influencing customer satisfaction significantly is the degree of value-based, sustainable management of companies, following not only economic objectives, but also social and ecologic ones. Recently, issues such as sustainability and corporate responsibility gained a lot of attention in science and application. The growing customer demand for sustainability leads companies to adapt their business models and give the ground for new research ideas, which are subsumed under the research focus Sustainable CRM.

The research group Customer Relationship Management not only focus on the value of customers, but also on the value for customers from a company´s and a customer´s perspective. The intersection of customer and company is being analyzed from all perspectives.


The research group CRM examines relevant real-world problems in both publicly funded research projects and applied research projects with industry partners. Based on our combined insights from current State-of-the-Art research and practical experience, our interdisciplinary and enthusiastic team is able to develop new and unique solutions together with our partners. Selected projects are:

    • Radeberger Group (2013):
      Evaluation of sustainability key performance indicators and design of a concept for sustainability controlling and reporting
    • Metafinanz (2013):
      Development of a Meta Model for Selecting Data Sources and Measuring Data Quality in a Big Data Context
    • Hilti (2012):
      Design and implementation of an IT-supported software development process for mobile services and professionalization of social collaboration services (see transfer publication in German)
    • Buecher.de (2011):
      Development of a strategy to market specialist literature and recommendations for operationalization
    • Siemens (2007-2009):
      Design of a concept for the evaluation and introduction of a CRM system and increasing productivity and sales force success by CRM investments (see transfer publication in German)

Based on the results of the research projects, the Research center FIM regularly publishes in international journals and conferences. Selected publications are:

Consumer Motives for Peer-to-Peer Sharing
in: Journal of Cleaner Production, 2018
Hawlitschek, Florian
Teubner, Timm
Gimpel, Henner
Understanding FinTech Start-Ups : A Taxonomy of Consumer-Oriented Service Offerings
in: Electronic Markets, 2018
Gimpel, Henner
Rau, Daniel
Röglinger, Maximilian
Der unbekannte Kunde : Potenziale der Integration von Kundendaten
in: HMD Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik, 2018
Gimpel, Henner
Schmied, Fabian
Stöber, Anna-Luisa
The Disclosure of Private Data : Measuring the Privacy Paradox in Digital Services
in: Electronic Markets, 2018
Gimpel, Henner
Kleindienst, Dominikus
Waldmann, Daniela
Daten monetarisieren
in: Digitalisierung : Schlüsseltechnologien für Wirtschaft und GesellschaftBerlin, 2018
Gimpel, Henner
The Upside of Data Privacy - Delighting Customers by Implementing Data Privacy Measures
in: Electronic Markets, 2018
Gimpel, Henner
Kleindienst, Dominikus
Nüske, Niclas
Rau, Daniel
Schmied, Fabian
Between Death and Life : A Formal Decision Model to Decide on Customer Recovery Investments
in: Electronic Markets, 2018
Kleindienst, Dominikus
Waldmann, Daniela
Customer Experience Management : Kontinuierlicher Kreislauf
in: BankInformation, 2017
Gimpel, Henner
Customer Experience Versus Process Efficiency : Towards an Analytical Framework About Ambidextrous BPM
in: International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), 2016
Afflerbach, Patrick
Frank, Leonhard
Customer Satisfaction in Digital Service Encounters : The Role of Media Richness, Social Presence, and Cultural Distance
in: European Conference on Information Systems, 2016
Gimpel, Henner
Huber, Johannes
Sarikaya, Serkan
In addition to projects with industry partners, the research group CRM is engaged in multiple activities that aim to fostering knowledge exchange with fellow scholars and practitioners. Selected activities are:

  • EURO FINANCE WEEK, Frankfurt, 2013: “Value-based Customer Relationship and Process Management in the Financial Services Industry” (in German).
  • Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), Chicago, 2013: Mini-track “Social Analytics and Economics of Social Media” in cooperation with Prof. Mathias Klier (University of Regensburg) and Prof. Balaji Rajagopalan (University of Oakland).
  • EURO FINANCE WEEK, Frankfurt, 2012: “Social Banking – Chances and Challenges of new Distribution Channels in Retail Banking” (in German).
  • Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), Seattle, 2012: Mini-track “Social Analytics and Economics of Social Media” in cooperation with Prof. Mathias Klier (University of Regensburg) and Prof. Balaji Rajagopalan (University of Oakland).
  • EURO FINANCE WEEK, Frankfurt, 2011: “Retail Banking 2.0 – Will Social Media lead to a Paradigm Shift?”
Our course Customer Relationship Management for Bachelor students is the cornerstone of our undergraduate education in the field of Value-Based CRM at the University of Augsburg.

We offer the possibility to subsequently specialize in Social CRM, Sustainability, or Data Quality within our CRM research seminar and our industry partner seminar. While the research seminar is specifically designed to provide first experience in scientific work by writing a State-of-the-Art article, the seminar in cooperation with our industry partners offers the possibility to gain valuable insights from business practices as well as project management experience. Both the research and the practical seminar prepare students to write a Bachelor or Master thesis by introducing the most important formal and methodological requirements.

Master students are eligible for our project seminar “Business & Information Systems Engineering IV”, which deals with the overlapping area of study between Value-Based CRM and Value-Based Business Process Management (BPM). For students of the Elite Graduate Program FIM, we also offer the course “Value-Based Customer Relationship and Process Management” (see syllabus in german).

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