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Digital innovation should always be about the customer, advises Norfolk Chambers of Commerce

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Although Norfolk Chambers has traded successfully for over 125 years supporting Norfolk businesses, it is only in the last decade that the pace of change within digital consumer behaviour has become meteoric.

To keep up, traditional longstanding organisations and businesses across Norfolk need innovation; without it they run the very real risk of losing their relevancy and customer base. So, innovate we must and with that in mind let me tell you my number one top tip when thinking about innovation.

Always make it about your customer.

Chris Sargisson, CEO of Norfolk Chambers of Commerce (43264200)
Chris Sargisson, CEO of Norfolk Chambers of Commerce (43264200)

Technology is a huge enabler, it can speed things up, simplify information, make you more accessible, save you time and therefore cost, but introducing innovative tech is best used in ways that delight and engage your customers more than you already do. In other words, you innovate to add to the customer experience.

Be mindful though, not all innovation does this. Have you noticed, for example that some retail outlets are removing automated tills from some of their stores? Yes, it’s nice to whiz though a checkout (although you could argue that rarely happens with automated tills), but did this innovation really add to the customer experience, or instead make it more frustrating with less positive human engagement? If your customer chooses to visit your shop, then you must make the experience a positive one and not try and ‘fuse tech’ to deliver the customer service and instead create an angry hybrid!

My other top tip. It’s all about your people, your team, your living/breathing brand ambassadors.

Norfolk’s Voice is a new digital media platform (43265311)
Norfolk’s Voice is a new digital media platform (43265311)

They must own your transformation. When companies think about transformation they naturally focus on risk and revenue. All good, but a huge value of a business is in its culture and people, so naturally the culture must allow the people to drive and support the innovation as co-creation.

Co-creation is where our heads have been for the last year or so at the Norfolk Chambers. Buoyed by our refreshed company mission and purpose – to connect and support and give voice to every business in Norfolk – we have begun our modernisation journey.

The journey references our 125-year history and enables us to create and engage in new and exciting digital innovations that, when applied, add to the customer experience. There are a few innovations to come and grouped together they collectively form: The Digital Chamber.

And, due to the current and dramatic shift to digital caused by the COVID pandemic, we have accelerated the launch of the first The Digital Chamber innovation: Norfolk’s Voice.

Norfolk’s Voice is a new digital media platform and is, quite simply, a home for videos, podcasts and articles, that are enriched with vital knowledge, that when understood will enable business to succeed.

Knowledge rich content is not in short supply; in the spirit of co-creation we see and hear it every day, and now we have the ability to give it greater purpose. Norfolk’s Voice is free to view and available 24/7 via the web and free apps. Supported and curated by the chamber, our aim is to deliver relevant, engaging content that’s free and is "telling not selling!"

We are just beginning. Welcome to The Digital Chamber!

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