Dorset Chamber

Using Research to Shape a New Direction for Dorset Chamber’s Service Development

Dorset Chamber

How can a Chamber of Commerce improve its services amidst financial uncertainty?

The motivation behind this project stems from the reduction in government funding for many government-supported bodies, including the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

The DCCI is a lively and active organisation that plays an important role in representing and supporting the vibrant business community in Dorset.

The chamber and its stakeholders are very involved, actively taking part in different activities and initiatives that help businesses in the region grow and develop.

However, even an engaged audience encounters challenges. How else can DCCI provide value to its members while also generating commercial benefits?

As well as membership fees, the research objective was to explore the additional support and services that DCCI could offer to its members, specifically targeting areas where there is currently a lack in the marketplace.

To achieve this, the DCCI recognised the importance of meeting the real and current needs of its members.

They commissioned work from external consultants (The Study) to conduct this research and gather valuable insights.

The insights gathered will play a crucial role in helping the chamber develop new services, programs, and events that are tailored to meet the current needs of its members.

Bridging the gap

The research can be classified as gap analysis, aiming to identify areas where businesses feel there are gaps in support to help them manage and grow their businesses effectively.

Gap analysis is a process of comparing the current state of a project, organisation, or system with its desired state. It helps identify the gaps or discrepancies between the current and desired states, allowing for the development of strategies to bridge those gaps and achieve the desired goals.

Pinpoint the opportunity

The research needed to identify opportunities for developing more business-focused services. These opportunities will allow the chamber to provide services that go beyond the usual offerings and meet the changing needs of its members.

The research methodology:

  1. Email survey to Dorset Chamber members to gather quantitative data.
  2. A focus group to delve deeper into the themes identified from survey responses.

This two-step approach ensured a comprehensive understanding of the members' needs and allowed for valuable insights to be extracted from both quantitative and qualitative data sources.

The focus group analysis process:

Focus groups recorded
Where consent is given, a phone app is used, and a file is exported.

Focus groups Transcribed
This is done manually and/or using an AI tool to transcribe. Then proofed.

Transcript Coded
Each sentence is given a ‘code’ – summarising what is said.

Transcript Analysed
Codes are grouped into ‘themes’ to show dominant patterns.

Insights fed back
Interesting themes (or lack of) are reported back to the teams.

Innovate to survive

The project began in Spring 2023 and will end later in the Autumn. After the research phase, there will be a presentation of findings, followed by a workshop to plan out how the chamber can use the recommendations to design services effectively.

This work highlights the proactive approach taken by DCCI to adapt in the face of financial uncertainty and an increasingly gloomy economic outlook.

By prioritising the needs of their members through leveraging research insights, they are well-positioned to develop and deliver value-added services that cater to the ever-changing business landscape.

WATCH: Our approach in three videos

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