2020 is a serious contender for Worst Year Ever
We all know what needs to be said about the 2020 retrospective; it’s the dumpster fire that refuses to flicker out. It wasn’t all bad though… there were some silver linings among the noxious smoke clouds. But a silver lining does not a fresh-smelling garbage inferno make. However, in the spirit of the New Year, let’s reflect on the silver linings as well as the waste blaze, how it affected us, and how it will continue to affect us in the coming years, lest we repeat this junk conflagration.
- The first COVID vaccine from Pfizer rolled out for the first time on December 14th, a major relief to healthcare workers.
- Many global responses to the virus, like New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea reported low death tolls, some in the single digits.
- Tech IPO season is booming, seeing companies like Airbnb and DoorDash’s valuations skyrocket, confounding the market enough that Roblox chose to delay their own IPO.
- Telecommuting, remote doctor’s consultations, virtual classrooms, etc., have burst into normalcy, a big step towards making essential services available to the widest possible population.
- Lockdown reduced global pollution levels. Whales were spotted in the Hudson, and Mt. Everest is visible from Kathmandu for the first time in years.
- In the US, the virus response couldn’t have been much worse. The death toll reached over 3,000 deaths in one day and fast approaches 300,000 total.
- Social media and the insidious information vortex played a huge part. People’s trust in news and science has eroded severely. Having constant contact with an endless swirl of information and disinformation has destroyed people’s ability to discern fiction from reality.
- Regulation and response to COVID, including economic relief, has been a patchwork and/or downright gridlocked, and will be difficult to get under control even with a strong government response.
- US diplomatic relations around the world are destabilized, and the nation itself is politically destabilized following an election year from hell. And that’s saying nothing of the historically bad first week of 2021.
Despite lockdowns, we’ve been keeping busy here at HQ, splitting time between home and the office.
- We ran a Work from Home University campaign alongside fellow CX leaders like Nir Eyal, Ryan Foland, Nate Brown and Denise Lee Yohn to help people situate themselves comfortably and productively during lockdown. You can check out our video collabs here.
- We did something new in Voices of CX: Off the Cuff, where we interviewed employees about what they’ve learned and applied from previous podcast seasons. Check out the video playlist on YouTube, or listen on Soundcloud.
- We’ve picked some more great CX brains in preparation for Voices of CX: Season 7. More news to come, but expect the season to kickoff in late spring!
- The CX News Recap had plenty of interesting highlights; Vegan McDonald’s, an all-electric Hummer, giant chicken nugget pillows (still on backorder), Amazon Pharmacy, interior designers making real money in Animal Crossing, and a whole bunch more. Catch up on the year’s CX wins and fails here.
Last Year’s 2020 CX Predictions
Back to a lighter subject, let’s have a look at some of our CX predictions from last year. Here’s how we called it:
- Data collection en-masse has caused both major advances and major problems. There will be increasing emphasis on both privacy and personalization.
True. The consumer demand for their data to be both personalized and protected is ongoing. This was an easy call to make, but the challenge is on companies to balance the two priorities. Big data leaks and ongoing cyberattacks by state actors, including the recently reported Solarwinds hack, accentuate the need for strong security measures.
- Marketing efforts are trending towards authenticity and originality. Both silo-busting and authentic company-wide messaging will be essential.
True. We know that the values overwhelmingly favored by upcoming generations tend towards the authentic. A year fraught with fraud and disinformation made those values all the more important to uphold. As a brand, putting the hard truth ahead of a comforting lie should be the rule, not the exception.
- CX is becoming oversaturated as an industry. The biggest risk for CX will be taking no risks at all.
True, but with a caveat. Differentiation is becoming critical as brands look to consolidate their CX tech budgets, while weeding out what features they can and can’t live without. However, customers feel that they aren’t being cared about enough. It may be more important to get back to CX basics than to take unnecessary risks on shiny new features.
2021 CX Predictions
It goes without saying that we’re counting on the above trends to continue. Here’s what we see as the biggest upcoming trends:
- Working from home, buying online, and curbside pickup have all been spring boarded into normalcy.
We expect working from home to continue as a norm, just a bit reduced as people eventually return to work in person. The option to telecommute will be a great extension of full-time benefits, availability and flexibility for remote workers.
Buying online was already a force to be reckoned with, and its volume only increased. We don’t expect that to change anytime soon. The only question mark is curbside pickup – many stores have outfitted their lots with pickup-only stations, but from personal experience, they seem to stand empty more often than not. There’s significant shopper interest, but most company’s curbside services are not meeting customer standards yet. If the quality of these services improve, we should see their popularity expand.
- While the vaccine promises to slowly bring the virus situation under control (as soon as someone wrangles the complicated logistics), we still expect there to be renewed emphasis on safety as the new administration takes the reigns on new regulation and stimulus. In the meantime, businesses and households alike should prepare for new regulation, depending on the status of their district.
- New strains of COVID-19 are expected to be fully realized this spring and may already have made landfall, with strains as much as 70% more contagious than current pathogens. According to Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, expert on cognitive biases and disaster avoidance, we may be setting ourselves up for these strains to be more destructive than they should be by downplaying or ignoring the risks. Read his whitepaper, and consider taking precautions.
With all that in mind, we bid 2020 a not-so-fond farewell, and look towards 2021 with the same optimism as Sam L. Jackson in Jurassic Park:
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I’m Worthix’s Head of Content, editor and producer of the Voices of CX Blog and Podcast and backup watercooler comedian (see Peter Sooter). I’m a Film Major who enjoys good writing (books, too), martial arts and competitive games, virtual or not.