December is the month for trends to be summarised and predictions to be made. With that in mind, this month the HX Roundup is sharing articles from industry containing learnings, trends and 2021 predictions from human experience experts, including the following publications Gartner; Forrester,  CX Network, Experian, Forbes, My Customer, Econsultancy & Qualtrics.

Throughout this human experience roundup you will see a number of predictions, three of which were common in the majority of articles;

  1. The movement towards consolidation of human resource and technology for a more unified and optimised experience — from HR, sales and marketing teams to the tools, processes and systems used.
  2. The importance of emotion as experience metrics, in particular trust and empathy — the ability to sense, understand and be considerate of how others (your customers/patients/employees/communities) are feeling.
  3. Remote working is here to stay and continued adaptation is required throughout 2021 to ensure a sense of belonging and support, especially in the immediate whereby uncertainty is impacting employee fatigue and mental health.

The walls separating CX-related functions come down

By 2023, 25% of organisations will integrate marketing, sales and customer experience (CX) into a single function. COVID-19 has intensified demands on executives to work cross-functionally. This will become even more important for customer-focused functions such as marketing, sales and customer service, given that 86% of respondents engaged in or leading CX expect to compete on the basis of CX by 2021, according to the 2019 Gartner Customer Experience Management Survey.

Read Full Article: https://www.gartner.com/en/marketing/insights/articles/three-key-gartner-marketing-predictions-2021 (3 Key Gartner Marketing Predictions for 2021, Rama Ramaswami, Gartner)


A renewed mandate for in-store experiences

“I think some of the more tired high street brands are going to need to significantly up their game in order to survive. This is a trend that’s been growing for a while, but if you can get the majority of your material needs fulfilled through online delivery, the in-store experience needs to be just that—an experience—in order to truly compete.” — Andy Budd, Founder of Clearleft:

Read Full Article: https://econsultancy.com/customer-experience-trends-in-2021-what-do-the-experts-predict/ (Customer Experience Trends In 2021: What Do The Experts Predict?, Nikki Gilliland, Econsultancy)


Data insights will be crucial for intuitively interacting with customers in turbulent times

“Every interaction has to be empathetic, authentic and contextual, with customers expecting you to know them and what is going on in the moment.” — Rob Tarkoff, executive vice president and general manager of Oracle Cloud CX and Data Cloud (Oracle

Read Full Report:

https://www.cxnetwork.com/cx-experience/reports/customer-experience-predictions-report-2021 (Customer Experience Predictions Report 2021 by Oracle & CX Network – email submit required)


A greater emphasis on belonging in a remote working world

HR leaders will develop programs to help remote workers seeking a greater sense of belonging – especially those individuals in an organization who live alone and rely on the sense of belonging at work.

Read Full Article:
https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/future-employee-experience/ (The Future Of Employee Experience: 21 Predictions For 2021, Amanda Wowk, Qualtrics)


Trust, safety, and inclusion will be at the core of customer experience

Consumers have been jolted into a starker understanding of how contagion works in public places like stores, airports, and restaurants. So more than ever, for in-person experiences, they’ll seek out brands they trust. That’ll be a challenge for most companies: When Forrester surveyed consumers about their attitudes toward companies’ ability to provide effective guidance through the pandemic, we found their trust to be very low — only 13% said they trusted retailers, for example

Read Full Article: https://go.forrester.com/blogs/customer-experience-predictions-zero-ui/ (Predictions 2021: Trust, Safety, And Inclusion Will Be At The Core Of Customer Experience, David Truog, VP, Research Director, Forrester)


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Patients will choose providers that give them control over their healthcare experience

Patients have more opportunity today than ever before to manage their healthcare experience from the comfort of their own home, whether that be through patient portals, online self-scheduling and registration or online payment tools.

As lockdowns and social distancing prevented patients from presenting in person, providers were forced to offer patients with more options for self-service. Unsurprisingly, this was a move a lot of patients have been waiting for and many welcomed this new technology with open arms.

Jason Kressel, senior vice president of consumer products and analytics at Experian Health, expects that, as patients become more accustomed to this level of self-service, more than half of consumers will change providers in favor of one that offers premium digital healthcare services:

“Providers who can meet patients where they are—through web-based services and via their mobile devices—will have the most success with retaining and attracting patients.”

Read full article: http://www.experian.com/blogs/healthcare/2020/12/2021-patient-experience-predictions/ (2021 Patient Experience Predictions, Experian)


Remote working will permanently increase to 300% pre-pandemic levels

In the future, most companies will employ what Forrester calls an “anywhere-plus-office hybrid” model in which more people will work outside the office more of the time. While there is no clear end point to the pandemic yet, the number of employees working remotely will begin to dwindle, eventually settling in at 300% of pre-pandemic levels at the minimum. With that many people working remotely long-term, companies will need to rethink what that experience is like — not just from a technology and environment perspective but from leadership, change management, and career-growth perspectives, as well.

Read Full Article: https://forr.com/3oCEKRt (Predictions 2021: Remote Work, Automation, And HR Tech Will Flourish, David Johnson, Principal Analyst, Forrester)


Empathy will emerge as a top customer experience metric

“Amid the challenges of the pandemic, customer care centers have all but done away with any metrics around call duration and are actively encouraging agents to spend more time on the phone with clients. While empathy has not been an operational performance metric in the past, it absolutely is prime area of focus now and will continue to be. In an effort to measure empathy, many companies are adding empathy-specific questions to their post-call surveys.” — Steven Petruk, President, Global Outsourcing Division, CGS

Read Full Article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/adrianswinscoe/2020/12/17/11-customer-experience-related-predictions-for-2021 (11 Customer-Experience-Related Predictions For 2021, Adrian Swinscoe, Forbes & author of Punk CX)


Inclusive, community-driven CX

“2020 has shown us that the ‘me first’ mentality is well and truly out of date. The world over, we’ve recognised others’ needs ahead of our own. We have seen bursts of gratitude and support shown for others, for instance towards the NHS in the UK. With companies mirroring this and showing support for those they rely upon (e.g. Morrisons paying suppliers sooner than contracted) and contributing to their communities (e.g. IKEA giving up car parks for testing sites and outdoor places of prayer), these community experiences are becoming the norm.

“For many the ‘consideration of others’ has been a welcomed result of the uncomfortable ride in 2020. And businesses which are truly customer-centric will recognise this as part of what ‘putting customers first’ means. With 2021 likely to be similar to 2020 in many ways, we anticipate this will grow. It could become, for many consumers, part of the decision-making process.” — Christopher Brooks, the managing director of Clientship 

Read Full Article: https://www.mycustomer.com/customer-experience/voice-of-the-customer/community-and-voc-the-cx-trends-set-to-characterise-2021 (Community and VoC: The CX trends set to characterise 2021, Chris Ward, My Customer)


2020 Surprise: Employee engagement and retention are up!

Despite unprecedented disruption and changes to the physical workplace, a majority of companies are surprised to find that employee engagement actually increased +13% in 2020 — from 53% in our [Qualtrics] report last November to 66% a year later.

Read Full Article:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2020/12/15/2020-changed-the-employee-experience-forever–these-trends-will-matter-in-2021/?sh=60f90f295c1d (Jay Choi, EVP and GM of EmployeeXM, Qualtrics)


That’s this month’s HX Roundup complete! Whilst 2020 has been a tough year, there’s also been a lot of good in terms of people and businesses becoming more aware and considerate to one and other. And for those of us working in areas of ‘digital’ relationships (aren’t we all?), it’s an exciting time as we drive to accelerate our creation of better human experiences in an increasingly online world.

If you’d like to read more HX, EX and CX predictions for 2021, click through to each of the articles.

For a personalised demo of Emotics, our human experience measurement, customer journey and emotion analytics platform click here — we can collect data from social media or Glassdoor to give you a demo using your own data from Qualtrics or any other source.

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