2020 Trends & Predictions

January 10, 2020

A new decade is upon us, and that means this year’s annual outlooks are going to be bigger than ever before. In the past 10 years, we’ve seen exponential changes occur in business, technology, and society. What big changes are around the corner for 2020 and beyond? We’ve compiled a list of predictions from some of our leading keynote speakers on the big trends that are set to move the needle within their area of expertise. As we’ve seen in past years, many of these big changes have a ripple effect across industries, so be sure to read them all! We’ll continue to update this story through the year. 


Customer Service Trends

A People-First Approach

As a partner in the restaurant brands Baro and Petty Cash, customer experience speaker Michel Falcon has championed ‘People First Culture’ and it has lead to wildly successful results for his businesses. His message encourages leaders to put their experience at the core of their decision making. Michel outlined three customer service skills, strategies, and mindsets to incorporate for 2020:

1. The New “Everyone Is A Customer” Mentality

“Being in hospitality, it’s easy for our team to consider the guest who orders the $300.00 bottle of wine to be our #1 priority. But, for me, that’s not an authentic People-First Culture business. If we truly want to be People-First, then everyone, literally everyone, who interacts with our business needs to be served like they just ordered a top-shelf bottle of wine” says Michel.

Michel includes some often overlooked individuals who might interact with brands but still require an exceptional experience, including future employees, business vendors, investors, media and government. Since these individuals might interact with non-frontline staff, it’s important that every single person on your payroll must receive customer experience training.

2. Defensive vs. Offensive Customer Personality Types

“When delivering experiences from customer to customer, you need to ensure you don’t deliver the same experience to everyone the exact same way. I call this “switching gears.”… Defensive customer service requires active listening to understand what the customer’s goals are. Once that’s understood, then we switch gears and move into offensive customer service and act on what our customer’s desires are.”

3. Role Reversal Leadership

“I believe all leaders, across all departments, should spend time every month with their customer care and frontline employees. Not only will they gain valuable insights, but you will also notice a spike in morale and a deeper connection between ‘the higher-ups and the frontline staff.'”

Request Michel for your event.

Read more on these three customer service skills on his blog.



Workplace & Happiness Trends

A happy way to boost your bottom line

Jennifer Moss is the Cofounder of Plasticity Labs, a happiness research, technology, and consulting company. Her groundbreaking work on the power of happiness is transforming companies all over the globe. Her recent CBC News column looked back at what we are learning about happiness and what it means for the year ahead. 

1. Opening up about mental health

Awareness of topics like mental health and mental illness increased, and this benefits society as a whole, stating that “people were openly debating how to portray these once-forbidden topics in such a public way that it has slowly started to normalize the conversation…As people struggle to make sense of events, it creates conversations, which also help to destigmatize taboo topics.”

2. A Focus on Burnout

In her most popular 2019 HBR article, Jennifer notes how “for decades, the term “burnout” has been deprioritized — wrongly accused of being some made-up, first-world crisis, most likely drummed up by millennials and Gen Zers who want more work-life balance. The truth is, the younger workforce has it right. And as they increase the demand for more meaningful work (even claiming they’ll take 32% less pay for the trade-off), burnout — specifically purpose-driven burnout — will continue to be a growing concern. In a Gallup survey of 7,500 full-time employees, 23% reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while 63% said they experience it sometimes.”

Leaders will be tasked with developing solutions to prevent purpose-driven employees in their own organizations from suffering burnout. 

3. ‘IRL will become a movement’

“People are feeling overwhelmed with such a massive increase in digital consumption and have started to push back. In the next decade, we will have a rebellion — a harkening back to the old ways.”

4. Changes in Policy

A growing number of people are voicing concerns about the overconsumption – specifically within youth – of social media and digital technology. Jennifer notes that “kids are exercising less and aren’t getting enough face-time with their peers which means less authentic social connections…Advocates in government, both in the US and Canada, have suggested that tech companies need to take more ownership of the problem. Most would like to see more regulations on tech companies to stop addictive design and reduce screen time.”

5. A shift in values

“Global hope has declined by 13 points in the last four years and the world is feeling it… I see our priorities shift from valuing money to more time. This will change how we work, where we work, whether we’ll take on debt that ties us to work.

Request Jennifer for your event.


Food Trends

We’ve gotta eat, right?

Known in the industry as ‘The Food Professor,’ Sylvain Charlebois is the media’s go-to-commentator on agricultural and food policy. He brings a trove of data-backed insights on a sector that affects each and every one of us. Here’s Sylvain’s 2020 food outlook via an interview Cinterviee with CTV.

1. Products to become more naturalized

2019 was the year of ‘beyond meat’ as vegan-friendly alternatives broke through and saw a higher degree of mainstream appeal: Tim Hortons, A&W, Harveys and Burger King all sold these types of products. But the price and the number of additives in the products dissuaded many. 

Sylvain says that “instead of seeing 27 ingredients, we are expecting products to actually become more naturalized with fewer than 15 ingredients, so they’ll be healthier and likely cheaper as well.”

2. A boom in Cannabis edibles

Canada made cannabis-based edibles legal in October, but the need for regulatory approval by the provinces prevented mass-adoption right off the bat (BC, ON & AB will all have products available for sale by mid-January).  

“More people that have been smoking — inhaling — cannabis will likely try the edible version of cannabis as legal edibles roll out.”

3. Food Buying Made Easier

“We are expecting grocers to empower customers in their stores in 2020 to use A.I. as much as possible… Most grocers have an app you can download and you can bid on products and you can save 25 to 60 percent,”

Sylvain also noted that growth in the use of food delivery apps over 2019 will continue. We might even see more  “ghost kitchens” – small footprint restaurants that rely on apps such as Uber Eats, Foodora, and Door Dash to distribute their food rather than traditional dining spaces. 

4. Lab-grown foods are primed to hit the market

Not to be confused with Beyond Meat and other plant-based food companies, lab-grown foods are created in labs by taking cells of an animal and growing them in a nutrient-rich system. 

“We do expect 2020 to be the first year in which customers will be able to choose a food product that wasn’t made out of a plant or an animal…Investors are pushing for this and most of the money is non-(agricultural) money and they’re really motivated to provide food products that are different.”

5. Rising Cost of Food

In December, Sylvain’s team at Dalhouise forecasted that food prices would increase an average of 4 percent in 2020 (which is double the rate of inflation). They noted that this means almost $500 added to the annual grocery bill of Canadian families. 

How will this change habits? Sylvain says customers will “Look at flyers, they’ll use coupons, they’ll try to educate themselves in terms of how much things cost…Carrots, for example, might be more expensive in January than in June.”

Request Sylvain for your event.

We hope these predictions help you in considering your strategy for 2020 and beyond. If you found these insights valuable, we encourage you to follow these speakers on twitter to continue to get more insights: @MichelFalcon, @sharleb, and @JenLeighMoss

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