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Top customer experience conferences to attend in 2021

Technology and customer preferences are ever-changing. A good way to stay on top of these advancements and changes is to attend industry conferences.

Customer experience is a fast-moving and ever-changing field -- and industry conferences are a great way to keep up to date on the latest trends, tips, technology and certifications.

Conferences bring like-minded people together from all over the world -- virtually or in person -- for training courses, certifications, networking and the opportunity to share experiences. CX conferences cater to a number of professionals -- including customer service, marketing, sales, customer success, IT and those in the C-suite.

Salesforce's Dreamforce conference is one of the biggest CX events of the year. This year, it is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 21 to 24 in San Francisco. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is still unclear what the event will look like, or whether it will change to a virtual format as it did in 2020.

The Qualtrics X4 Summit is another massive CX conference worth checking out. This conference was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and currently has no set date for 2021; however, it will be scheduled some time in the fall. Those interested should keep checking the X4 summit website for details.

Here are some other top CX-related conferences to attend in 2021.

CX Network Live: CX Automation 2021

When: June 29 to 30

Where: virtual

Cost: free

Where to register: CX Network Live: CX Automation 2021

Businesses today seek ways to deliver fast, personalized service to customers, and automation is one way to tackle that. This conference will focus on how various tools can help automate processes. Areas of focus include chatbots, robotic process automation, marketing automation, channel integration, personalization, self-service technology and predictive customer care. 

Speakers include:

  • James Dodkins, founder of Rockstar CX
  • Andrae Kirkland, senior program manager at Twitter
  • Ben Wild, enterprise sales at Coveo

Customer Contact Week

When: June 28 to 30

Where: Las Vegas and virtual

Cost: virtual -- free, in-person -- $3,000 to $3,600

Where to register: Customer Contact Week

This conference revolves around contact centers. Sessions will focus on business operational best practices, innovations and industry trends in the areas of workforce management, digital transformation, AI and automation, and channel strategy and optimization. 

Speakers include:

  • Lance Gruner, executive vice president of global customer care at Mastercard
  • Kelley Kurtzman, vice president of global consumer sales and service centers at Verizon
  • Clare Muscutt, founder and director of CMXperience

Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo 2021

When: Aug. 31 to Sept. 2

Where: virtual

Cost: $1,250

Where to register: Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo 2021

This event is designed specifically for chief marketing officers and other marketing leaders. There are seven different tracks, each offering a different area of focus, including acting on data, analytics and insights; optimizing the customer journey; using a multichannel strategy; and using marketing technology.

Speakers include:

  • Benjamin Bloom, vice president and analyst at Gartner
  • Tim Brown, executive chair of IDEO
  • Joseph Enever, senior director and analyst at Gartner

Martech

When: Sept. 14 and 15

Where: virtual

Cost: TBD

Where to register: Martech

This vendor-agnostic event is aimed at senior marketing professionals. It offers expert-led sessions with tips and advice on marketing technology and digital experiences, and many networking opportunities. Registration is not yet open, so keep checking the Martech website for updates.

Customer Service Revolution

When: Oct. 5 and 6

Where: Cleveland, Ohio, and virtual

Cost: virtual -- $450, in-person -- $1,250

Where to register: Customer Service Revolution

This conference provides tips and tools to customer service teams to provide customers with an outstanding experience. Attendees can learn how to compete on service over price, and care for customers while addressing problems. There will also be ample networking opportunities.

Speakers include:

  • Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises
  • Jack Mackey, founder of Buyer Experience Academy
  • Alden Mills, former Navy Seal and author 

Inbound 2021

When: Oct. 12 to 14

Where: virtual

Cost: $0 to $89

Where to register: Inbound 2021

This conference, hosted by HubSpot, brings together professionals across the customer experience spectrum -- including marketing, sales, digital experiences and customer service. This event will provide training and expert advice sessions, networking opportunities and breakout sessions. 

Speakers include:

  • Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot
  • Jon Lombardo, global lead at LinkedIn's B2B Institute
  • Sarah Paiji Yoo, co-founder and CEO at Blueland

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