Return to list
Thought leadership

What's next for CX: 2021 Adobe Summit takeaways

By Evoke CX

Download a PDF copy of this article here

Last week’s entirely virtual Adobe Summit 2021 spanned three days, hosting more than 400 sessions and hundreds of inspiring speakers. The word inspire was precisely the right term to describe the wealth of opportunity for companies that want to take the steps to embrace the next wave of trends and tech in Customer Experience (CX). As we look ahead to the next five years, here are four key, emerging themes we see shaping the future of CX:

The role of CX has forever changed

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, CX focused on delivering experiences that surprised and delighted customers by providing personal, relevant interactions in real time. During the pandemic, McKinsey found that companies essentially accelerated their digital transformation efforts by 3 to 7 years, from products and customer and supply-chain interactions through to internal operations.

In health—the most transformative and personal category of all—we have seen the acceleration of telemedicine emphasize this point. Telehealth has now become a permanent part of the healthcare model for many providers, with virtual care reintroducing the “house call” standard. Patients believe that digital access has provided them with more personalized, focused, and accessible engagement with their physicians. This is showing up in the data, with patients (age 18-55) saying that they consult online doctors 87% of the time.

To maintain a high level of satisfaction, it is crucial that brands continue to evolve their communication methods to meet new expectations. Brands need to go beyond simply providing personalized, precise interactions toward creating programs and tools that solve critical challenges in an ever-evolving digital-first world.

—Olly Johnston, VP, CX Strategy Director

Emotion artificial intelligence (AI) is the new frontier of CX


What if technology could understand people in the same way that we understand one another? Several speakers spoke to the recent developments of “Emotion AI”—technology that analyzes human expressions and reactions in context, and in turn enables businesses to serve up content with the right tone, vernacular, and verbiage. Discussion around how these applications will facilitate a new “empathy economy” reverberated around the virtual walls of the summit.


While transformative in a number of sectors, such as customer service, virtual assistants, robotics, government, and transportation, the application of this new technology is already being applied across the health landscape today, such as helping create stronger connections with patients managing mental health challenges or enabling communication with autistic patients.

A new frontier of CX is right around the corner, with AI technology giving companies the ability to go beyond serving the right transactional, personalized content at the right time, but also enabling them to connect with customers with the right emotional levers.

—Abby Hoffer, Director, CX Strategy

The connection between EX and CX has never been more important


For years, the connection between Employee Experience (EX) and CX has been overlooked, but they both play critical roles in the success of a CX strategy. Broken processes lead to deflating employee morale, which in turn leads to a negative CX. The partnership of EX and CX can make or break the success of a brand’s strategy.

For example, companies that considered the impact of EX when they shifted to remote working in response to the pandemic might have considered the tools and technology that their employees would need as well as how all those platforms would work together for seamless day-to-day operations. The success of these touchpoints and internal connections can in many cases be traced to the successful application of customer engagement that drives better business performance. Pharma companies must closely analyze their internal processes, tools, and technologies that enable CX to understand whether they are negatively impacting the outcome for their customers. Consider identifying and calculating the cost of inefficiencies in the EX, quantifying how these issues are influencing the success of your CX blueprint.

—Izzy Becerra, Senior CX Strategist

Connecting customer data creates a connected customer

The events of 2020 changed CX expectations irrevocably, with 2021 on course to do the same. Delivering on these increasingly high expectations requires connecting all the data a business creates daily and leveraging it to ensure that every interaction is seamless, relevant, and personalized. This sounds simple, but organizations must make a concerted effort to break down data silos between marketing, commerce, sales, and service. By breaking down these silos and connecting the data around a standardized set of business rules, it is possible to create a unified view of the customer. This unified view is possible by tapping into direct and contextual customer data from across the organization. For example, Genesys and Adobe, together, have enabled businesses to understand, control, and connect experiences. This allows for more precise and tailored experiences based on nuanced customer preferences. And when you look at the data, this subtlety is important:

  • 57% of consumers prefer phone calls as their primary channel of communication
  • 60% of consumers have changed brands during the pandemic
  • Loyalty leaders grow revenue 2.5x faster than their peers

To create a best-in-class CX means listening, learning, and acting on what you have learned. By connecting disparate data sources, a business would be able to use the objective data needed to create improved connections with customers and in turn build loyalty.

—Nik Ekman, Director, Linguistics


Uncover your next opportunity with us

Evoke helps brands drive business results through an approach to CX that goes beyond the process of building a journey. We help clients unlock the full potential of CX, overcoming both internal and external hurdles, resulting in creating a competitive advantage that is enduring.

For more information, email us at: