NECCF 2019 Annual Conference & Expo

NorthEast Contact Center Forum

This week over 400 attendees made their way to Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the National Football League’s New England Patriots, to be a part of The Northeast Contact Center Forum’s (NECCF) annual contact center conference and expo – the largest contact center event in the Northeast. This year’s theme was “Delivering the Ultimate Customer Experience.”

Gillette Stadium

Over 40 brand ambassadors, partners, and industry experts were on hand to demonstrate and discuss the latest technology and innovation in the contact center space with product demos, peer-to-peer discussions and expert led workshops, it’s a full day of learning and networking.

Except… that didn’t quite happen.

The power went out…

NECCF Zappix Power Out
Even a power outage couldn’t shut down the great conversations and local connections at the @NECCF conference & expo – @zappix

So what happens when you have a packed house and no power? You make the best of it. And, make the best of it we did.

Patriot Mascot
Can’t come to @GilletteStadium for the @NECCF event and not hang out with @PatPatriot – maybe we need a @ccpipeline mascot. Stop by and say hello if you’re in the area. -Linda

Here are the highlights of what turned out to be a great day.

Imagine the last conference you attended. Now imagine it with no internet, cellular connection or lights. I have attended this event for many years, and this was definitely one I’ll remember. Around midnight on Monday, the stadium lost power for (at the time) unknown reasons. As everyone gathered Tuesday morning for the event, we found no lights, internet connections, electricity, audio systems or air conditioning. Interesting to say the least.

The NECCF board convened an impromptu meeting and the decision was made to carry on. Fortunately, the room has lots of windows so we had plenty of light. We were able to open the doors and as the breeze picked up it made a comfortable space. Way to go NECCF Board Members and staff, vendors and attendees. Job well done.

From the opening remarks through almost all of the talks, new technology was at the forefront of the conversation. Great meeting and hearing from new and old faces alike. Nataly Kogan’s afternoon keynote really fit the tone of the day.

$100 Raffle Winner
Leanne Yenush, Senior Customer Experience Director at Coldwater Creek won the Contact Center Pipeline $100 gift card for participating in our business card raffle. Congrats Leanne!

Year after year, NECCF continues to put on a great event with top-notch networking, keynote speakers, and a chance to catch up with so many good friends we’ve made over the years. The minor impact of the day’s setback was just a testament to a well-run event put on by a seasoned group. Not sure that I recommend hosting a future conference without power, but I think it certainly brought the group together.

You look around any social setting these days and the chances are that most people you see are either fixated on, or sneaking glances at their phone. It’s become acceptable just about everywhere; whether you’re at work, a restaurant, sitting in traffic (please, not while driving); we have given up on the social norms of pre-mobile-phone life. Now I know firsthand it’s not easy to disconnect, but Tuesday, we didn’t have a choice. A group of business people on a Tuesday afternoon with no cellphone or internet?!

After I calmed down and realized that the world wasn’t melting without live-blogs, updates, and news of the day firing through the Twitter universe, I remembered what it was like to hold a conversation without stopping to Google some random phrase. I realized that a lot of good things were actually happening. People were talking—to each other—and listening, while they looked me in the eye without glancing down to their phone every time it beeped or didn’t beep.

It felt like 1999 all over again.

In all fairness, I was away from my email for over an hour, causing me to miss approximately 56 “one-day-only” shopping opportunities. I missed the latest Facebook discussion about what Trump said today, and I probably missed a few pictures of kids and some cute pets, too.

This year’s theme was “Delivering the Ultimate Customer Experience,” and in my opinion NECCF surely did. I made new friends, laughed and caught up with familiar faces, and had a great time.

Life is all about rolling with the punches. That certainly happened on June 11th at Gillette Stadium. Thank you to the organizers who helped keep things running smoothly and the great presenters for not letting the obstacles slow them down. Kudos to everyone! This was a day that I won’t soon forget.

As a native Marylander, this reminded me of the power outage during the 2013 Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

*Fun fact:* The Patriots have sold out every home game since moving to Gillette stadium—preseason, regular season and playoffs. This streak actually dates back to the 1994 season, while the team was still at Foxboro Stadium.

Linda Harden
Linda Harden is President and Publisher of the monthly contact center management journal, Contact Center Pipeline. Our passion is to promote discussion, resources, events and services that impact the lives of our employees and customers. Each month, well-respected industry leaders, practitioners and consultants present their insights, strategies, best practices and lessons learned to help run an effective and efficient operation.