Thursday, 06 June 2019 16:26

Getting Comfortable at SNUG 2019

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This year I received an unexpected invitation to attend the 18th annual Select Noble Users Group, or SNUG, from April 24th through April 26th. The location for Noble Systems’ SNUG 2019 was the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Having never before attended SNUG or, frankly, interacting with anyone from Noble Systems in the past, I was intrigued and curious to learn more about the company and meet some of its customers. I accepted the invitation.

Having a customer conference at a world-class beach resort such as Clearwater Beach can be a risky business in terms of session attendance, given the draw of the crystal-white sand and warm water of Florida’s Gulf Cost. It quickly became clear, however, that Noble planners already had a strategy in place to minimize the chance of losing attendees to the beach. They set up an exclusive, open-sided tent beachside, where most meals were served and networking activities took place. I found myself more than enthused about the events of the day ahead after breakfast each morning cooled by ocean breezes and entertained by Laughing Gulls flying gracefully overhead while Sanderlings worked diligently to find their own breakfast along the shoreline.


Given Noble Systems’ history, I was expecting to find the majority of conference sessions focused on outbound contact center and collections topics. This wasn’t the case at all as I discovered that equal attention was given to inbound customer service, sales and marketing, along with outbound contact center topics. In fact, product roadmap sessions featured discussions around such topics as omnichannel engagement, analytics, reporting, workforce management, and compliance in both inbound and outbound scenarios.


A highlight of SNUG 2019 for me was the amount of attention given to gamification in the contact center. Having written about gamification extensively in Saddletree Research and general industry publications, it is a favorite topic of mine and one of growing importance to the contact center industry. Gamification’s bright future was underscored by the results of Saddletree Research’s 2019 survey of end-users, undertaken in conjunction with the not-for-profit National Association of Call Centers (NACC) at Middle Tennessee State University.


As the figure below illustrates, gamification has already gained a foothold in the North American contact center market with nearly ten percent of the market already implementing gamification. More importantly, over 30 percent of all North American contact centers will evaluate gamification for purchase in 2019 while an additional two percent have already funded gamification for purchase in 2019. In real numbers, the two percent that have funded purchase translates to approximately 1,500 contact centers that will implement gamification in 2019.



The Keynote and Lock Note sessions at SNUG 2019 were particularly memorable, including an entertaining hour of professional football reminiscences and anecdotes from three-time Super Bowl Champion and two-time Pro Bowler Mark Schlereth, who is currently an NFL analyst on ESPN. As entertaining as his stories were, they also included important and relevant lessons about teamwork, friendship, and perseverance.


The presenter at Friday’s lock note session was my old friend Tom Rocca of the KPI group. Tom has been an important figure in the outbound contact center market for decades and is still on top of the important trends in that industry. Tom’s remarks included an overview of SHAKEN/STIR, which is a new government program aimed at combatting robocalls and caller ID spoofing. For more information on this important program, visit


Many of the Noble customers I met at SNUG 2019 worked in outbound contact centers. These are the contact center professionals who often get a bad rap by the general public because they’re in the collections or outbound marketing business, but in my experience these customer service professionals are no different than their counterparts on the inbound side of the contact center market. I was impressed by their dedication to their profession, and by their loyalty to their Noble Systems platforms whether inbound, outbound or both.


I left SNUG 2019 at the end of the week much better informed about Noble Systems and their customers. I also left with the distinct impression that Noble Systems is a company with its own clear vision and its own way of getting things done. They are a company that, like my own company, marches to the beat of a different drummer and I admire that. If you were at SNUG 2019 with me, you know what I mean. If you weren’t there, make plans now to attend SNUG 2020 and see if I’m not right.

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