Dinner last week: the superagent

We’re still buzzing from our dining club event last week at which our two speakers, BT’s Dr. Nicola Millard and Sitel’s Vanessa Boudin-Lestienne, went through the changing requirements for agents in a contact centre. Last week we discussed Ms. Boudin-Lestienne’s contribution on bot-shoring; Dr. Millard, as always, was as concerned with the people as with the technology.

Dr Nicola Millard speaks

Her points included first that we were not seeing anything new with the advent of concern over technology and its impact on jobs. She pointed to (and showed) newspaper cuttings from almost  a century ago about “technological redundancy” (and for what it’s worth, your editor was told in “o” level economics lessons that the first industrial action was from seamstresses when they invented the loom, but he’s not been able to find a source substantiating that). The point however, that this isn’t brand new, stands pretty well.

What’s changed is the pace and also the attention that can be drawn to any job losses – cut a little and it can be all over social media. However, since the jobs that are being cut are of the repetitive variety, this means the boring jobs go and the more engaging positions remain.

need to increase, and ideally owners and managers will train people to ensure this happens. We will be left withwhat Millard described as “superagents” (although we will probably  end up calling them “agents” because they won’t seem all that extraordinary once theyre in the mainstream). Boudain-Lestienne concurred, and added her belief that the agents will have to start working with and even training the robots over time.

Sitel’s Vanessa Boudin-Lestienne 



With thanks to Sitel’s Alix Maguire for images


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