Last updated on July 6th, 2023

Super Agents as one of the New Customer Service Trends

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar
Super Agents as one of the New Customer Service Trends

The logical appears to become inevitable in most cases. Blockbuster was not
going to survive streaming. CDs were going to die. A rise in remote working
was happening even without the pandemic. So what about customer support? Seen
that new AI GPT-3 project? The damn thing is writing code now let alone basic
support answers. It'll get 10X more powerful in 1 year. Below we'll cover what
organisations are saying about super agents as one of the new resulting
customer service trends and then add Upscope's own view on happy super agents
and the services they'll need.

Why customer service trends point to the rise of super agents

I'll summarise what some of the experts are saying about super agents:

  1. As AI eats jobs, agents are more valued

The underlying logical "Why" behind the rise of super agents is explained well
in this post by Kate Leggett on Forrester's site.

"AI handles routine tasks, with agents dedicated to exceptions and
escalations. Contact center jobs will change along four dimensions:"

  1. Agents who are generalists will see their jobs subsumed by self-service technologies.
    2) Midtier agents will be repurposed as authors or testers of content or
    chatbot dialogues. They may also supervise chatbots and address failures.

3) New superagents will emerge. Customer service organizations will become
high-touch centers that handle critical customer interactions
, which will
require deep subject-matter expertise or product ecosystem expertise.

4) New contact center jobs will be created; for example, data scientists,
automation specialists, and application developers. These personnel will be
responsible for implementing and maintaining self-service and agent-facing
automation and AI initiatives."

I don't know about number one above as I can't say what a generalist is.
However, number 2 is already happening and will evolve greatly over time.

What's interesting is that the inputs into the chat bots will also change e.g.
it's not just text guidance but could be onboarding flows, instant customised
videos, explanatory animations. It's likely to become more visual and
sophisticated over time.

With better UI, knowledge bases, automated onboarding software, chatbots and
more it's fairly inevitable that the queries coming through to agents will be
made of some of the more complicated questions or simply by customers who have
the greatest need of direction.

That said, one venture capitalist noted how only 3% of the world economy is
online. Overall there might be a growth in regular agents and super agents at
the same time.

Read more from Kate Leggett's 3 customer service

2. Customers demand human to human interaction for some queries

“We’re at an interesting inflection point with customer service: We’ve gone
from full automation and the push for chatbots back to live call center agents
as a result of customer demand for human interaction,”

“Now that the trend of human-to-human interaction is on the rise once again,
there’s no surprise that there’s a push for better or ‘super’ agents,”

I can't say what the overall numbers are for this but many bots are terrible
at answering questions because their systems don't have enough data to find
the right answer.

I can't say what new AI technologies like GPT-3 will do but even they must
need data on a software to answer questions about it. The amount of data
needed might go down as AI gets better but so far most bots are bad at
answering anything beyond very basic questions.

Read more on how to empower super

3. The case for and against super agents

This article provides good balance to the discussion.

The case for super agents is they provide increased efficiency, improved first
contact resolution, better customer experience.

The case against is they are difficult to recruit and train, the cost is
higher, it's harder to scale and rapidly add more if the company grows.

Read more on "The pros and cons of having super agents on

4. Entrepreneurial super agents

I love this one. We know the impact that customer facing teams have within our
SaaS company so we need them to be agent and entrepreneur at the same time.

"A new breed-of super-agent, the CSR 2.0 is rapidly emerging, and luckily for
you, because they have to be all things to all customers, they’re equipping
themselves with a multitude of skills. Many of the skills have evolved in-line
with changes in consumerism, but all require the same, or better, evolution of
the supporting technology."

"And why does the CSR 2.0 need to work across so many departments? To turn
what has traditionally been a cost centre in to a revenue maker: to retain
customers and foster loyalty. They are trained to spot opportunities to
advise, recommend and subtly up and cross sell. Balancing these “harder”
skills with the emotional intelligence mentioned is a further complexity the
super-CSR has to conquer."

The above is from Oracle's site but the original page is no longer there.

5. Critical customer interactions and educated work from home agents

"New “superagents” emerging to become product or relationship experts****.****
Contact centers are becoming high-touch centers that handle critical customer
interactions and require deep subject matter expertise. Superagents who have
specialized skills or deep interest in a brand’s products or services are

"Lifestyle workers who greatly value flexible working conditions. Educated
professionals, military wives, and mothers are just a handful of personas who
want rewarding work on their own terms. Work-at-home models resonate with
these personas, and brands are finding that agents who work at home stay

Read more from Forrester Research on the future of contact center

A ground up view on why Upscope believes in super agents

I once thought those founders who talk about the importance of "customer
service" might just be saying it without any real belief. Like a sort of thing
you're supposed to say. Then I found out the hard way.

Here's why my expectations of support agents went up through the roof :

  1. In the early days of building a company you are competing by having better
    customer service. In fact your early sales may be entirely due to speed and
    quality of service. We had people accidentally leave answering machine
    messages on our phone where they forgot to hang up and we heard them say
    they're choosing our company because "they get back to us quickly
    ". In the
    early days we built a customer service culture from necessity as it might have
    been the only advantage we had as a new company in that space. This is now
    the default necessary mentality for many larger companies
    who compete on
    brand and service with service being tied into brand.

  2. The second reason founders want super agents is because it's personal.
    When you build a new service and earn your very first $50 payment it's not
    business, it's personal. The customer spent their hard earned money to buy a
    service YOU built. Now you'll move heaven and earth for them. In the early
    days of a solo build project I had my alarm set to ring if someone emailed the
    support address. If it was 4am I got up at 4am and replied, fixed code bugs,
    manually edited things in the database and more. Not sustainable but it set a
    certain standard. I didn't want to do that but I just could not have someone
    who paid me wait around.

But asking agents to get up at 4am is not the right way to do it.

That's the wrong kind of super agent.

The right and effective way is for people to enjoy doing it.

It's better to have happy super agents.

I'm guessing you don't wake up on a Saturday or go on holiday and think to
yourself "I'm going to do some customer support work on the side for fun".
That's not a healthy work life balance but it would be great to feel that way
about customer support.

Support is tough.

If it's going to be part of my job for years ahead then I want to enjoy it. I
want all team members who do customer support to enjoy it.

Why is support so tough?

I sometimes dread opening up the Intercom customer support feed in the morning
because even if 19/20 people are lovely the 1 irritated person hits the
anxious part of my soul.

I don't take the compliments that well either. If they say "you are great" I'm
thinking "awwww they are nice people but oh shit what if they don't like
something else about the service later on. Then they'll be sad".

I don't want to feel like this. I want to look forward to each support
whether it's angry, tough, weird, positive or whatever.

To make it enjoyable for myself and our very own super agents, we need
incentives, creativity, measurable growth and more.

How will companies make it enjoyable? Incentives, growth, recognition,

vision, creativity, building skills, thinking like an owner

Pardon me while I go off on a list of stuff I want while providing customer
service and which is already happening in some companies but will likely
become default via new software.

I want to see and feel progress.

I want to be able to measure it and look at progress on a dashboard.

I want to earn super agent skills. I don't want to do a phd or climb Everest
but I want enjoyable difficulty especially if others are going through it
alongside me.

While I might like to be awarded some gamified badges for progress they
generally suck
unless the game itself is real and deeply embedded
otherwise they are just an afterthought. Badges follow, they don't lead.

I want the freedom to think and act like an owner. A mini-CEO. Tie this into
incentives so that I'm driven to give the best most complete answers to

I want to compete against colleagues as well as learn from them. Competition
is fun. Healthy and friendly competition and maybe with a little edge to it.

I want to find joy in every conversation whether it's angry customer, happy
customer, crazy customer or regular customer.

There are some companies that have already built this sort of culture. The
others and the new companies arriving need tools and services to make this
easier to do.

A new generation wants purpose so give them every opportunity to think

like owners

We've all heard the chat about millenials and how their perspective on work is
changing things.

Some people from older generations have said to me "Work is work".

Whereas the new generation wants to make the most of their lives by making an
impact in the work they do. Sounds very sensible to me.

I don't know if you agree with me on this but I want every single person
working in customer facing roles to consider building their own side project
and even eventually build their own company.

Even if it's a side project that brings in small amounts of revenue each


You grow so much. Learn so much. It opens up your mind to all you can do. You
see how all the pieces fit together. You will never regret how much you
evolved from the experience.

This means that every team member is given the opportunity to learn how
sales, marketing, finance, support and each function comes together
. They
will start to think like owners and maybe in the future help develop products
and services that help others.

Also, building a small passive income side project might just be the new "I'm
in a band". I don't know much about blockchain networks but some very smart
people are saying it'll make it easy for individuals to build, sell and
distribute their own products.

Sometimes work is work but super agents have a chance to make an impact and
grow from it like few others do.

I'd encourage agents to learn to code, read about marketing, sales, analysing
data to understand customers, product positioning and more. I'd do this while
remembering the classic conversation "What if we train them and they leave?
Well, what if we don't train them and they stay".

Super agents will live the super agent life and maybe already are

The pandemic accelerated the work from home life but there were plenty of
companies who have been doing remote work for years. Their employees work from
wherever they please.

They are by the beach in Bali, with their family in a caravan home in Montana
roaming around, in a cafe in Buenos Aires. I'm mentioning these because I've
seen all of these happen. I really would not recommend the caravan in Montana
though as the wifi sucked but Elon Musk is launching Starlink, giving us all
universal remote location access to the internet, so that's going to be viable

The future recruitment and retention of super agents will require workplace
incentives. You might even find companies booking places in exotic locations
where super agents work and train together for periods of time. Existing
remote working companies already do "company retreats" a couple of times a
year so just imagine that idea expanded out.

How Upscope is going to help super agents

The Upscope mission statement is to help develop 1 million happy super agents.

People who dance to work. Live the super agent life. People who look forward
to a Monday as much as a weekend.

How are we going to do this?

Customer support impacts sales, conversions, NPS, CSAT, retention, churn etc.

If super agents are given a new set of services to help customers that not
only involve creativity, intelligence, empathy but is something they can put
their name to and makes an impact then we have a service they can enjoy using.

So far Upscope has developed co-browsing and a historical view that helps
agents see how a customer came to a problem and also guide them through it.

The next step is to provide agents with the ability to create customer story
lines that each agent can own and develop independently and put their name to.
These will help guide customers through the most complicated nuanced problems
but in their own time and space.

Seeing is believing. We're building it now and will have a launch date for
those new features soon. Meanwhile, you can have a look at how
Upscope already helps you. Talk to our team about the
existing services and we'll then notify you when the beta is out.

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar

Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.