While automation in the outsourcing industry will continue to rise, the human element and building an emotional connection with customers will still make a big difference, according to Craig Reines, chief operating officer at Sitel Philippines. The more that the industry can build emotional connections with customers, the better it will be able to ride out the rise of automation. Throughout the service sector, the human element will be the differentiating factor for companies operating in the space, Reines said. His remarks come soon after socioeconomic planning chief Ernesto Pernia said that many of the 1.2 million Filipinos who work in the BPO sector could lose their jobs in the next three to five years, unless action is taken. However, many industry leaders have said that call centers can still survive if they train their staff to handle more-specialized tasks. The Contact Center Association of the Philippines is working with schools and universities around the country to produce graduates with the right problem-solving skills to meet the new challenges.
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