Our model is centered around the art of listening. The reason why it is an art is that it involves an intense behavioral and cognitive process. That is where the acronym F.A.C.E. comes into effect. The acronym stands for Focus, Acknowledge, Clarify, and Empathize.
We encounter many distractions from those around us, television, cell phones, social media, etc. It takes a conscious effort to "focus." To increase your ability to focus, do what you can to alleviate distractions. For example, put away cell phones, and remove televisions from your working space when working from home. Take notes when the customer speaks, which helps focus on the customer's words, ask questions, and stay involved in the conversation. In doing so, remember that the customer should do most of the talking and the agent most of the listening to arrive at the best solution.
To acknowledge something is to make known that you have received the information. We do this by simply restating what we have heard. This brings comfort to the customer, knowing that we are listening to what is being said, and it gives the space to clarify if what was restated is not the intended message.
Acknowledging and clarifying go hand and hand. When we recognize it, we ask the customer if what we heard is the message that should be received. If we need to clarify, we ask open-ended questions to gather information to ensure we are both on the same page. It is essential to clarify throughout the conversation. Do a quick check-in with the customer before moving forward.
To empathize is to be able to recognize that someone is expressing an emotion and be able to show compassion for that person. Being able to show empathy for another person is a unique skill. We empathize by recognizing the feeling that is being distributed and then letting the person on the other line know we can hear it. Then, allowing the person the space to vent will enable us to gather the information we need to move forward to help come to a solution. We want them to know they are important, and we value them.