There’s More to Service – 5 Ways to Help and Care


If I asked you to tell me about an outstanding service experience, you’d likely recount an interaction where a service provider “did something for you.”

To ensure my clients don’t get one-dimensional in their service delivery, I’ve created a model I call “5 Ways to Serve.” I share it here to spark team conversations about how you care for those you serve.

5 Ways to Serve

1) Doing For (acting on behalf of, delivering, solving) – This assistance category is how most people define service.

2) Being With (offering time, being available) – This service involves spending time with someone and often doesn’t require words or other action.

3) Understanding (active listening, suspending assumptions/judgment, empathizing) – This service is demonstrated by offering focused attention, paraphrasing, asking about feelings, and ensuring the other person is seen and heard.

4) Affirming (believing in, maintaining hope, acknowledging human value) – This assistance involves words or gestures that validate, inspire, or show respect for the person you serve.

5) Enabling (informing/explaining, advocating, generating alternatives). These service acts involve teaching others how to get their needs met, removing obstacles, increasing their resourcefulness, or supporting their actions.

Most of us have a preferred way to care for others. World-class service professionals and organizations, however, expand their repertoire of service behaviors and tailor actions to the needs of the person they are serving.

To learn more about ways to expand service experiences, please contact me at

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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