Outlining a surpassingly brilliant service protocol is one of 49 things you have to finish by last Tuesday.

You've wolfed down lunch in record time and have seven minutes before your next meeting—time enough to Google "customer service tips," which brings up terabytes of platitudes on friendliness, knowledge, going the extra mile, blah, blah, blah.

You know these cookie-cutter best-practices probably work, but they're too obvious and stale to motivate your people toward new plateaus.

It's starting to look like your seven minutes have been squandered... but just then, by a wonderful click of fate, you find an article (this one) offering three unusual mindsets that your team may actually find useful.

1. Stop helping the customer!

Sounds counterintuitive, but here's the deal: It's not a helper/helped vibe you're going for. You want it to feel like a collaborative effort based on mutual respect. Avoid slipping into that "Mac guy" persona—the overly likeable know-it-all played by Justin Long, who's so effortlessly hip and helpful that you sort of want to push him under a bus.

One way to lose the irritating "helper" mannerism is by realizing that customers are helping you more than you're helping them. After all, customer feedback helps your company grow. Hang on your customer's every helpful word. Marvel at their observations. Make them feel like an insider. Then show them your gratitude by accommodating them like crazy.

You've just made a friend for life—by letting them help you.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Levitt is the CEO of Mad Mimi in New York and is responsible for tactical aspects of Mad Mimi's development and brand. Gary was born on a remote farm in Southern Africa and went to school with Nelson Mandela's grandchildren; he was also a skateboard pro and champion, and a professional bass player.
Rich Baker is CEO of Glance (www.glance.net), a one-click desktop-sharing service in Arlington, Massachusetts.