Outstanding customer service is one part skill, one part technology... and a million parts attitude.

How you treat people matters more than anything, and how you treat people starts with wanting to build great business -- and even personal -- relationships.

So how can you consistently do that?

The following is from Mike Milburn, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Service Cloud at Salesforce, the world's leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

Here's Mike:

Whenever I walk past a tennis court, I always feel inspired. Tennis was my whole life in high school and college, and it continues to be a major part of my world today, because it's taught me how to succeed in the harsh world of customer service.

Playing tennis competitively is surprisingly similar to working at a customer service driven company. I've pulled out the top lessons I've learned -- both playing and teaching tennis -- that will hopefully help you hone in on your customer service skill set.

1. Talk it Out

Whether you are at a business dinner, a networking event, or encountering a glitch while trying to resolve a customer service issue, knowing how to keep cool under pressure is an important skill -- and it can help put the customer at ease. One way to accomplish this is through "small talk".

According to Bernardo J. Carducci, director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, "small talk is really, really important. It helps us connect with people, and not just at holiday gatherings."

He calls small talk the "salve of a disconnected society, the cornerstone of civility."

And he's right -- in tennis small talk about an upcoming match is just as important as small talk about the latest Smart TV with your customer who is having trouble with their satellite.

Both conversations enable coaches, service reps and salespeople to build strong, personal relationships with their customers, putting them at ease no matter the problem they're facing.

2. Be a Great Listener

In tennis -- or any sport -- coaches and teammates are like customer service reps; often underappreciated, always committed to the team and diligent in their practice. But who makes the best coach, teammate or service rep?

A great listener.

Becoming a great listener does not always come naturally. Learning the art of patience and empathy is key. Same as building a great contact center, you need to be able to walk in someone else's shoes. Tune out everything you know and listen to what that person's pain point is; what is the challenge they are trying to overcome, the sales roadblock they are running into, or the feature they wish a product had?

Once you're able to feel that feeling, you'll be able to understand your customer and in turn become a great listener.

3. Never Forget that People Want to Be Remembered

Even when I was teaching fifteen people a day I always tried to provide personalized lessons based on each individual's previous performance. I also made it a point to remember details about our conversations -- from where they went on vacation, to their kid's recent birthday.

These personalized interactions were and still are my favorite way to build the foundation for any relationship, be it customer service or teaching a tennis lesson.

Customers today have an incredible amount of information available at their fingertips, and they expect you to know what they are trying to do before they interact with you. Customers don't want to be treated like a number or routed to a recording from a phone tree.

They want and expect your company to know them personally, to remember what interactions they have had with your company in the past, and anticipate your needs ahead.

These three lessons that I've learned have acted as the building blocks for my career and can be applied to almost any situation.

Always keep in mind that technology will continue to innovate, but just like the tennis racket... the fundamentals won't change.