Native American Day in South Dakota
Written by Marcus Heerdt
October 12, 2019

This year, Monday, October 14, is Native American Day here in South Dakota. In much of the rest of the country, the day is a federal holiday known as Columbus Day, however, some states do not observe this holiday, South Dakota included. Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, New Mexico, Maine, and our state of South Dakota observe holidays that honor Native Americans.

I taught middle school Social Studies for eight years and each year when I told my 7th graders that Christopher Columbus never set foot in what is now the United States, most were shocked. Columbus explored areas in and around the Caribbean, and never even set foot anywhere in North America. The closest he came was the Bahamas. Columbus did not discover America. Many people were in the Americas before him, including Norse explorers and of course, the Native Americans inhabited the continent long before European exploration.

In 1990, South Dakota Governor George Mickelson declared a “Year of Reconciliation” and Columbus Day became Native Americans Day, a day in honor of Native Americans, rather than a holiday which celebrates a man who never made it to mainland America.

According to a recent news story from KOTA, a Native American man named Tim Gaigo helped create Native American Day in South Dakota.

He said, "I sat down and had a long talk with him (SD Governor George Mickelson) and we talked about race relations. It was one of his big concerns as governor of South Dakota. And he wanted to do something to try improve race relations.” And on the 100th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890-1990), Columbus Day became Native American Day in South Dakota.



National Customer Service Week 2019
Written by Marcus Heerdt
October 7, 2019

This week is National Customer Service Week 2019! We here at the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce believe that customer service is very important to our organization. We are involved with area businesses, events, and greet travelers to our region and provide them with the information they need. There are numerous times that we have had over 1,000 people visit the Chamber in ONE DAY.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert and speaker, and has published numerous books and articles on the subject. He has been featured on NBC, CBS, the Today Show, and Fox Business. The following are his 10 tips and tricks in order to provide excellent customer service.



  1. Use this week as an excuse to send out a survey to your customers to get their feedback. Remember, once you get their feedback, do something with it! There are few things more frustrating to your customers than when they share their opinion, only for a company to ignore it.

  2. Create a short video thanking your customers and post it on YouTube. Share it across other social media platforms.  Try including as many of your employees as possible in the video.

  3. Don’t just focus on the external customer—do something for your internal customers, too. Remember my Employee Golden Rule: the best companies treat their employees the way they want their customers treated—sometimes even better.

  4. Make the customers’ problem your problem. By solving their problems and needs, you create a partnership. Let the customer know you’re on their team—especially if the customer is angry or upset. Tackle problems together.

  5. Get employees excited about working for you. Find out what your employees are passionate about and incorporate that into their job description if you can. An enthusiastic and positive work environment will increase employee productivity and retention—and it is felt by the customer.

  6. Look at your customers as a community. Engage in conversations with them and listen to their ideas and suggestions. Make them part of your process for improvement.

  7. Make it personal. People like doing business with people they know, like and trust. Take time to personally reach out to your customers to get to know them better and find out what they really need.

  8. Good customer service starts on the inside with the company’s culture. Leadership must create a customer service vision that every employee can relate to. It must be concise, simple and easy to remember. I call it the service “mantra.” It must be trained to—not just once, but continuously. Remember, training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do.

  9. Be convenient. I can’t emphasize this enough. Convenience is the competitive differentiator in virtually every industry. Customers like to have an experience that is easy, convenient, and friction-free

  10. Create a journey map—not just for the customer journey, but for employees as well. Understand the entire journey from start to finish and identify areas where customers and employees experience friction. Then come up with ways to eliminate that friction.



Native American Day in South Dakota
Written by Marcus Heerdt
October 12, 2019



National Customer Service Week 2019
Written by Marcus Heerdt
October 7, 2019



Autumn Hikes in the Black Hills
Written by Marcus Heerdt
September 30, 2019



10 Things to know about the Buffalo Roundup
Written by Marcus Heerdt
September 23, 2019



22nd Annual Mickelson Trail Trek
Written by Marcus Heerdt
September 16, 2019



Read the Newsletter

Copyright © 2019 CusterSD.com All rights reserved | Privacy Policy