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Is Excellent Customer Service a Lost Art ?

Most adults grew up starting out in life working customer service jobs. That was the first thing kids learned after mastering how to ride a two-wheel bike and tying their own shoes. Customer service became the foundation for all their future careers, a financial starting point, and important lessons of interactions with customers, co-workers, clients, employers, and the public. Excellent customer service has always been the main driver of a business’ revenue. But what is happening in Sioux Falls?

As one shops around town in Sioux Falls and interacts with businesses on the phone, it’s become more and more noticeable that this valuable skill is nearly null and void, almost a lost art. Yet, the lack of good customer service may not always be the employee’s fault - let’s face it- unless employees are utilizing their own learned “common-sense” skills and “thinking outside the box”, the employer should still be providing customer service training to all new hires. Also, they should be providing ongoing customer service workshops and opportunities to existing employees so they can graduate to the next financial level. The employer’s #1 most important and valuable lesson is to…

Invest in Your Employees with the Proper Tools and Training!

Because most employers are not investing in their employees with the proper tools of customer service training. If they are expected to learn as they go, this sets them up for failure. Are they learning any new habits, good customer service phone skills, coworker non-bullying tactics, how to count back change, are they encouraged to cross train - so they become more valuable? If you answered ‘No’ to any of the above or you honestly don’t know, then that’s where the breakdown begins. The loss of customers and high employee turnover is on the business owner/employer not the employee.



Employers / Business Owners - Heed this Warning!

All employers and managers should inspect what they expect. Be alert and aware of ‘what’ your employee says to your customer and ‘how’ they say it -either in person or on the phone. This will determine your profits, return customers, new future customers, and help in avoiding the high cost of rehiring/retraining staff all over again!

If You Are Still Not Clear, Then Ask Yourself These Questions…

Question: When was the last time Human Resources (HR), management, or corporate checked the cost of the new hire on-boarding/orientation process to include drug testing?

Question: Is HR providing any mock customer service workshops or phone scripts?

Question: What can big corporations or small business do to fix their crumbling customer service dilemma and retain valuable employees?

Question: Is your HR and the hiring manager(s) keeping their promise or are their hours cut after on-boarding?

Question: What else are you doing to retain your employee -if raises are not an option? Answer: Click on this link to Ask Mare! Write to me, I’m here with a few solutions that may help save time/money.

--Ask Mare

Post Date: 2022-08-02 11:33:44Last Update: 2022-08-02 11:49:10


“Lucky Thirteen” – A List of Thirteen Gas Saving Tips!

1. Never pump when the fuel truck is refilling. As doing so, causes air to fill in the tank and will result in less fuel per fill.

2. Never top off. That will cause added air in the tank.

3. Never gas up when the ground is HOT.

4. Keep the tank full, and gas up before your tank reaches the half-way point. I know that’s hard now, but payout will be less.

5. Use Premium when possible; this costs a bit more but you will get better gas mileage.

6. Keep tires inflated properly. This saves gas, and each tank will go farther due to the added efficiency.

7. Keep the trunk empty! Added weight lowers fuel efficiency.

8. Maintain the vehicle; change out air filters, use high grade oil, and keep wheels aligned.



9. When traveling on the freeway; keep steady speed at 65 mph. Do not speed or continually accelerate. Use the cruise control when safe to do so.

10. Plan out errands and routes to avoid backtracking and unnecessary driving.

11. Avoid excessive acceleration and abrupt stops. This creates wear-and-tear on the foot brake and may cause you to be rear ended. To save on gas and brakes, try this… When approaching an intersection - about 100 yards in advance – start early to slow the vehicle by letting off the accelerator (gas pedal) let the car/truck slow on its own and upon approach of the stop light, apply the foot break gently, and gradually come to a safe stop. No need to race up to the light, or the car ahead of you in line, only to slam on the brakes.

12. Do not leave the car/truck on idle for long periods of time.

13. Use the air conditioner only when needed, this can help reduce fuel consumption by 5-20%.

Let me know how you’re doing, click HERE to Ask Mare.

Enjoy the ride!

--Ask Mare

Post Date: 2022-08-02 11:12:13Last Update: 2022-08-02 11:33:44


Concerned For USA, Asks Mare
Summer Fun and High Gas Prices...What To Do?

Dear Ask Mare,

I’m concerned for my family - what is happening in our country? Another recession! Because of the crazy high gas price, I’m worried for my family that we can’t go places this summer and that we will be locked down again in our homes doing remote work. Won’t be able to afford the gas to travel to our jobs and can’t afford food and clothes. I can’t afford to buy an electric car unless I use my three-year-old’s Barbie car. That last article from that person complaining about people moving here from other states, I can’t imagine how much more those folk that did move here had to deal with much higher prices for taxes, food, utilities, and fires too. So sad. What can a family do?

Concerned for USA



Hello Concerned for USA,

Thank you for reaching out to me. What is happening in our country is an important topic, and yes, we are heading down a heavy and expensive road unless November turns the tide again. But I'd rather not get caught up in the political waters – I'd rather help you and others stay afloat - so here are some practical and helpful things you and your family can do…

GAS- Keep your gas tank at half-full all the time so when you fill up you only have to fill half a tank. Utilize the grocery store gas credits to help keep out-of-pocket expenses low. However, there are many alternatives to driving that I would like to share for the summer.

BUS- Utilize the local bus for work or shopping closest to your home. It’s a great way to meet new people! Try to convince your neighbors and family to ride with you, public transportation is a nice reprieve from driving, and allows you to share valuable time conversing with those you love.

If you work on Sundays, contact the Sioux Falls Area Metro Transportation Department at (605) 367-7151, for the route schedule and ask them to consider routes on Sundays for those that need a ride to work and or church.

KIDS- The Sioux Falls Area Metro offers a "Freedom Pass" for kids aged 11-18, to ride the bus for free all summer. This may be a great way to save on gas and car insurance for your teens, all while keeping them and their summer, fun, and friends safe.

WALK- If you are close enough -within a few miles- walking during the spring, summer, and fall months, is an excellent stride towards good health. Not only is walking great for physical exercise and blood pressure, but also for mental health. Walking in the fresh air, stimulates your brain, and helps to release endorphins.

RIDE-SHARE- For winter months, see if your work has a bulletin board in their break room, if not, start a post for carpooling. Maybe schedule with other co-workers and neighbors that are in your same area. Carpooling can be a great way to make friends, or listen to others who might need to someone to talk to. Either way, car-pooling is a great way to build community, and strengthen friendships.

Social Media- If you continue with a remote job - use your internet to reach out to others on Facebook or Neighborhood Marketplace to shop for items to buy, or list items to sell and trade.

LIBRARY-If you can no longer afford internet, utilize the internet at the local library, or internet cafe.

WIFI SHARING- If close enough to your nearest neighbor, offer to pay for half of pricey internet services. Routers are inexpensive and will carry a wifi signal to your office or home. If that's still too expensive, ask to trade for something you can offer like, a car oil change, errands, babysitting, etc.

GREEN THUMB- Many hands make light work, so get the kids to help plant a vegetable garden in your backyard or indoor planter box. If you have outdoor gardening space, consider covering each garden bed with chicken wire to keep those furry friends out, wanting to take part in the manna. If you live in an apartment, and only have indoor space to garden, consider placing the planter box near a window to get the full benefits of the sun and shade.

SEEK- Grocery stores usually sell gardening magazines, or you can check some out at the local library! If you are not a green thumb, or aren't sure how to get started, magazines provide plenty of inspiration for any backyard gardener.

If you have an abundance of books and magazines, don’t throw them out, instead share with all your neighbors by starting a local neighborhood book/magazine stand, or have the kids help fill a wagon and deliver them to the neighbors, or leave them in the break-room at your workplace.

STAY-CATION- Lastly, if you have to stay home, and find yourself propped in-front of the television, look for shows that share your values. Our family really enjoyed watching the ethics, morals, and family-value lessons of “Little House on the Prairie”. That show helped us to teach our own kids wonderful life lessons. As the characters learned all about chores, helping others, working with animals, fishing, canning, planting, and being grateful for what they do have, so too did it help shape our childrens' character. If you are like our family, and loved Little House on The Prairie, visit the
Laura Ingalls Wilder center in De Smet, SD.

Make sure to share your own homesteading, and canning tips with friends and neighbors too.

Above all else, get creative and have fun exploring and adventuring with the people in your life.

Yours Truly,

--Ask Mare

Post Date: 2022-06-23 13:53:21Last Update: 2022-06-23 14:38:54


Bad Fruit?“ Not a Desperado,” Asks Mare

Dear Mare

Oh wow! Great to see this editorial column to ask Mare instead of my wife. My situation is risky because my wife is always yelling, screaming, complaining, throwing things at me, and scolding me in front of the kids. No matter what I do it’s wrong. I work full time, help out with kids and their baths and story time, and keep up the yards but she wants me to help out around the house too, so she puts me in charge of buying groceries, keeping the grocery inventory, cooking all meals, cleaning up afterwards then she gets upset at the way I do it. Example, if I buy bananas and we don’t eat them quickly enough, they go bad, and I have to toss them out. She starts yelling and screaming that I’m wasting money. What can I do to solve the issue?


Mr. Not a Desperado



Hello Mr. Not a Desperado,

Thank you for reaching out to Ask Mare. Here is my personal opinion feedback on your action-packed issue…

It sounds like you, along with many other men who are spoken for, usually seem to have that same complaint of “darned if I do - darned if I don’t” scenario. You might just be deserving of the “man-of-the-year” award that says, “well done good and faithful servant”. So, take pride in your work and continue on. Just remember, appreciation and gratitude goes both ways.

Keep up the good work! -Mare

Help Support Ask Mare... DONATE TODAY!

--Ask Mare

Post Date: 2022-06-13 09:43:02Last Update: 2022-06-15 11:01:08


An Angry Native South Dakotan Asks Mare, “Why Are So Many People Moving Here and Driving Up Costs?”

Dear Ask Mare,

“I am a South Dakota citizen, been here all my life. I am upset because of all these California people are moving here and now our housing prices have gone up. Our population was around 880,000, and now it’s 1M +. What the heck is going on and why are they coming here? My family is growing, and I can’t upgrade our home because the houses are being sold for cash and no one is able to pick a place and buy it. So crazy. Our prices for groceries and gas have gone up, and I blame it all on CA people. Go home!” Signed- Angry In SoDak.

Dear Angry In SoDak,

Thank you for Asking Mare. Let's begin with your first question, "what in the heck is going on?"

Could it be because these Californian’s have been watching in horror as their once beautiful cities like San Francisco became an outdoor toilet and sidewalk drug house? Illegal entry from desperate citizens of third-world countries were allowed in without being vetted. Hardened criminals started bringing in harsh drugs and getting kids hooked on them, and the US government, residing in San Francisco, just seemed to turn a blind eye.

If you'll remember, the Governor of California said there was no more water, rip out your lawn and stop watering – and then fires broke out, burning all remaining vegetation, triggering mud-slides. Neither a water shortage, nor such severe fires had ever happened to this degree in the history of CA.

During COVID-19, citizens could not go to church because churches were considered "non-essential," while porn shops, CBC shops, and strip clubs were allowed to remain open, because those were considered essential.

Without borders, taxpaying citizens took a back seat, and thanks to expanded single-payer health like Medicaid, waiting a month or two just to see a physician became the norm. All of which increased the demands on hospitals and emergency visits, mid-pandemic. Meanwhile, state agencies like the DMV were closed, forcing people to wait four-five months to get an appointment, while costs increased 50 percent or more, on basic licensing taxes and insurance.

The California middle-class, once Democratic voters, turned Republican Conservatives as the parties shifted. Many, outraged to see their once beautiful state from ocean, to mountains, to desert, to national parks, burning and crumbling before their eyes, while drugs infiltrated their shorelines and cities, vowed to never again, vote for the same failed policies.

"Why are some Californians moving to South Dakota you ask?" Because these folks are the middle-class Americans that still honor the morals, ethics, and values of ‘We the People,’ the Constitution of the United States and believing that South Dakotans did too, had sparks of hope for a continued life of ‘freedom’ - a thing that was once a guarantee in this country, but is now slowly giving way to taxes and regulations, under the guise of "safety" and "equity".

Could it also be that SD has seen a surge in new citizens because Governor Kristi Noem went on conservative TV news networks in 2021, inviting citizens to, “come to South Dakota?” Or perhaps because South Dakota has recently been in the news for being a tax-haven, which protects billionaires, hiding trillions in financial securities, similar to the Cayman Islands? Perhaps it’s the billionaires from other countries that are coming to SD and buying up the housing, rather than just Californians?

Seems wherever these people are coming to South Dakota from, they had to make a life-changing decision. Those holding out hope for freedom, chose what they thought would be, the last bastion of freedom. Leaving was hard and costly, but necessary to escape 45%+ taxes on gas, food, property, income, and what is left of the resources available like water and electricity.



California, as many other states have, watched as thousands of middle-class families fled. They arrived at their new destinations with money to spend and hopes of remaining free, while no longer feeling afraid of their own government.

Sadly, they are not feeling welcomed. Instead they are blamed for the increased housing prices, which has very little to do with how they paid for their new home, i.e cash or loan, and more to do with inflation and supply issues.

The simple fact is, housing was going to increase in cost regardless of the population size. The silver lining is that cash buyers have infused our local economies with new revenue and have actually helped to stabilize our market. Because of the steady real-estate market, you now have more equity in your own home.

So, what can you do? Rejoice!

Thanks to refugees from other states, and even other countries, you now have more options. Rather than complain, maybe call your bank and see if you can use the equity in your home, to buy a second home as a rental! If your concerns are centered around housing, find out what you can do to be part of the solution.

You never know, that new neighbor might just end up becoming your life-saving best friend. You probably have much more in common than you know. So rather than be angry, help them to get settled into your neighborhood proudly, and enjoy living in the 'home of the free, and land of the brave.'

Because, let's face it, you have to be pretty darn brave to want to leave sunny California to seek freedom in freezing, inclement, inhospitable South Dakota.

Be the solution, be the sunshine!

Yours Truly,


If You Enjoyed This Segment, Donate To Mare HERE!

--Ask Mare

Post Date: 2022-06-03 02:55:51Last Update: 2022-06-03 17:44:43


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