One benefit of joining SCMP is that it provides a great network to call on when we need help--which happens often. A compassionate voice at the other end of the phone (or e-mail) is often a big help in a crunch.

Like the day I went into work only to find my office's 800 number (the Long Beach Area CVB) advertised on a promotional flyer for an upcoming meeting of a multi-level marketing organization. In and of itself, this wasn't a bad thing. After all, CVBs are service organizations. But the literature directed attendees to call my number for hotel reservations! Our CVB has a housing bureau, but we do not make hotel reservations over the phone.

The onslaught of 2,000 phone calls was quite a challenge. So, we canvassed the area to locate hotel availability for referrals, and set up a voice mail box to handle the inquiries. I also contacted a fellow SCMP member who had dealt with this same group before. She gave me advice on how to work with them, and her firsthand experience proved invaluable.

Then there was the time a meeting executive who, against our suggestions, decided to hold an outside beach party in January--without a backup plan. Of course, the rain came down in buckets the morning of the event. We received an urgent phone call at 10 a.m. asking for 800 poncho rain slickers by 4 p.m. that same afternoon! I immediately called a long-time SCMP member who works at Disneyland and asked for help. We were able purchase the ponchos from Disneyland and fulfill the client's last-minute request.

It all comes down to customer service--the theme of SCMP's 1998 Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Look for a conference review in SCMP News in January.

UPCOMING MEETINGS November 4-7, 1998 SCMP Annual Meeting The Adam's Mark Hotel, San Antonio, Texas Contact: Mike Mazur (404) 355-9932 Fax: (404) 351-3348 E-mail: mmaz@mindspring.com