Nope. This is happy Max Porter. A ray of sunlight in the world of customer service done right.
This is the invoice Max sent to John, the guy who owns Obtainium, who bought a battery one day and got it the next day.
It was packaged neatly, the invoice in a plastic pouch and the batteries well-padded. John thinks Max is a customer service beast which gets a good laugh from Max.
“The first thing you need to think about is the customer's needs,” Max says. “Show your customer you're going to help.”
And he did—not only did John get his batteries, he got a $100 check back from Max two days later for sending in the old battery cores. Way to go Max. And that's what Max does, every day, every hour he's at work. He gets a fair number of repeat customers, unusual in a business that few people even know exists. PorterMax, an electronics company (https://www.portermax.com/) supplies cables, batteries, accelerometers, sensors and a variety of parts mostly for analyzers that are used daily in the industrial world. There are thousands of parts in his inventory and his memory on such things seems to be as sharp as needed to provide what the customer wants and as fast as the customer needs it.
“We don't hear back from people that much, but we do get thanks and I appreciate that,” says Max. “That's how we improve.”
He cites an example in which a particular part wasn't performing well. He had received complaints so they took it apart and redesigned it. “Works fine now,” he adds. “I appreciate it when the customers tell us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. They're right.”
Max is not shy about sharing his business pivot point—customer service.
“I'm in a very competitive market. There are a lot of companies that produce really good products, but we strive to make sure the customer is taken care of. That's what we live for.”
It's more than being polite on the phone. It's about taking an extra step. Doing something more than what the customer expects.
“Even if we don't have it, we will do the research to help out,” Max says. “Maybe we can find a source so the customer can go to that vendor or manufacturer.”
Big companies don't always deal with legacy or older equipment, so PorterMax (like Obtainium LLC-we need to get our own plug in now and then) can fill that niche. “Big companies want to sell you the latest stuff with a big price tag even if you don't need it,” Max cautions. “I know one company that is charging $500 for a battery, and I charge less than half that for the same battery.”
Way to go Max.
Could it be PorterMax is getting well known? Maybe. The internet is a wonderful thing, and Max has customers all over the place; Chile, France, United Arab Emirates and in most states, particularly those based in industry and manufacturing.
“They find me on Google,” he replies. But that's no accident. He makes sure when a Google search occurs that PorterMax rises near the top, even if he has to pay a little more for it. These internet firms are ruthless, but Max knows how to handle it.
“I worked forty years for AT&T and did a lot of running around to check on buildings and projects. It was a good career. We did predictive maintenance. We went out and checked equipment and monitored bearings to see when they needed to be replaced instead of waiting until something broke. Fixing before it breaks saves downtime and money.”
Presumably, downtime also means unhappy customers, so Max figures a little more long range thinking is good for everyone, so I asked him what he would tell students if he was running the Harvard School of Business.
“I'd say the first thing is determine what you want to do and what you want. The next thing you need to think of is (ready for this?) think of what the customers' needs are and show them you are going to help.”
Well said Max. Now about that retirement thing…..oh nevermind.