PRINCESS 42 OWNER INTERVIEW – SIMON ROWBREY
“I’ve never understood the need with boats to contact and involve so many different people for basic and regular servicing. You can spend four figures on a car, take it to the dealer, have the engine serviced, new tyres fitted, the sunroof fixed and the squeak on the door attended to and pick it up cleaned, hoovered and ready to go. Six (or even seven) figures on a boat and you’re on the phone to the boat yard to lift it, the engine agent for the service, someone else to antifoul it, and another person to polish it. It’s why I’m so struck with the new Princess Motor Yacht Sales service scheme. I can take the boat to the the Swanwick facility, drop off the keys and pick it up a week later knowing that everything has been dealt with properly and professionally. Fantastic”.
I’m talking to Simon Rowbrey, who’s been hooked on Princess Motor Yacht Sales’ attitude to customer care ever since buying his Princess 42 from the company.
“I’d coveted a Princess for many years, but a new 42 was out of reach. UK Sales Controller Alan Knight knew exactly what I wanted however, and sourced me a three year old example in 2015, offering me a great part-exchange figure against my preceding Beneteau Antares 12 in the process. The whole deal was handled very smoothly and professionally, Alan even arranged marina berthing so that on the hand-over day we could put the Beneteau back to back with the Princess and simply hand things across. Moving boats is a little like moving house, but you don’t normally get to put the houses back to back first!
Whilst Simon was clearly impressed by how well he was looked after during the sale, it’s the service he’s received since that has really wowed him. And having bought a boat through the Princess Approved Scheme, he has experienced the perfect example of what has become industry leading customer care.
“My wife and I were anchored in Swanage Bay, just outside Poole where we keep our boat ‘Georgie Girl’. It was a beautiful day but with a fresh breeze, just the sort of conditions in which you don’t want issues with your anchor winch. Unfortunately that’s just what we got. When I tried to raise the anchor, something in the mechanism broke and it jammed solid. I tried all the usual things, including using the hand crank to manually raise the anchor but it was stuck fast. I was considering buoying the chain and letting it go, hoping to retrieve it later, when I thought I’d try calling PMYS Concierge for some advice”.
The Princess Motor Yacht Sales concierge service is the perfect example of the company’s commitment to the ultimate in customer care. Each customer gets a dedicated agent who knows the customer and knows the boat. Simon’s concierge is Richard Baker.
“We got through straight away and explained the issue. I was advised that Leon McGregor, one of their engineers, had been in Poole only that morning and was now back in Southampton, but would be dispatched immediately. Did we have a way of getting him to the boat? We explained that we had our dinghy and were asked to expect Leon in Swanage in an hour. We ran the dinghy ashore, had some lunch and Leon turned up exactly as promised. Shortly afterwards he was on the boat and had the anchor up”.
“And that’s the real advantage with this system. It’s not some anonymous call centre, you get through to someone that really knows the boats, understands the issues and can put a swift and effective plan into operation. And the guys they send out don’t just know how to fix the problems, they know how to treat the boat. Leon has been on our boat before, servicing the engines. On the Princess 42 that means moving furniture, removing carpets and opening hatches in the saloon floor. But afterwards there’s never anything out of place, not even a finger mark to show he’s been. Even the bilges are left immaculate”.
Experienced owners, Simon and his wife Maggie have been enjoying boating across a variety of vessels for many years, typically cruising cross channel from their Poole base or down to the West Country, and so are no strangers to the marine industry. “Our experience of aftersales care has varied greatly. Some are fantastic, whilst others wave you goodbye once the sale is completed, leaving you pretty much to fend for yourself. But the concierge service from Princess really has been on another level. From the reassurance of an engineer on call 24/7 via an emergency number to the ‘one stop shop’ ability to simply and effectively organise all of the required maintenance work via a single call to someone who really understands boats is not only tremendously reassuring, it just takes all the hassle out of ownership”.