My wife Susan and I just returned from taking our 473, Iron Will, to Ft. Lauderdale for the winter and then, six (6) weeks ago from Ft. Lauderdale to the Exumas and the Abacos. We then sailed her from Freeport to Beaufort NC, 73 ½ hours and then around Hatteras to Annapolis, 53 hours. It was a great trip, We gained tons of offshore and cruising experience.
The reason I am writing this is to express my appreciation for two things, first, the boat.
Iron Will went thru 13 to 15 foot seas around Cape Fear on the way down and motored head to wind for 37 hours. From Freeport to Beaufort, she motor sailed continuously for over 73 hours. From Beaufort to Annapolis she motored sailed for another 53 hours. The boat performed fabulously. Not one piece of equipment ever failed. Not one screw came loose and the crew and I felt completely safe in 30 + knot winds and 15 + foot seas. I am a huge Beneteau fan. The boats are world class blue water vessels.
Next, Annapolis Yacht Sales service. Prior to departing for Florida and the Bahamas, I had extensive work done at AYS. The installation of a SSB, an inner forestay and sail, a satellite telephone, a last minute oil & fuel filter change, etc…In Florida, I was about to leave for the Bahamas and a driver said my “zincs” were gone. Once again, I called Chris Humphreys at AYS and he overnight mailed two zincs that I had installed the next morning. 200 miles offshore, I had a problem where the batteries weren’t taking a charge. I call AYS on my satellite phone and Chris returned the call within two hours and we resolved the problem in 1 minute.
It is this kind of sales, service and personalized customer care that separate the OK companies from the great ones. You run a “taught” and highly professional ship. Thanks from Steve & Susan Brighton. We truly appreciate all you and your team does.
Oh, by the way, I think the Cape Hatteras adventure about did Susan in. She has been expressing her interest in a Beneteau “Fast Trawler” in the future. Who knows?
Garth, our new 343 is a real performer. Our 400 was a plough horse compared to the 343. The salon makes the vessel seem much larger and I still have a basement to store important "stuff." A lot of value for the price. I want to compliment Jonathan and Anne for their attention to detail and customer service. It takes a lot of effort to coordinate the needs and desires of the owners (us), the needs of the vessel, communications with Beneteau and your staff in Annapolis and finally coordination with the boatyard.
We look forward to returning in late July/early August for extended cruising on the Chesapeake and then again returning in November for the journey to the Abacos.
Ian and Sue
I had planned to send this note to you months ago; however, the delay has allowed me to validate even further what I have to convey to you. My comments regard Fred Wagner, with whom you have trusted the care of your customers.
As the Director of Quality for a Fortune 10 company, I regularly interact with employees and our customers, large and small, with whom they contact on a daily basis. Not only is it clear to me what criteria are critical to customer satisfaction, but, more importantly, I understand the criteria critical to customer loyalty and advocacy. A loyal customer will come back to you again and again, but an advocate customer will sell your products/services for you through word of mouth.
That said, I find Fred to be the epitome of how someone in his position should conduct himself when interfacing with individuals who have invested in a boat such as those sold by AYS. My experience of Fred is nothing short of marvelous. His average response time is superb, regardless of the time of day I call him, including week-ends and evenings. Be that as it may, a quick response time means nothing if the subsequent interaction is less than favorable. In Fred’s case, that interaction is more than favorable. He treats each question/problem exactly the same; I feel as though no question is too small or too large for him. He makes certain that I fully understand each answer to my satisfaction, and follows up to make certain it was the right answer. I firmly believe had I not received the attention to detail that Fred provides, my experience of AYS could have moved towards some level of dissatisfaction, not unlike what I hear from customers of other Beneteau dealers in the U.S. and around the world.
It’s comforting to know that Fred is “there for me,” whether it is battery management, a windlass that just needs to be reset, or an A/C line that needs to be primed. I may be quite anxious when I call, but it’s only a matter of seconds before Fred has me calmed and the problem addressed. That kind of service I find rare as I benchmark against other companies in the area of customer management.
Garth, it’s easy to understand why you have Fred in such a key position, one that requires direct contact with customers who all may have issues, most of which are potential triggers for dissatisfaction. Not only is Fred competent based on his knowledge, but he has the uncanny ability to transfer that knowledge to your customers. I trust you are as proud of him as I am an advocate of his service.