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In conversation with Oscar Ibañez

by Nautor Swan 8 Mar 15:38 GMT
Oscar Ibañez, Nautor Swan Global Service CEO © Stefano Gattini

This week's "In Conversation With" campaign sees Oscar Ibañez, Nautor Swan Global Service CEO.

Nautor Swan Global Service is the division within Nautor Swan, able to offer a 360 degrees customer care and after sales service to Swan owners.

Oscar, your experience in customer care goes back some time and you have an impressive knowledge of the sailing yacht industry but also the capability of quickly reacting to any situation. Which are the challenges ahead in achieving service excellence?

First and most important is to meet customers' expectations. And these are not always consistent. It is vital to understand beforehand what the owner or crew are looking for, and then draw a plan to provide the correct solution. It never happens that we have two situations alike: no two customers, no two yachts and no two refits or repairs share the same issues. So, adaptability, flexibility, comprehension and knowledge of how to approach every issue are key success factors. There are some similarities, but for the most part, each client has a different desire for their yard period. Some customers are involved in the process, and others who just want to pick up the yacht when it's ready.

Nautor has been building yachts for over 55 years, with different models and sizes, and over the years with diverse technology and systems used. Considering this extensive period and over 2.300 yachts built, combined with each owner's individual usage, Nautor Swan Global Service approach is unique in every case we manage.

Nonetheless, the most repetitive aspect throughout the fleet is to have a proper, skilled and knowledgeable team, transparent and fluent communication during the whole project, a precise and respected deadline, which in most cases turns out to be shorter than expected! Meeting timing expectations is one of the biggest challenges of today.

Nautor Swan Global Service develops a relationship with the customer that is bigger than just the job at hand. A long-term relationship covering the yacht's service history and a partnership taking care of the technical solutions, the workmanship, record-keeping and historical maintenance data, and a point of call when the owner or captain needs it when sailing around the world. We want to be as close to the client as possible, to be able to provide the best experience in terms of assistance and support, with a full understanding of the yacht and the customer's needs. This is the main reason we have our own service yards, providing full in-house service with our own team, dedicated Project Managers, and global coverage. The goal is to provide the most trouble-free experience to ensure our owners can enjoy the yachting lifestyle and pleasurable voyages with friends and family onboard.

Nautor Swan Global Service is hand in hand with customers 24/7 wherever they are, please tell us the services you provide and how your network operates.

We can summarize the situation by saying that Nautor Swan Global Service provides all after-sales services. It's as simple as that. From the joint commissioning with the yard in Pietarsaari, to remote commissioning when the yachts are launched elsewhere in the world, the familiarization packages to the owners, the execution and follow-up over the two-year warranty period, and most importantly, servicing to almost 2.300 existing Swans, executing repairs, maintenance and refit projects. But in addition through dedicated programs like; Gardiennage, Swan Heritage support for the older yachts, Racing Assistance and also the dedicated Spare Parts department and Technical Advice, which isan area of service growing more and more.

We are providing all these services through our own Service yards in Badalona, Palma de Mallorca, Scarlino and Villefranche, as well as the recently added center in Hamble, which is taking care of all the Northern European countries. Our hometown yard In Pietarsaari is ready to perform Refits as well.

I am also excited to announce the opening in the next months of an NSGS center to serve the Pacific, as well as the US East Coast.

At the start of each project, we provide a dedicated Project Manager. This is an important value to yacht owners and captains. The appointed PM will be their sole point of contact during the lifecycle of the boat for any need, and he will be in charge of following and coordinating every job, through our team of experts. Over the years our extended network is proving to manage a high percentage of projects out of our facilities with great results.

NSGS Care program is dedicated to those yachts that are already sailing around the world. This is a special initiative adding value to our boats by creating a documented service history and official records of the jobs completed with the expertise and knowledge of Nautor Swan.

A new service that we're just finalizing is a Swan crew agency, that for sure will help a lot of owners.

You cover almost the entire globe, what are the suggestions you give for sailing in different oceans?

There are five oceans in the world, but 70% of the world is covered by water anyway, so there are plenty of nice spots, sailing areas, and anchorages out there. It is just a matter of finding time and going for it....

The Mediterranean, where we have the biggest number of our own yards, clearly is one of the favourite destinations. From East to West every part has its own character and beauty, and most probably the biggest concentration of different cultures in a very small sea.

The North Sea and the Baltic are, without doubt, an experience to live at least once in life. Small villages, archipelagos and plenty of anchorages, cliffs, big cities close to the sea, the challenge of sailing in strong tides and a lot of navigation ancient history... and of course the experience to sail on a midnight sun setting sail from Pietarsaari...!

Of course, everyone has dreamed about crossing the Atlantic at some point, and this adventure is now a real possibility for every sailor - thanks to latest systems onboard, communications, and the different events and rallies if you prefer to cross in company. And once there..., the Caribbean, a must-do destination during the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. From there, to cross Panama, a new world is opening up after Galapagos with all the magnitude of the Pacific Ocean, until arriving in New Zealand and Australia, the birthplace of legendary sailors...

Lots of other remote places that our owners are sailing include Cape Horn, Antarctica, Suez Canal, and the north passage....

But, personally, for me, the most life-changing time onboard, was on a Swan 86, from New York to Canada all the way up through the N.E coast of USA.

Some tips about how to prepare your yacht for an unforgettable season.

Each yacht is different and depending on cruising plans this will vary, but the most important is to be conscious that every yacht needs care and attention. It is a complex machine in an even more complex and hostile environment. The latest yachts have a lot of systems that make life easier onboard with a lot of easy-handling features, and an incredible increase in comfort over the last few years. But all these systems require attention and maintenance in order to not turn these improvements into a headache. Without doubt, planning the annual routine maintenance together with preventive maintenance, and a wide knowledge of the systems onboard will help you enjoy the season to the maximum.In any case, wherever a problem may arise, the NSGS team will always be ready to help.

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