Ask majority of the players in the industry if we're delivering on clients expectations, and the general answer will be yes. But if most of us do not own a superyacht, and perhaps could not afford a piece of the luxury lifestyle pie, how do we attempt to deliver on expectations we cannot hold tangibly?
Offering an interesting, outsiders perspective on the subject is Pete Cullum-Kenyon, Head of Colour and Trim at Bentley Motors who shared "I find that many clients are intrigued by the story, the detail behind the design, so I always think about this when working on new concepts. How will the client be excited by this? What engages them? And often, personal experience is a good starting point". Although it can seem as though there is a great divide between the supplier and the UHNW client, Vincenzo Poerio, CEO of Benetti thinks that the gap doesn't need to be that wide. "Yes a UHNWI client has a lot of economical power to help them realise any project or dream. But on the other hand, they are no different to anybody else. Most of them are very proactive but with weak and strong points like everybody else." However, to help tap into the mindset of the former, Poerio thinks you need to be "part psychologist, part creative, innovative, able to listen, allow them the freedom to dream and show how we can help improve the lifestyle, while reducing the headaches."
Perhaps an overarching theme to the issue is that, like most things in life - we are all the same, but we are all different. Because of these commonalities, we are able to do certain ground work based on the majority, while allowing space for the unique individual. Cristina Fagioli, marketing director at Mondo Marine says their "philosophy involves presenting the client with many concept projects in order for them to identify the main lines of their personal projects". And similarly, Andrew Young, managing director, Special Projects and Services Limited (SPS) thinks "private meetings will reveal areas of concern to the client which need addressing, which would not be immediately obvious from a lifestyle profile. However, whilst each UHNWI is unique in the full range of requirements, certain common themes exist".
Once you've captured the clients imagination, what are some of the common themes that are most important to owners from their suppliers, as well as their crew on board? Crew should be "happy, not causing headaches, friendly but also providing privacy when needed. Owners need crew who are running their dream in the best way possible - instead of creating problems, they are solving them" shares Poerio. Ultimately, they want "professional service and discretion from both crew and suppliers" shares Young.
Upon researching and investigating how their clients think and what is important to them, the question still remains - are we delivering? "We are all doing our best to comply with our client expectations but long term we need to provide better services and more professionally trained people to manage this wonderful world of being able to live on board your dreams" states Poerio.
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