Our people form the basis of Linssen Yachts. In this issue of Linssen Magazine, we therefore regularly reserve space for the stories of employees who carry out their specialist work, often behind the scenes. This time, it’s an interview with Ruud Reijnders, our aftersales engineer. As a child, he could be found on the water a lot, always sailing and canoeing. He very consciously chose a new, “third” career at Linssen Yachts six years ago.

“After graduating from technical college, I joined the Royal Dutch Navy,” Ruud says. “I served as an officer on frigates for 10 years. I then worked in sales and aftersales at Weir Minerals for 17 years and travelled all over the world. When I turned fifty, I decided to look for a job I really liked, something in the nautical world again. Linssen Yachts was looking for a sales engineer and I was hired. So in my ‘third’ career, I have turned my hobby into my profession.”

Making customers happy
For the first few years, Ruud sold yachts. “I really enjoyed convincing customers we had a good product, of good quality. To make their dreams come true with a beautiful boat.” In 2021, he was asked to move over to aftersales, partly because of his great technical background. “That’s fine too. The work is hugely dynamic and you are constantly finding solutions for customers. You keep thinking: how can I best help the customer? A satisfied, happy customer, that’s what you do it for.”

Getting ready for summer
What does the aftersales department actually do? Ruud: “In early spring, our main tasks are to make the boats summer-ready and deliver them. This includes carrying out refits, repairs and maintenance work, such as applying a new coat of antifouling, replacing anodes or engine servicing. We answer customer questions, give advice and issue quotations. Work assignments are strictly planned. As our own Linssen employees are busy building new yachts, service work is carried out by regular service partners and subcontractors. This, of course, must be done to Linssen’s high quality standard.”

Solving boating problems
“After Easter, our customers go back to sailing and enjoying themselves,” continues Ruud. “We then get mostly boating-related questions, for example about operation or a malfunction. By asking targeted questions, we try to discover what’s going on. In this area, we do, of course, have to set priorities. A non-working light is less urgent than an engine failure. Customers with guarantees take precedence and less urgent inquiries are received via the ‘service inquiry’ option on the Linssen Yachts website. However, we try to help everyone as well and as quickly as possible. If necessary, we have boats come by in Maasbracht and sometimes we send a Linssen service partner on site.”

Winter season
From September, Ruud and his colleagues Diana and Ceryll focus on advising on and planning for winterising the boats. “We advise customers and arrange all sorts of things: maintenance, cleaning, overhauls, damage repair, painting, storage advice, system checks, etc. Actually, every year has the same cycle of work. We also ensure that traded-in boats are made like new again for sale, refitting them. This is important, because you often see people start with a pre-owned ‘family boat’ and years later buy a new one from us. We like to build long-term relationships with our customers.”

Contacts at home and abroad
Ruud has many contacts not only with clients, but also with external parties. For example, with insurance companies, if a boat has suffered damage. “In addition, I am in close contact with our Linssen service partners at home and abroad,” says Ruud. “They too carry out work for us to the Linssen quality standard.” And then, of course, there is the ‘Linssen Boating Holidays’ (LBH) concept: throughout Europe, you can hire a Linssen yacht from the LBH charter companies. “They engage aftersales to make sure their rental fleet is always in peak condition. This is often a priority for us, as the ultimate experience of a Linssen charter yacht can bring us potential buyers in the long run.”

Very satisfying
“The aftersales work is extremely varied and international, which is what I love. At times, it is quite hectic and stressful. But being able to solve customers’ problems is very satisfying. What is also nice is that Linssen Yachts is a real family business. That’s why I deliberately chose it at the time. You’re not a number here, but part of the family. There is consideration for employees, even if something is going on at home. It’s hard work, but we help each other where necessary.”

From his own experience
Ruud lives with Lianne and her two daughters (aged 21 and 23) in Venlo, where he was born and raised. His son (23) is serving as a marine in the Royal Dutch Navy. In his spare time Ruud can still often be found on the water and is a board member of a water scouting association for young people. “I just really like water sports. That’s why we have our own boat. An additional advantage of this is that I can put myself in customers’ shoes. I often speak from my own experience. I’ve noticed that customers appreciate that. Nice, right?”


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