Paul Watts, Octavian Vaults Custodian
Describing himself as a “people person”, Paul Watts was the ideal choice as new Octavian Vaults Custodian. With a career history at Octavian extending back to 2001 – encompassing roles within customer service, accounts, and HR – Paul has plenty of relevant experience.
Over the last 13 years Paul has witnessed much progress at Octavian. “Technology has played a big part in our modernisation. The whole world of IT has moved on and we’ve hopefully kept pace with it, but culturally I’d say the company has changed too. Today we’re far more dynamic. There’s a lot of new blood helping to drive the business forward and it can only bode well for the future.”
Paul is clearly enjoying his remit as the first point of contact for Octavian Vaults customers. “It’s a diverse role,” he explains, “spanning the whole range, from dealing with general telephone enquiries about a stock code, to offering advice on opening an account and explaining the benefits of storing with us.”
Paul’s approach is to treat all customers with the same level of personal attention and care, irrespective of the size of their wine collection. “In my book, someone with six bottles should enjoy the same experience as someone with hundreds of cases,” he explains. “You do build up a rapport quite quickly, especially with the more active customers,” Paul has discovered since taking on the role. It’s that aspect he most enjoys, and he describes himself as “something of a customer service veteran” gaining helpdesk experience during his 17 years in the Ministry of Defence. “I’m comfortable with people,” he asserts.
“It matters that I’m looking after someone’s prized possessions, and representing a prestigious name in the wine business. If I were a customer myself I’d like the fact that there is someone specific they can always contact. I’m almost like a rep for them. I’m also enjoying the diversity of my new role. Anything can crop up and that keeps you fresh. It can be quite forensic, investigating the history of cases for example. I’m currently getting to grips with the new operating system, which is helping, and there’s constant training. The idea is to have multi-skilled people.”
Working amidst fine wines for so many years has proved intoxicating for Paul. “It does draw you in. I enjoy drinking wine, and find myself reading about it at home and picking up knowledge. I even did the WSET® foundation course and found that really interesting. It’s not just a box on a shelf like in other warehouses. And it’s a good topic of conversation at dinner parties!”
“You come to realise that looking after fine wine is a science,” he concludes. And we like to think that Paul has looking after the wine’s owners down to a fine art.