The cool night had a mellowing effect on the party and the music had toned down from the ear-splitting levels it was. We three - the last remaining vestiges of the rocking party sat around in my hall talking. It was about three in the morning.. and since my friend's stayed near my house, time was not at all a constraint.
The talk veered to - as almost everyone who comes to my place talks about - why didn't I have a classy LCD TV instead of the basic Philips 21 incher which now graced the space between by floor standing speakers. My friend even went on to suggest good options as well.. the LG LCD TV and the Samsung LCD.. good value for money eh!
Now that got me.
LG, Samsung..Korean companies and Korean companies never being my favourite I went hammer and tongs at him. If he was convinced or not remains a matter of perspective but if you observe the Koreans, they keep gaining market share inspite of their inferior product quality and the better made products from Europe and Japan never really get on in India.
You could ask me why and I could tell you that it was the Indian customer's misplaced notion to associate after-sales service with superior quality.
I could also explain it with the help of this small anecdote:
There was this guy who went to buy a few electronic appliances.. well..to be exact two appliances. A washing machine and a microwave. He went and got himself a basic Siemens washing machine which was priced higher than the most expensive IFBs and the Whirlpools. And chose a LG microwave oven which had colourful LCD displays, some fuzzy logic which could read your mind and a bio something which could heal cuts and wounds if you stood next to it. The Siemens had an on-off button and no displays. Just a red light to let you know that yea the damn machine is working.
He got both installed in his house and watched over them lovingly as they went about their respective jobs. The guy was ecstatic when the LG oven displayed this and that and winked its LCD eyes at him.. with the Siemens he had nothing much to do other than keep staring at the red light.
After a few months, like all new things..including wives.. they lost their novelty value.. The LG machine feeling this lack of attention - like most wives - promptly broke down. What the heck goes the owner and calls that help line number written in big bold letters right across the manual and in almost every other page.. the throaty voice of a female call center exec on the other end cools him down a bit.. yes..it stopped working.. oh no issues..I'll wait.. and next day morning the LG guy is at his door. No problem sir..he says smiling..it will just take a few minutes.. and in an hour.. they are done and the machine is happily flashing its LCD lights. No charge sir.. they announce..its covered under warranty. Our man is now impressed.
The Siemens stands in the corner.. takes all the rubbish he throws at it.. and does its job!
Six months later..
The LG oven goes bust again.. Again the throaty voice on the other end.. the smiling repair man.. no charge sir.. under warranty.
The washing machine..as usual takes in the clothes and cleans it to perfection
13 months later..
LG oven screams again.. throaty voice..smiles.. BUT now.. warranty over sir..a small charge sir.. are you sure it costs this much.. let me check with LG.. throaty voice.. oh ok.. heres the money and keep the change!
Washing machine.. taken for granted now.. keeps washing
15 months later.. you go to meet this dude.. you tell him that you plan to buy a few home appliances.. and you need his advice as he has quite a lot of experience in this matter.. He looks at his microwave and his washing machine.
The washing machine... it soaks, cleans and dries the clothes in exactly the same way it did since the day it was bought!
The microwave flashes its LCDs and lights up the customer care number printed on it..
Ah he tells you.. you know what you should get.. you should go for an LG.. what excellent after sales service they have! You know just last week when it failed...
20 months later..
You do not know Siemens makes washing machines..
You have a house full of LG products..
And you know the LG customer care number by heart!