Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thank you for calling our after-sales division!

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.. 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.. stopped working.. oh no issues..I'll wait.. and next day morning the LG guy is at his door. No problem sir..he says 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 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!


Sams said...

Be careful with what you say.... This is a way of providing employment to people in call centers and the "technician" side ... In case people lose their jobs they will blame this blog and you will have to face the wrath of some political party activists ;-)

kshitij said...

30 months later...

Siemens finally gives up! and our proud owner thinks it needs a touch up, calls up the customer care without any worries and the engineer comes in to have a look!...tries to figure out what went wrong but fails to understand the technology designed by his German colleagues!! finally concludes that sorry sir this is beyond repair now, instead why dont you go for this new model that we have!...

and then, Mr. Owner, "Damn! atleast LG was repairable!...."

Anonymous said...

Is it wise to compare a washing machine with a oven?

While comparing, if am not wrong we got to have basis or similarities on which we can compare. So why do you want to compare a washing machine with a oven?

But good observation anyways......

Thanks :)
AFR (Anonymous Female Reader)

Kool Like Dat said...

@ kshitij - thats the customer mentality we have in India which I was trying to highlight.. it WILL fail and has to be repairable..

@ AFR - as most things in this blog.. this is also a true incident so couldnt use 2 washing machines as people rarely buy 2 washing machines..

@ Sams - I thought u were helping me market this blog!!!

-> to add to this.. went shopping for ovens.. asked which is a good guy said..xx brand.. me asked y..pat comes the reply..excellent customer service.. I rest my case!

Anonymous said...


Then in your terms, if a guy wants to compare his wife, he has to marry another girl n them compare is it???


He compares with his dad's wife, or friend's wife, or some one else!


Compare any two washing machines that's what I meant!

Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Yo Nimalan DJ Paul,

I get back in touch with you like a few eons later, check your blog and here you are making fun of my employer!

No no I'm not going to defend Lucky Goldstar, but let me share some dope on 'a good microwave brand'. It is Panasonic! Yes, they do make MWOs. While they are technologically the best, they still have dismal market share because of one simple reason - service!

You see home appliances are rather tricky. I'm not saying that they have a mind of their own - but what I mean is that their usage is so varied and dependent on the owner, that the poor things never have the ideal working environment. More so in India with all the heat, dust and misuse. Thus service is always and always a concern for the buyer, which these Korean companies understand rather well.

As for Jap and German products they come with a bag of worms too! My Sony Home Theater hasn't stopped giving me head-aches and the service center urges me to protect the damn thing from dust, from dust in India, from dust in North India - pray how????