It’s the time of year when we are faced with a barrage of advertisements from price comparison websites reminding us of the importance of checking how much we may be able to save if we switch everything from energy providers to mobile phone operators, broadband packages to home insurance.
Whilst there is no doubt that we can get a better deal for many of these just by putting in a little time, the danger is that these advertisements encourage a culture of absolutely no loyalty at all.
And yet there are times when staying loyal can actually be a good thing. Maybe you could pay less by switching provider but would you really be better off? Here are three examples of when it might pay to stay with the same company…
Online grocery shopping
There are two main advantages of doing the weekly shop online. First of all, it minimises the risk of impulse buying that supermarkets encourage in store with all manner of tactics from enticing offers displayed at the end of an aisle to wafting the smell of freshly baked bread from the bakery. Online you just order what you want and head straight to the ultra quick checkout.
The second advantage is that the whole process is meant to save you time (and petrol) but this is where the value of loyalty can come to the fore. Instead of flitting supermarkets online, if you stick with one, it will quickly learn your favourites, meaning you can simply click on all the items you need in a matter of moments. It will also remind you of anything you may have forgotten, thus saving a last minute trip out to the shops during the week. Some supermarkets even offer delivery passes where you pay a monthly fee – usually the price of one delivery – and can then have as many deliveries as you like without having to pay a penny more. This is handy if you suddenly find yourself with a last minute kids’ sleepover to cater for.
It’s all well and good being free and easy with our car, home and other types of insurance. The online comparison sites make these relatively simple for us to change every year so we can be sure we are still getting a good price, rather than allowing our premiums to creep up and up.
But a lot of us rely on our broadband for work – without it, we are lost. And so tread carefully if you are approached by a new provider who may be offering a better deal. Can you be sure they will give you a better service? If the price is tempting, call up your current provider to see if they can match it. They will be very keen to keep you as a customer and offer incentives. A recent call to one broadband provider saw them cutting the monthly cost by half and throwing in a £50 shopping voucher as well. This is a great example of the value of loyalty: a good deal and the reassurance that the same high quality service will continue.
Of course, if you are happy with an insurance provider, you can also phone them up to negotiate the renewal price. But do your research first by going online to see what prices you can get from other companies. It helps if you have a figure for them to beat!
Again, our cars are something we rely upon almost every day and it is important we have great trust in the people who are servicing and repairing them. You can’t beat the feeling of driving away knowing that all is well with your motor once again and hoping that you won’t need to return to the garage until it’s time for an MOT or service.
So why be swayed by another company’s offer of a cheaper service or MOT? It really is a trip into the unknown. We have all experienced the feeling of being hoodwinked by a car mechanic we haven’t used before. Sure, if you feel that your regular one is taking you for a ride, then change them but don’t be quick to switch on the basis of a short term saving. Stay where you are happy and in all likelihood, your regular custom will be getting you a better deal and a better service without you even realising it.