Better choices & better deals: How to become an empowered customer

As customers, we always want to make sure we get the best deals possible when making a purchase, especially when we spend a large amount of money. But how exactly should you go about becoming a more empowered customer?

The initiative called ‘Better Choices: Better Deals’ was launched by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in April 2011, and you can read the complete document here. The essential aim of the initiative was to put consumers in charge, increasing their power when making decisions in a changing economy, and providing help for the most vulnerable. Most of the information in the document contains good common sense advice, and overall it is aimed at empowering consumers to get better value and better customer service from businesses when they make decisions or request assistance.

The initiative is now a few years old, and it is well worth reading through the document to find out if there is anything that you could be doing differently. After you have read through it, as well as putting the ideas into practice there are a number of simple things that you can do to become a more empowered customer.

vintage shoppingimage source

Always ask questions

Often people feel embarrassed about asking too many questions when they buy a product or service, but you should ask as many questions as you can think of. You can only be an empowered consumer and make the best choices when you know the full story, so don’t assume that what the salesperson says is everything you need to know.

Don’t be put under pressure

Never allow yourself to be put under pressure to buy something. Many salespeople use high-pressure techniques, but you don’t have to fall for them. Only buy when you are really comfortable, and never worry about saying no and walking away.

Use technology to find deals

Mobile phone apps, websites and social media can all be put to use to find a greater number of special offers that may not be on display in the shops. Use the tools available to you to find the best deals and make better decisions.

vintage christmas shoppingimage source

Always compare

It is easy to compare products and services these days. Rather than going from shop to shop, you can simply look online and rapidly find the best deals. For example, you can easily compare energy tariffs by looking for Tariff Information Labels in your area using the web tool from npower. Remember not to just go with the first option you see, and always try and find the better deal.

Know your rights

Always ask about the returns policy and know your rights when you buy something. Knowing the store’s policy can help you to make a more informed decision of whether you want to buy the product in the first place.

Become a more empowered customer

To become a more empowered customer, don’t allow yourself to be pressured into anything, always know exactly what you are buying, and make sure you spend the time searching for the best possible deal, especially with larger purchases. That way you can always ensure you make better choices and get better deals.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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