Difference Wiki

Customer vs. Client: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 22, 2023
A customer buys goods or services, often on a one-time basis. A client seeks professional advice or services, usually over an extended period.

Key Differences

A customer typically refers to someone who makes a purchase, be it a product or a service. They might not have a long-term or continuous relationship with the business. For instance, when you go to a supermarket and buy groceries, you're a customer. On the other hand, a client is generally someone who seeks professional services or advice and tends to have an ongoing relationship with the service provider. Think of lawyers or consultants – their "customers" are more appropriately termed "clients" because of the prolonged and specialized nature of the relationship.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023
Another distinction lies in the depth of the relationship. A customer usually engages in a transactional interaction. They receive a good or service in exchange for payment. Once the transaction is complete, the relationship may end unless the customer decides to make another purchase. A client, in contrast, typically has a deeper, more personalized relationship with the service provider. This might involve trust, regular communication, and a tailored service.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023
In terms of dependency, customers might have numerous options to choose from and can easily switch to another provider if they find a better deal or are dissatisfied with their purchase. Clients, however, often depend more heavily on their service provider, given the specialized nature of the services they receive.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Comparison Chart

Nature of Relation

Transactional
Prolonged and specialized
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Duration

Short-term or one-time
Long-term or ongoing
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023
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Depth of Interaction

Basic exchange of goods or services
Deeper, more personalized interaction
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Choice & Dependency

Can easily switch providers, many options available
Heavier dependency, fewer alternatives due to specialization
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Example

Someone buying a coffee at a café
Someone hiring an attorney for legal representation over several months
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Customer and Client Definitions

Customer

A person or organization that buys products from a store or business.
The shop owner greeted the regular customer warmly.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Client

Someone under the patronage, protection, or care of another.
The counselor had several clients seeking advice on personal issues.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 22, 2023
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Customer

A person one has to deal with in a specific context.
As a teacher, every student is a potential customer.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Client

A computer or device that accesses services from another computer system.
The client software connects to the server to retrieve data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Customer

An individual receiving a particular service.
The internet company has over a million customers.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Client

A customer, especially one engaging the services of a professional.
The advertising agency landed a big client last month.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 22, 2023

Customer

A person who purchases goods or services.
The customer paid for her groceries and left the store.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 22, 2023

Client

A person or organization using the services of a professional person or company.
The lawyer met with his client to discuss the case.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 22, 2023

Customer

Someone who frequently buys from a particular seller.
She's a loyal customer of that boutique.
Sara Rehman
Oct 22, 2023

Client

A person being represented in a legal or professional matter.
The therapist ensured confidentiality for her client.
Harlon Moss
Oct 22, 2023

Customer

One that buys goods or services, as from a store or business.
Sumera Saeed
Apr 22, 2019

Client

The party for which professional services are rendered, as by an attorney.
Sumera Saeed
Apr 22, 2019

FAQs

Is a person buying a book from a bookstore a customer or client?

They are a customer.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Can a business have both customers and clients?

Yes, depending on the nature and range of services/products they offer.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Can a person be both a customer and client to the same business?

Yes, depending on the types of interactions and transactions involved.
Janet White
Oct 22, 2023

Is every client also a customer?

Not necessarily, but a client can be considered a specialized type of customer.
Janet White
Oct 22, 2023

Does a customer always make a purchase?

Typically, yes, a customer engages in buying goods or services.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

In what context might a student be considered a customer?

When referring to those they interact with or "serve", like teachers or institutions.
Harlon Moss
Oct 22, 2023

Are the terms more prevalent in certain industries?

Yes, "client" is common in professional services, while "customer" is used in retail.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Which word indicates a more prolonged relationship, customer or client?

Client indicates a more prolonged relationship.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

If I hire a consultant for a year-long project, am I a customer or client?

You are a client.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Can the terms customer and client be used interchangeably?

Sometimes, but not always. Context matters.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 22, 2023

In IT, what does a client refer to?

It refers to a computer or device accessing services from another system.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 22, 2023

Do clients generally require more personalized services than customers?

Yes, clients often receive more tailored and specialized services.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 22, 2023

Who generally has a broader range of choices, a customer or client?

Customers typically have a broader range of choices.
Harlon Moss
Oct 22, 2023

Which term, customer or client, emphasizes a deeper trust?

Client often implies a deeper trust and relationship.
Harlon Moss
Oct 22, 2023

Is a bank account holder a customer or client?

They can be referred to as both, but "customer" is more commonly used.
Janet White
Oct 22, 2023

Can a software application have clients?

Yes, in tech terminology, applications accessing services from other apps are "clients".
Sara Rehman
Oct 22, 2023

In a restaurant, are diners customers or clients?

They are usually referred to as customers.
Harlon Moss
Oct 22, 2023

If someone buys a one-time legal consultation, are they a customer or client?

They can be considered both, but "client" is more appropriate due to the professional context.
Janet White
Oct 22, 2023

Do businesses value customers and clients differently?

Both are valuable, but the relationships and strategies might differ.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023

Do businesses use the terms to indicate levels of loyalty?

Not explicitly, but "client" often suggests a more consistent and ongoing relationship.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 22, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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