Differences between Customers and Clients

difference between customer and client

The main difference between a customer and a client is that a customer is a person who buys goods and services from a business or shop, whereas a client is a person who only uses the professional services of a service provider (such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, consultants, etc.). In this article I will further discuss the differences between the two.

In the business world, you may often come across the terms customer and client, which people usually associate with. However, the fact is that they differ in the sense that companies offer both tangible and intangible products to customers, but only intangible products are offered to clients.

Customers are the people who intend to buy the products or services provided by the company or organization, on the other hand, the clients are the people who buy specific instructions, information and solutions that meet their personal needs. Customers generally do not stick to a single company or store that provides products or services, whereas clients customize and personalize services a lot, and close professional terms are created with them for a relatively long period of time.

A customer is a person who buys goods or services from a business (a group of individuals or businesses) on the other hand, a client is someone who engages himself in the services of a professional.

The customer is considered the king in any business because he makes profit for the organization and is the one who decides whether the product or service is up to the mark or not. The client has business dealings with the organization and is the recipient of the service. The client enters into an agreement that results in a trustworthy relationship between the parties. If he is satisfied with the service, a short term relationship can turn into a long term relationship.

Customer Definition

We define customers as people who buy goods and services from businesses, in exchange for monetary considerations. The term customer comes from the Latin term ‘custom’ which means ‘practice’. In other words, the term customer means someone who is used to buying things as often as possible.

In general, there are two types of customers, namely intermediary customers such as those who are involved in purchasing goods with the aim of reselling them and final customers, customers who are end users (consumers) of the product or those who deliver the product to the final consumer.

Read also: Using Customer Perception to Increase Sales

Customers are considered king, in any business because they will make a profit for the organization. They are the ones who decide whether the product or service conforms to the standard or not.

Client Definition

The term client refers to a party that has business dealings with the organization. He is someone who is the recipient of the service. First of all, the client makes an agreement with the organization; which results in a fiduciary relationship between the parties. If the client is satisfied with the service provided by the professional, the temporary relationship can turn into a loyal and long-lasting relationship.

Usually, clients seek professional services, skills or advice from service providers, such as legal services provided by lawyers, accounting services, consultants, insurance agents, advertising agencies, fashion designers, interior decorators and so on. Sometimes long term customers are also referred to as clients.

Key Differences Between Customers and Clients

The important differences between customers and clients can be summarized as follows:

  1. A person who buys goods and services, from a company is known as a Customer. Client refers to someone who seeks professional services from a company.
  2. There is an agency agreement between the client and the service provider. On the other hand, there is no such agreement between the customer and the business entity.
  3. The customer conducts transactions with the company whereas the company and the client are in a fiduciary relationship with each other.
  4. The company focuses on selling products and services to customers. On the other hand, the company focuses on serving the clients.
  5. Companies offer goods and services to their customers. Talk about clients, who are looking for professional services such as advisory, legal, consulting and maybe more.
  6. The level of personal attention required in the case of a customer is less when compared to that of a client.
  7. The relationship between the customer and the business exists only for the short term. However, customers can make repeated transactions but only for a limited time. In the case of a client, the business is involved in a long-term project with the client.


The main difference between the words customer and client is in terms of sales and presentation. There are many examples that can lead you to think that these two entities are different. Both are very important part of the organization as they help the organization to grow and develop in the long term. Businesses must manufacture products according to customer demand and provide services according to client requirements. This will prove beneficial for the company to retain old or new customers and clients.