Difference Between Client vs Customer

Difference Between Client vs Customer

A business simply is the engagement of commercial, industrial, or professional activity with the intention of making some financial benefits in the form of profit. Every standard business puts in great effort to make sure their activities are organized and effective enough to attract any of the two categories of buyers.

This article is aimed at analyzing these categories by looking into the difference between customer and client. What exactly do these terms stand for respectively, and how are they different from one another?

Definition of Client

A client is defined as an individual who seeks the professional services of an establishment for the purpose of solving a certain problem. This term has a more professional appeal to it, which is not surprising considering that it is a fiduciary arrangement in a lot of cases.

The term fiduciary means a significant legal duty of one person to another, which requires being ethically bound to act in the best interest of the other party. So, when you are in such a legal relationship with, for example, a therapist, you start off with an agreement to guide the events of the relationship.

If all goes well, it can turn into a long-term agreement. This type of arrangement is common when you are getting the skills, services, or advice of professionals such as lawyers, insurance agents, accountants, fashion designers, ghostwriters, advertising agencies, etc.

One difference between client and customer (out of many others) is that in the case of clients, there is a high level of personal attention from the professional to the buyer. This may most likely involve a series of discussions about the business, calls, emails, transparency, and even personal touches within professional boundaries.

Definition of Customer

A customer is defined as an individual who pays to have the goods and services of a business establishment. This sort of business activity can mostly be related to a simple walk-in store where you can pick what you want and pay for it.

The term “customer” has its origin in Latin. It is derived from the word “custom,” which stands for “practice,” and can be translated to “habitual.” From this perspective, the term can be described as a frequent buyer.

A difference between client and customer can be seen in the two types of customers; they include the following.

  • Intermediate buyers

They purchase goods, usually in large quantities, with the intention of reselling them to the end users.

  • Ultimate buyers

They purchase goods in smaller quantities for their own personal use.

This form of arrangement does not require a legal agreement or long sessions of meetings between the parties with regard to the business. The goods are usually always available. The buyer simply walks in, picks what he or she wants, pays for it, and that is it.

Main Differences Between Client vs Customer

You may still be wondering, “What is the difference between client and customer?” In the table below, you will find some key differences between these terms. You can refer back to it in the future if you come across any questions.

Basis of Comparison ClientCustomer
DefinitionAn individual who seeks the professional services of an establishment for the purpose of solving a certain problemAn individual who pays to have the goods and services of a business establishment
Level of personal attentionHighLow
What is being offeredServicesGoods and services
Main focus in businessOffering as many services as possibleSelling as many goods and services as possible

Difference Between Client and Customer: Conclusion

From what can be said so far, it is evident that these terms are not exactly the same in meaning. Comparing client vs customer brings that to light considering their definitions and other traits in the table above.

Notwithstanding this, it is easy to see why a lot of people incorrectly use both terms interchangeably. A very good example of a complex scenario is paying for a service that does not require going into a legal agreement. As confusing as it might seem, the person engaging in this transaction falls under the customer category because a customer can purchase either goods or services as long as there is no need for a legal agreement.