Difference Between Client and Customer

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 21, 2022


Difference Between Client and Customer Difference Between Client and Customer

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In today’s world of trade and commerce, it is not uncommon to come across words like client and customers. While a client refers to a person who purchases products or pays for services or activities (for instance any professional like doctor, engineer, lawyer etc.) On the other hand, a customer is a person who obtains a commodity, resource, item, or concept from a salesperson, dealer, or manufacturer in exchange for money or some other useful contribution. Although they have evolved to signify the same in everyday usage, there is indeed a substantial distinction between the two.

Client Vs Customer

The major difference between a client and a customer is that a client is a person who requires a corporate practitioner or firm to provide quality services but a customer is a person who desires to purchase products and services from a store or supermarket.

The roots of words also reveal the distinction between a customer and a client. For instance, the term "client" dates back to the 1400s in Middle English and is connected to the term "customs" or "conventions" as a manner of doing different activities. The term "client," on the other side, was also in Middle English, but it dates back much longer. It comes from the Latin word "cliens", which signifies "reliant" or "acolyte," highlighting the contrast in the relation between the two.

Difference Between Client and Customer in Tabular Form

Table: Client Vs Customer
Parameters of Comparison
A client is someone who utilises the professional advice or the services of different professionals such as lawyers, doctors, engineers and so on.
A customer, in business terms, is a person who purchases or buys commodities or services from any other institution or organization.
A client looks for stability and professional service. They often have much more demands compared to customers.
A customer usually looks for the affordable price of the goods and services. Unlike clients they have a comparatively lower demand.
Relation with the Organization
Clients generally have long term relations with the associated institution or organization.
Customer’s relationship with the associated organization is short-termed.
Accounting firms, real estate agencies, law firms, insurance agencies, advertising or marketing firms, design studios and so on.
Retail shops, restaurants, banks, amusement parks, grocery shops, supermarkets, subscription-based companies and so on.
Clients are given more attention since their relationship with the company is for a longer period.
Customers are given less attention compared to clients since their relationship with the company is short and also they do not have any professional relationship with the providers.
Since client engages in a long term relationship therefore both the sides need a formal agreement between them.
The customer, as he/she makes only one-time purchase needs no formal agreement between them and the organization.
More longevity since they try to build a permanent relationship with the organization.
Less longevity because they do not rely on long term relationships. The organization or the institution just seeks to score one-time sale.
Personal Attention
Highly required.
Less required.
The company focuses on providing services.
The company focuses on selling goods and services.
The corporation has a legal responsibility to the client.
The customer’s engagement with the firm is only for contract or transaction purposes.

Who is a Client?

The term client relates to an individual with which the corporation handles things. He is an individual who is a beneficiary of resources. First and foremost, the client enters into a contract with the organization, resulting in a contractual relationship between the two parties. If the customer is happy with the professional's assistance, the transitory connection might grow into a devoted and lengthy partnership. A client is a more 'professional' or 'formal' version of a consumer. This is because a client is concerned with more particular types of transactions, notably commodities. Clients often have a longstanding tradition with the supplier. This is because they have been working together for a prolonged period to accomplish the needed and expected benefits for a universally acceptable aim.

The client is particularly given more attention since their needs are greater than those of a consumer. The client also operates for a lengthy period and hence, makes more money than a purchaser. The customer only contacts the supplier on a routine basis, as and when necessary and requested by the vendor. For all of these considerations, clients receive somewhat more personal attention than customers.

The client is also someone who seeks professional quality service, talent or guidance, such as judicial benefits delivered by an attorney, certified public accountant, adviser, insurance salesman, advertising firm, fashion photographer, design professional, and so on. In some cases, clients are so sometimes referred to as long time consumers.

Types of Clients

There are various types of clients. Some of them are described as follows:

  • Efficient clients: these types of clients keep their communications short and to the point. They are highly maintained and typically know their preferences of services.
  • Urgent clients: they sometimes seek short deadlines for their merchandise. These clients may be concerned about being late with their transactions or initiatives, and they may want to simplify the firm faster than their capabilities could allow.
  • The grasshopper client: they jump from one notion to the next with no real justification. One may find it extremely difficult to bring them to the table, and narrowing the project down into smaller or to a single point of concentration might be far more difficult. 
  • Unresponsive clients: these type of clients do not responds to any calls or e-mails for days, weeks or even months at a stretch. After a long gap, when such clients reappear, they might show they have greater urgency and demand any meetings or projects to happen as soon as possible.
  • Empathetic clients: these types of clients are very empathetic towards fellow beings in any organization. They enjoy social interactions and provide others with only positive feedback. These types of clients may also find it hard to say no to anyone and might struggle to either give or receive positive criticism.
  • Clients who have a personal relationship:  Although the firm has professional interactions with its clients, one may occasionally work with people who have close connections to the firm. These clients may have personal or professional ties with someone could be a colleague or a corporate executive. While personal relationships might provide certain commercial rewards, they can also generate working obstacles. 
  • The Interrogator: these types of clients can drain one’s energy by asking different types of questions at one go. They act that they are simply aiming to be a more informed client to the firm so that they know about the history of the person they are working for or the organization’s history.
  • The Nit-Picker: these types of clients would never be happy with anything or any of the work and will constantly pick on minor details here and there that they dislike and want to be changed. This might be because they may have been fired previously from other projects and are now not satisfied with anything coming their way.

Other types of clients apart from the above-mentioned ones are:

  • Indecisive clients.
  • Trendy clients.
  • Clients who work overtime.
  • Unrealistic clients.
  • The VIP clients.
  • Clients who are always concerned about security.
  • The clients always have negative feedback.
  • The dream client.
  • The micromanager.
  • The Scornful Saver.
  • Clients who work on committees.
  • Clients are concerned with costs etc.

Who is a Customer?

A customer is someone who purchases commodities or services from a retailer, company, or institution. The customer is more sensitive to the quality of the goods they are purchasing than to the services delivered by the enterprise. The term "customer" comes from the Latin phrase "custom," which simply means "practice." In other terms, a consumer or a customer is someone accustomed to purchasing items on a constant schedule.

Generally speaking, there are different kinds of customers: intermediate customers (those who buy products intending to redistribute them) and ultimate customers (those who are the final consumer of the commodity as well as those who transport the goods to the potential purchaser).

Customers do not establish long-term relationships with the enterprises from which they shop. This means that the entire selling process is often quick. Of course, businesses may and should cultivate positive relationships with their consumers, but because they aren't reliant on just one or two individuals, they can concentrate on other aspects of their business. Because individuals lack a solid occupational tie, salespeople frequently deceive the customer with adulation. The vendor isn't preoccupied with the predicted outcomes of consumers, but rather with clients. They are more concerned about profit. Because the firm has a large number of consumers, the vendor does not continue to work closely with them. The loss or acquisition of a customer makes no impact on the firm or its profitability. The consumer can use facilities such as a grievance mailbox and review panels to provide suggestions for better operations to the vendor, but the supplier is not contractually bound to engage or react to the same.

Types of Customers

There are different types of customers just like different types of clients. They are as follows:

  • The lookers: these consumers only browse through different goods and services probably for understanding the competition in the market. Despite being very indecisive while choosing to purchase any item or product, they show keen eagerness and interest in the goods or services that the company offers for sale. They do this just to know the price so that they may be able to compare them with the other competing agencies out there.
  • Active customers: these customers are actively using a company’s products or services and are quite active in giving feedback and stuff. Though they are active in praising, they are also active in criticising. This means active clients are inclined to shift if business opponents provide a cheaper deal. As a result, instead of disregarding them because they already utilize the products, it is rather important to nourish them properly.
  • Angry customers: Whether they're having a poor day or have dealt with much the same problem quite so many times before, it is necessary to deal with politeness with some unfriendly consumers. As tough as this group might be to manage, one should always keep in mind that they are angry for a reason. Having a plan in place for responding to unhappy customers may have a massive effect. If a consumer is being nasty or harsh, it is better not to take it personally and realize that they most likely perceive the individual as just another gear in a system that has already brought them a multitude of troubles. Developing overall compassion abilities may be highly beneficial when coping with angry consumers.
  • New customers: New customers are those who have just made their first purchase. They are still trying to understand the firm’s product and therefore, need guidance. This is the stage where the company or the manufacturing firm can make a lasting first impression.
  • Advocate customers: by far, these advocate customers are the most important and beneficial for any business firm or institution. They are highly predictable. They are not just loyal or lifetime consumers, but they are also the label's ardent supporters. They talk about the product's performance whenever they have the opportunity. And they've also already recommended the organization's name to several consumers.

Apart from these, the other types of customers are:

  • Insistent customers
  • Loyal customers
  • Lapsed customers
  • Researchers
  • Bargain hunters
  • Confused customers
  • Curious customers

Main Differences Between Client and Customer In Points

  • A client is someone who utilises the professional advice or the services of different professionals such as lawyers, doctors, engineers and so on. On the other hand, A customer, in business terms is a person who purchases or buys commodities or services from any other institution or organization.
  • Clients are given more attention since their relationship with the company is for a longer period. Whereas, Customers are given less attention compared to clients since their relationship with the company is short and also they do not have any professional relationship with the providers.
  • The customer services are more profit-oriented than the service provided to a client.
  • There is an opportunity for the customer to give feedback through various feedback forms or review blogs but this facility is not seen in the case of clients.


Thus it is seen that though the terms client and customers are used in similar manners yet there is a significant difference between the two. Clients are for professionals whereas customers are for manufacturing firm and the vendors. Both are very important parts of any organisation or business firms, if handled or dealt with properly can lead the business organization or the industry to flourish and establish its hold in the long run.



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"Difference Between Client and Customer." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 23 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-client-and-customer-164>.

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