Difference Between Client and Customer (With Table)

Client vs Customer

In today’s day and age, with the advancement in the business and service industry, people use clients and customers in a similar fashion.

They although, in colloquial terms, they have come to mean the same, there is quite the difference between both the terms.

The key difference between a client and a customer lies in the fact that a client is someone who wants a professional service from a business professional or enterprise, whereas a customer is someone who wishes to buy the goods and products from a shop or business.

A client is usually someone who has relations with an enterprise for longer periods, whereas a customer always has short relations as they last only until their purchase.

The client is a more formal term of the word customer in a business setting.


Comparison Table Between Client and Customer (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonClientCustomer
DefinitionA client is a person that looks for professional services and advice from a business professional or organization.A customer is a person that buys goods from a shop, store, and organization.
RequirementProfessional advice and guidance.Purchase of required goods.
The time frame of relation with the organizationLongShort
Formal agreementsYes, e.g., deadlines, expected results, responsibilities, etc.No, a one-time purchase needs no agreement.
RelationA strong professional bond to meet expected resultsNone
AttentionMore attention is given as its a long term professional relationship.Less attention given as no professional relationship is sought.


Who is a Client?

A client is someone who pays for the services and advice of a professional or an enterprise. The companies can also be clients of an enterprise or organization.

Clients usually have a long term relationship with the seller. This is because they work for a long time together to meet the required and expected result for a mutually agreed goal.

The client enters into an agreement with the seller before that mentions the terms and conditions of working, the deadlines, agenda, the time frame of achieving expected results, etc.

The agreement also has clauses about termination in any specific scenario. This agreement can be used to take legal steps in any case of breach of the contract.

The client receives more attention as their demands are more than a customer. The client also works for a long time and brings in more profit than a customer.

The client meets the seller repeatedly whenever required and asked by the seller. For all these reasons they are given slightly more attention than the customers.

Companies that are service-centric focuses on the services provided to the clients rather than their goods and products.

An example: when a person seeks legal advice from a lawyer, he is a client of the lawyer.

Client relationship
Client relationship

Who is a Customer?

A customer is someone who buys the goods and products from a shop, store, and organization. The customer values the quality of the product they are buying than the services provided by the company.

The customer has a particularly short relationship with the seller. The customer has relation only until they are in the store to make a purchase.

They don’t require any legal agreement with the seller before making a purchase.

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Their purchase is usually a one-time thing, and hence the seller doesn’t give them his undivided and undisputed attention.

The customer is many times manipulated with flattery by the sellers because they don’t have any strong professional bond.

The seller isn’t concerned with the expected results of the customers as opposed to with clients. They are more profit-centric.

The seller doesn’t maintain relations with customers because the company has many customers.

The loss or gain of a customer doesn’t make much of a difference to the company or the profits made.

The customer has services such as a complaint box and feedback boxes to leave a suggestion for the seller for better services, but the seller isn’t bound legally to act on the same.

An example: a student buying books from a store becomes the customer of the store.

Customer in a shop
Customer in a shop

Main Differences Between Credit Client and Customer

  1. The client is someone who looks for buying the services and advice of an expert or from an enterprise, whereas the customer is the one who purchases products from a shop, store, and organization.
  2. The client is in a long term relationship with the seller as opposed to the short term relationship of the customer with the seller.
  3. The client has a legal agreement with the seller to reach mutually agreed goals, whereas the customer doesn’t have a legal agreement with the seller to make a purchase.
  4. The goals with the client are to provide the proper and authentic advice, whereas a customer is sometimes manipulated to make a purchase with flattery and exaggerations of the usefulness of the product.
  5. A client receives more attention than a customer due to the longevity of their relation.
  6. The customer services are more profit-centric than the services and advice provided to a client.
  7. The customer has the right to services like feedback forms and suggestions, but the client does not.
  8. An example: when buying a product, the person becomes a customer, but the shopkeeper is the client of the franchise of the brand whose product he is selling.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Client and Customer

  1. What is a client with an example?

    A client is a person to whom a company or an organization offers its services or products for his use and in return, the client pays the company for availing those services.

    Example: Accenture offers its IT services to Barclays Bank. So here, Accenture is the service provider and Barclays is the client.

  2. How do you build relationships with clients?

    The relationship building with the client is a long term process. Asking the client about his needs and then delivering the same to him on or before the deadline he has allotted is something that gives strength to the relationship.

    Also giving the client delights one in a while helps in building a strong relationship with the clients.

  3. Are clients customers?

    The customer is someone who goes to a store or a business, asks for a particular product or service and pays to the owner for purchasing that particular service.

    While a client also does the same work, but sometimes it is different from the customer as a customer does not avail of professional services that a client does.

  4. What is a local client?

    A local client is that client who lives in the same city or locality where the company or organization is operating and serving.

    So, from the company’s point of view, they segregate the clients on the basis of the location in which he is living. So, any client living outside the locality or city is the outside client.

  5. What is the opposite of the client?

    A client is a person to whom a company or an organization offers its services or products for his use and in return, the client pays the company for availing those services.

    So, the opposite of a client is the manufacturer or the seller who sells these services to the clients.

  6. How do you build trust with a client?

    To build trust with a client, the deadlines allotted y the client needs to be met without fail. Also, the services and products which are to be delivered to him should be of good quality and without any discrepancies.

    Also, options like after-sales service and free delivery will ensure that trust is built with the client.

  7. How do you handle difficult customers?

    To handle difficult customers, the first and the basic step is to have patience and always keeping a smile on your face.

    Ask the customer humbly that what is the issue that he/she is facing, does he want replacement or refund or anything else.

    Try and cater to the demand of the customer if it is in the bounds of the company policy.

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The terms client and customers, though used in a similar manner, has quite some differences. Both of them are important for the sellers for their profits and business enhancement.

Professional experts have clients, whereas the shopkeepers and businessmen have customers.

The clients have a long term relationship until their result and goal aren’t met, but the customer has a one-time relation and only until their purchase.

The client is bound by one company or enterprise, whereas the customer can explore any number of shops before making a purchase.

The clients are more personally bound to the sellers than the customers. A client can be a customer as well. It’s the more formal term of a customer.


Word Cloud for Difference Between Client and Customer

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Client and Customer. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Client and Customer
Word Cloud for Client and Customer



  1. https://academic.oup.com/bjsw/article-abstract/39/6/1101/1677129
  2. https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000183
  3. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1987-19711-001