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Client or customer?

Client or customer?

Client or customer?

(OP)
From school memories, client is more used for lawers matters and customer for industrial matters. But seeing it is indiferrently used to designate a customer, I was wondering if it is another English/US wording stuff or anything else smile

Cyril Guichard
Defense Program Manager
Belgium

RE: Client or customer?

"Patient" is used in the Medical industry...

"Client" is used by other professionals such as lawyers, Engineers, and contractors...

"Customer" does have a retail connotation primarily, but, strictly speaking, a Patient and a Client are also customers.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Client or customer?

Customers buy products.

Clients have contracts.

- Steve

RE: Client or customer?

Customers is taking on a wider meaning or is being used to imply or infer a greater consideration, usually simply as a marketing ploy, and usually meaning nothing at all.

In the UK it is about all that was ever evident of the so called "stakeholder economy".
So, for example, rail passengers suddenly discovered they were "customers" instead of passengers or "the fare paying public".

So be prepared to see any such terms increasingly abused.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: Client or customer?

(OP)
@SomptingGuy : MoDs buy military products through contracts. Client or customer? winky smile

I understand it's only a matter of wording, but I'm just wanting to know what's everyone's opinion on this question smile

 

Cyril Guichard
Defense Program Manager
Belgium

RE: Client or customer?

WE have clients.

Bars have customers.

old field guy

RE: Client or customer?

Just my opinion, but I tend to prefer "client" when imparting a special skill or knowledge along with any goods in the transaction.  Customers only get the goods.


I agree with JMW, though, the marketing people are spreading the word "customer" into areas it has never been before.

Good on y'all,

Goober Dave

RE: Client or customer?

Agree with the above that a "customer" is an unknown entity who buys a product; whereas, a "client" is one who engages a professional service.  As a consulting engineer, we NEVER refer to our clients as "customers".  I've had to correct marketing people on numerous occasions regarding this.

Even the businesses that commonly use the term "customer" usurp other terms to apply to their customers, such as "guest".

To me, "customer" has a nameless, faceless quality to it.  Go through the line, pay your bill, take your bag o' goodies and leave.  A "client" on the other hand, is one to be "engaged"...developing a more personal rapport and interaction.

RE: Client or customer?

Tend to agree with Julian & Ron.

If you are primarily supplying a product then customer sounds reasonable to me.

If you are primarily supplying a service, or a mixture of the two, I'd think client may work better.

However, I don't think this is hard and fast and would take it case by case.

KENAT,

Have you reminded yourself of FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies recently, or taken a look at posting policies: http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Client or customer?

Well, that means to the railways I am a client. An unhappy client, but a client.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com
 

RE: Client or customer?

Sorry, I suppose I was thinking of in an Engineering Context, perhaps I should have explicitly stated that.  Then again this is a forum for engineering professionals, so the questions can surely only pertain to engineering, so I don't need to state that assumption do I?

KENAT,

Have you reminded yourself of FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies recently, or taken a look at posting policies: http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Client or customer?

(OP)
Well, working on Program Management side of the projet, I read in all and every documentation of the project references to "End Customer", even though we are selling him products and services (including product development, training, maintenance, etc...)

I have no issue with the wording customer vs client, I just want to make things clear since I see both of them used on this forum (and English is not my mother language, needless to say)

Cyril Guichard
Defense Program Manager
Belgium

RE: Client or customer?

Speaking only for myself, I tend to think of customers on a transaction by transaction basis.  I think of a client as one who is engaged more on a relationship basis.
 

Good Luck
--------------
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: Client or customer?

We sell technical lamps but also proved valuable engineering help to our customers.  I have never referred to them or heard anyone else say clients.

drawn to design, designed to draw

RE: Client or customer?

The etymology of Client (depending on the source) describes one who is guided and protected by a patron. In some professional cases that still holds true.

Nowadays however, IMO, it's mainly just a class thing. Or put more bluntly ... snobbery. The term Client is used to elevate the customers' and businesses' status to a more 'upscale' sounding term.

Hairdressers in a Salon have clients, Hairdressers in a downtown shop have customers. The difference? About $50.

RE: Client or customer?

Usually I use "customers", its a word used in today's marketing language.

Ibertest Internacional S.A.
http://www.ibertestint.com

RE: Client or customer?

ibertestint,

Discovering that a particular term was to be found in modern marketing language would be an excellent reason to abandon use of the term, in my opinion!   

RE: Client or customer?

My feeling is that if you produce say 1000 of a particular product or service and sell that predefined product then they are a customer.

If they take part in defining the service that they are buying (e.g. a building design) then they are a client.

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