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Michael, Librarian
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 3178
Experience:  20+ years as information professional
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Hello. Im looking for a solid explanation of the difference

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Hello. I'm looking for a solid explanation of the difference between customer and client. Of course, I could look it up in a dictionary, and believe me I have. However, I don't see a real clean-cut division between the two terms. I do a lot of business writing, and I want to make sure that I'm exact when using these terms.

Here's what I do know: a customer generally receives a product and a client generally receives a service. Lawyers have clients, they do not have customers. However, you would use the term "customer service", not "client service". I also think of clients as being corporations whereas customers tend to be individuals. Thanks in advance for your help!
Hello, Thank you for using this service. I wish to introduce myself. I am a Research Librarian with 20+ years of experience.

Spent this morning on your question as I have often wondered the same thing when dealing with library patrons who visit my reference desk at the public library and ask this type of question.

Here are some very good explanations that I have researched from very credible sources:

1. Houston Chronicle offers very clear explanations on business terms that I have found helpful:


2. In terms of business writing:

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