Do you have customers and clients; or all clients, all customers or a mix of customers and clients?
Stability in business is important to the growth and momentum of the business regardless of whether you are running a b2c or a b2b business establishing your core criteria can make a difference.
The Oxford English dictionary defines a customer as a person who buys services from a shop or business, and a client as a person or organization using the services of a Lawyers or other professional person or company. Therefore, Lawyers and Accountant only have clients. However during my career, I have used Lawyers and Accountant on a number of occasions and on some occasions, I have been left with the feeling of being treated as a transacted customer and not a client.
Perhaps the focusing should be on feelings; perhaps a way of a defining customer or clients if you feel that you’re only a customer to be transacted as quickly as possible, consequently there is no requirement on you to apply any loyalty or commitment to that person/business. If as a customer you are treated and feel like you’re being valued as a client where the relationship is important regardless of the transaction size, would you then be more inclined to use that business/service again and recommend it to others?
So, is it really a question of semantics or a question of feelings or ticket value or a relationship, or maybe the 80/20 rule, with the perceived loyalty or commitment offered by clients is seen to lessening the vulnerability of the 80/20 rule?
As a sales mentor, coach and trainer I certainly feel that I have clients my logic being is that I am supplying a professional service based on my knowledge, experience and commitment regardless of whether it is an individual paying for my services or a company. I am in a relationship with them with no defined end date, therefore I feel that I am correct in describing them as my clients.
A recent LinkedIn post by Peter Weinberg mentioned that Amazon biggest customer is Google; undoubtedly Amazon is committed to grow and maintain their business with Google, I am sure Amazon would like their relationship with Google it to be categorised as an infinite relationship rather than an association on a finite journey.
Perhaps the most important component of the question do you have customers or clients is?
How those you serve view themselves.