Customer – Definition and Meaning

The term “customer” refers to the consumer as the person or company who is a person or company that purchases, consumes, or receives products or services and has the option of choosing between various products and providers. Any commercial enterprise’s

primary objective is to draw customers and encourage them to purchase the items they offer for sale. They also aim to inspire customers to return. The most important aspect of all marketing is having a knowledge of what the customer wants and what they value.

We usually refer to customers who are in a relationship with the provider as customers. Additionally, those who contract a professional’s professional services are considered clients, not consumers. A lawyer, for instance, has clients.

The seller quickly concentrates on the next item if a buyer purchases something. But, it is important to maintain the relationship when it comes to a customer.

In many instances, the client-supplier relationship is like the relationship of a partnership. This doesn’t usually be the case with customers.

Businesses that focus on their customers

Most business professionals agree with the saying “Customers are always right in all things,” because happy customers buy products which makes them more likely to return. A business that places customers as its primary goal is called a customers-focused business.

Also, customer-centric businesses don’t have products or sales as the company’s primary focus.

Since the beginning of the century, increasing numbers of businesses have been completely customer-centric. This is due to the advent of online and e-commerce.

Online sellers keenly monitor their interactions with their clients, frequently soliciting feedback. They collect data about their customers on their websites and buying patterns. Sellers on the internet do this because they wish to enhance their shopping experience.

Sellers online try to customize their offerings to the requirements and preferences of their clients.

Consumer and customer

Customers are frequently also consumers. Also, they are the primary consumers. The words ‘customers’ and consumers mean the same thing when the person who purchases an item also consumes or utilizes it.

Contrary to vendors and resellers are generally (but usually not) the ultimate consumers of any product or service they’ve purchased.

While the two terms are alike, they have an essential distinction. Customers are people, businesses, individuals, or other entities who purchase products and services.

If customers consume their purchases as consumers, they also become consumers. To classify anyone as consumer, there has to be some form of consumption or use.

Sometimes consumers and customers are not always the same. For instance, if I purchase baby food, I am the consumer; however my daughter is the one who consumes it. She eats the food, not me.

We also employ the term “ultimate consumer” to indicate what the final road lies for the product or service.

Categories of customers

There are many kinds of customers:


B2C stands for Business-to-Customer. For example, if I purchase a cup of coffee from a stall in an airport station it’s B2C-related.


The term stands for Business-to-Business. For instance, if the proprietor of the coffee stand buys coffee from a vendor and both are business.


C2B stands for Customer-to-Business. For instance, if I decide to sell my gold rings to a pawnbroker or retail store for jewelry.


C2C stands for Customer-to-Customer. For instance, if I’m looking to sell my vehicle privately to someone else. eBay is a major C2C and B2C marketplace.

In the 21st century , customers are typically classified into two kinds:

An Entrepreneur as well as a the trader (sometimes an Intermediary for commercial transactions) A dealer who buys goods to resell.

An end-user or the ultimate customer who is not able to resell the products purchased however is the actual purchaser or an agent like an Purchasing Officer for the buyer.

A consumer may or may not be a buyer However, the two terms differ. [5][1] A consumer buys products; a buyer consumes the items. A final customer might be also a consumer. However, they may have bought goods for another person to consume. A customer who is intermediate is not any kind of consumer. [ The situation is a bit complicated given the sense that the ultimate purchasers of industrial products and services (who include organizations such as manufacturers, government agencies and educational and medical institutions) are either the ones who consume the items and services they purchase, or integrate them into other items which means they are technically consumers too. But they aren’t often identified as such, but are more commonly referred to as industrial consumers and business-to-business customers. [5] In the same way, those who purchase services instead of products are not often referred to as customers. [1]

Six Sigma doctrine places (active) customers against two different classes comprising noncustomers and noncustomers. customers:

Customers of a particular business have been actively interacting with the business for an extended period contingent on the item sold.

Noncustomers are usually former customers who have no longer customers, or prospective customers who prefer to connect with the competitors.

noncustomers are those who are in completely different market segment.

Geoff Tennant, a Six Sigma consultant from the United Kingdom, uses the following analogy to explain what the difference is The customer of a supermarket is the person who purchases milk from that particular supermarket; the noncustomer purchases milk from a rival retailer, whereas a customer does not purchase milk from supermarkets in any way however “has milk delivered to the door in the traditional British way”. [88.

Tennant also categorizes customers in another way that is employed with the marketing fields.[9] While marketers, market regulation, and economists use the intermediate/ultimate categorization, the field of customer service more often[quantify] categorizes customers into two classes:

An organization’s external customers are not directly connected to the company. outside customers for an organisation is not directly tied to the company. [9][10]

Internal customers are internal client who is directly associated with an organization and is typically (but not always) internal to the company. Internal customers typically include employees, stakeholders, or shareholders, but the definition includes creditors as well as outside regulators. [11][10]

Arguments against the word “internal customers

Before introducing the notion of an internal customer, external customers were,, customers.[citation needed] Quality-management writer Joseph M. Juran popularized the concept, introducing it in 1988 in the fourth edition of his Quality Control Handbook (Juran 1988).[12][13][14] The idea has since gained wide acceptance in the literature on total quality management and service marketing;[12] and many organizations as of 2016 recognize the customer satisfaction of internal customers as a precursor to, and a prerequisite for, external customer satisfaction, with authors such as Tansuhaj, Randall & McCullough 1991 regarding service organizations which design products for internal customer satisfaction as better able to satisfy the needs of external customers.[15] Research on the theory and practice of managing the internal customer continues as of 2016 in various service-sector industries.[16][17][need quotation to verify]

The most renowned authors of marketing and management, such as Peter Drucker, Philip Kotler, W. Edwards Deming and W. Edwards Deming. The authors have not utilized the concept of “internal customer” in their writings. They see”the “customer” as a very particular role in society that plays a significant role in the relation between demand and supply. The most crucial qualities of a good customer is that they are never subordinate to any supplier; every customer is in a position of equal standing with the supplier during negotiations, and all customers are able to accept or decline any offer to purchase an item or service. Peter Drucker wrote, “They are all people who can say no, people who have the choice to accept or reject what you offer. ”

Contrary to the nature of the customer, relations among colleagues within a company depend on employees’ subordination, whether indirect or direct. Companies’ employees must adhere to their respective companies’ policies. Employees of companies do not have the power to choose a particular unit or colleague to complete any task. The company employees are obliged to choose a colleague from an existing group according to the organization’s structure and approved processes, so internal relationships cannot be considered an alternative.

A lot of authors in ITIL or Six Sigma methodologies define “internal customer” as an internal aspect of a business that utilizes the outputs of a different part of the company as an input. In reality this definition is more of the traditional internal process than an interaction between a buyer and an external supplier. Peter Drucker considers that there aren’t any customers in organisations. He stated that “Inside an organization, there are only cost centers. The only profit center is a customer whose check has not bounced. ” [19Then, he says that there are no customers. Furthermore, William Deming advises managers in his 9th-point that they should “Break up walls between the departments. They should be part of in a team”, [20] this means that there must be teams in a business not a relationship between a customer and a supplier. Another reason, is that even ITIL methodology acknowledges that “the phrase “colleague” may be more appropriate for describing how two groups in the company are connected to each other. “.[21]