I read a lot about the difference between customer and client. There have been a myriad of answers, and the most common thing I could find is the one that matches Hellion's answer here:

Client - ongoing relationship with the seller.

If you go to the store to buy a box of matches, you're just a customer, but if you always go to that store because you know you'll get good service and good prices, you're a client.

Now the question

I have heard many people say:

Take care of him, he's our regular customer


Can a customer be loyal or regular?

If they can be, they are no more customers but clients!

Furthermore, is this sentence correct (or redundant)?

He's our regular client!

  • COCA comes up with 16 instances of 'regular client' and 80 for 'regular customer'.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 7:21
  • 1
    To me, one main difference between customer and client is we need to keep some kind of account or bookkeeping for each of our important clients. Anyone who buys our products or services can be called a customer. I never saw myself as a client of 7-11 even though I'm one of their regular customers. Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 15:07

3 Answers 3


Client and customer are no longer distinguished in the way they once were.

As recently as fifty years ago, client was still by and large reserved for people who sought advice from ‘professionals’ such as attorneys and architects. At that time client still reflected, even if only very dimly, the original Latin sense of the word as “one who is under the protection of” a patron. A client was someone who benefited from the professional’s learning and knowledge, while a customer was someone who had a purely commercial relationship with a tradesperson.

In this context, the term client acquired an honorific character. It flattered the person rendering services because it imputed a ‘professional’ degree of expertise; it also flattered the person who purchased the services because it imputed a degree of wealth and status—a person who routinely consults professionals is clearly someone above the common run of customers. And it happily set both at some distance from the vulgarity of commerce.

In consequence, from the last half of the 19th century, businesses of all sorts started referring to their customers as clients—‘exclusive’ tailors and hairdressers, grocers, insurance agents, even bookmakers (now calling themselves ‘turf accountants’). And since it is mostly businesspeople who talk about the relationship between buyer and seller, that use has gradually extended into ordinary speech.

The upshot is that today there is no difference whatever between customers and clients—they are the same people. Instead, customer is used when you wish to focus on the financial aspect of the relationship, client when you wish to focus on the personal service rendered.


The line between "customer" and "client" has certainly blurred, but I think there is still a leaning towards a customer being someone who purchases, and a client being someone with an ongoing, more personal relationship with the business in question, and usually more in relation to services than products. Rarely would an architect describe their clients as "customers", while a retail store describing "clients" is likely to be a more high-end store, or one that wants to elevate the value of their "customers", or otherwise be speaking in wider terms: perhaps Walmart head office would talk about "clients", while Walmart store staff would talk about "customers". The choice is a free one, but there remain subtle differences that inform the speaker's choice of wording, based on the earlier, much stronger distinctions.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by asking "Can a customer be loyal or regular?", but I will point out that there is a difference in value again: a regular customer would be someone who frequents a store, while a loyal customer would be someone who stands up for the store, for example, they continue to frequent the store despite the store going through hard times and having to reduce stock while raising prices. This might drive away regulars, but the particularly loyal will stick by them!

A loyal customer could certainly be "upgraded" to a client, to the store owner's mind, in that there is an implied relationship between the customer and the staff, and a stronger desire for staff to "look after" the customer. A casual customer, or even a regular one, might continue to be regarded as a "customer".


"customer"=someone who buys goods or services from a store,company etc.

"regular customer"is correct.It means he often does his shopping from there.

"client"=someone who pays for services or advice from a professional person,such

as a lawyer or architect ,or from a company or organization.

If loyal is used ,it means that he supports or likes their services or ideas for

advice .

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