1 Introduction to customers, consumers and clients
This section looks in more detail at what we mean by ‘customers’ and how they are different from ‘consumers’ and ‘clients’. It considers all external and internal stakeholders as customers, consumers or clients of a marketing activity. So, an internal stakeholder might be the consumer of a service performed by another department in the same organisation. This is the case when staff of an organisation are consumers of the stationery and other equipment purchased by the purchasing department. The key differences discussed in this reading are between those stakeholders who buy a product or service (the customers) and those who use it (the consumers). Customers and consumers may be the same or different people. Note what distinguishes a customer from a client and the different kind of relationship each has with a service provider. In your own work context, when are you a consumer, a customer and a client? Who are your consumers, customers and clients?