Maybe a silly question but when are you speaking about customer and when are you speaking about clie

Marijn Verdult
Marijn Verdult Member Posts: 33 Thought Leader



  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    100 Comments First Anniversary
    edited June 2020

    Great question!  When I started at my current role we referred to our "clients" but then about 6 months ago we switched to "customers".  IMO I believe the naming could be dependent on the type of relationship you have with your accounts.  In my previous role, the deal sizes were larger and a lot of professional service time was bolted onto the subscription agreement - therefore we talked about "clients".  Today we have a smaller ARR and are trying to align with other SaaS companies with a similar makeup.  CC @Marijn Verdult 

  • Ellisa Feinstein
    Ellisa Feinstein Member Posts: 6 Seeker
    Second Anniversary
    edited June 2020

    It also depends on the industry. When I was a consultant I referred to my customers as "clients"; when I was working in customer success with water utilities & municipalities, we referred to our customers as customers. In these CS roles, which were at SaaS companies, even though these were enterprise level, we didn't offer a lot of professional services, and that is where there may be a difference (with Brian's approach).

  • Kristen Lishman
    Kristen Lishman Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    edited June 2020

    I agree it’s industry dependent, in my experience. Financial services and Advertising, for example, tend toward Client. It’s more formal.

  • Devon Lee
    Devon Lee Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    Third Anniversary Photogenic First Comment
    edited June 2020

    In a previous role we were Customer Success with Customers, we made this adjustment for consistency in how we addressed things within the organization. It was a preference of one of our leaders (who I remember once saying that tech companies have customers, hair salons have clients).

    Where I am now, we refer to ourselves as Clients Success with Clients. This aligns more to the financial industry and again, is something that we are working on making more consistent bot internally and externally. 

  • Gabriel Fallas
    Gabriel Fallas Member Posts: 55 Expert
    edited June 2020

    I second everyone else! 

    We call our b2c clients "members" and we can the b2b "clients" as well as "partners." 


    It really just depends on your industry and even more so your leadership. In my former job our CS director said "customer are what you are in retail, here we're providing a high quality, professional service and they're our clients."