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April 1, 2022

Why you really don’t need more customers

The real difference between a customer and a client

You really don’t need more customers, seriously. What you need are more clients.

On the face of it, customer/consumer/client means the same, doesn’t it?

But there’s a nuance, and that can make all the difference to how you attract the right business to you.

Right off the bat, I hate the word consumer in anything. We’re fucking the planet up enough by consuming everything. Consumers remind me of locusts … and there’s nothing redeeming about locusts.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s focus on the nuance between customers and clients.

In my view, a customer is someone who buys a product or service from your company. A client is someone who is under your protection.

When we see customers:

  • We have predatory attention. We’re hunting them.
  • We don’t look at them as human but as data on an Excel spreadsheet. How many units did we sell this month. How near are we to our targets.
  • Customers are a means to our end. Turnover. Profits. This is what we’re taught in business schools aren’t we … a business is there to make a profit for its owners and shareholders.These are the same business schools that teach us the employees are a resource to get a result. No wonder most employees are disengaged from the work they do. Seriously, how would you feel if someone called you a resource to get a result. A resource implies that it can be used up. How does it feel to be used up and discarded. I think it feels shit and I wouldn’t be keen to work for a company that uses me for its own ends. I want to feel that I’m important and a human being in the whole equation and that I’m cared for and safe.
  • When we look at customers, often we focus on doing things right, not on doing the right things.
  • When we have customers, it is about us and our needs, and not theirs.

When we see clients:

  • We have receptive attention – we listen to what they need and figure out if we can really help them.
  • We do the right things all the time for the clients’ highest good (even if it means referring them to a competitor because that is in their best interest).
  • We don’t talk about reaching targets. We talk about reaching hearts. “How many clients can we reach today so that we can make their lives better?” I think that’s a more congruent and heart-centred way to deal with clients.
  • We’re heart-centred, kind, compassionate and caring
  • We protect our clients and give them a safe pair of hands to help them over the finish line.

I think it is more helpful to use the word client than customer. Bring in a culture of heart-centredness. Give your client a safe pair of hands. If you do this, you’ll be able to build the hardest thing to get from any client: TRUST.

I’m facilitating a workshop called The Courage To Be Visible which speaks to this article and a whole lot more. Check it out.

One Comment on “Why you really don’t need more customers

Rob
April 9, 2022 at 9:31 am

Hi Jacques

Best clear distinction I’ve ever read between client and customer

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