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Feb 20 2014

Clients vs. Customers

MojoTech is a service company. We’ve always had clients.

Most of our clients are product companies. They have customers.

Now that we’ve launched and are growing Allocate, we have customers, too.

Many people use “client” and “customer” interchangeably, but there is a fundamental difference.

For the service side of MojoTech, our goal is to build long-term relationships with clients who get value from our experience, expertise and guidance as we build great products together.

For Allocate and our clients’ products, our goal is to solve an immediate need with a ready-made solution that the customer will be happy to buy.

We serve our clients, and we sell to our customers.

Both arrangements have value to both parties, but the expectations are different, and neither wants to be treated like the other. That’s important to understand from a business standpoint.

Customers are almost always right. If you’re not solving their problem immediately, then you’ve failed them, and you’re not the right fit for them. You can either change your product if you’re failing too many of your customers, or lose them (which is also fine, as long as you are the right fit for another group of customers).

Clients are not always right, and your job as a service company is to steer them in the right direction. That’s part of what they’re paying you for, and it’s what they expect.

Your job as a business is to know whether you have customers or clients, and then serve or sell them appropriately.

—Nick Kishfy (@kishfy)

Nick Kishfy