Everyone and their uncles would like to believe they serve “clients”. Customers are so old school and tacky, not nearly as refined as hoity-toity clients. Spare me.
Lawyers and accountants serve clients. Medical professions serve patients. Retailers serve consumers. The arts have patrons. Information technology serves users. Practically everyone else serves good, old-fashioned, customers. If we’re describing a group of customers it may be acceptable to refer to them, collectively, as clientele.
The real rub, for me, is the elevated, special status we’re trying create for ourselves when we describe our customers as “clients”. It’s not about great customer service; it’s about projecting an exclusive image. Even pedicurists believe they have clients. They’re washing other people’s feet, does it get more basic? I suppose it could, but then the client becomes a john.
As a self-employed micro business owner, I’m eliminating clients from the marketing semantics. I much prefer good, old-fashioned, paying customers.