From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishcustomercus‧tom‧er /ˈkʌstəmə $ -ər/ ●●● S1 W1 noun [countable] 1 BBTBUYsomeone who buys goods or services from a shop, company etc We aim to offer good value and service to all our customers. We’ve had several letters from satisfied customers.customer service/care Many of the banks offer a poor level of customer service. He’s one of our regular customers.best/biggest/largest customer (=the person or company who uses a shop or company the most)2 → awkward/tricky/tough etc customerCOLLOCATIONSADJECTIVES/NOUN + customer a regular customerMy business quickly built up a base of regular customers.a good customer (=who buys a lot from you, or uses your service a lot)Good products attract good customers.a major/big/large customer (=who is important and buys a lot)America is a big customer for Japanese goods.a loyal customer (=who has been a customer for a long time)Some of our loyal customers have been coming here since the store opened.a satisfied customer (=who is pleased with your goods or service)Satisfied customers will return again and again.a potential/prospective customer (=who might become a customer in the future)It’s very important to establish contact with potential customers.a business customer (=customers that are businesses)the bank’s major business customersexisting customers (=that you already have)We want to improve our service for both new and existing customers.verbsdeal with a customer (=do business with or talk to a customer)He has a lot of experience in dealing with customers.serve a customerEvery day the shop serves around 800 customers.attract customers (=get more customers)The Internet is a great way to attract new customers.keep/retain customersKeeping prices low helps to retain customers.lose a customerThe company has lost some big customers in the last two years.customer + NOUNcustomer service/care (=serving and looking after customers)Our aim is always to raise the level of customer service.customer relationsStaff are given training in customer relations.customer satisfaction (=how pleased customers are)The firm carried out a survey of customer satisfaction.customer demand (=the amount of something customers want to buy or use)It’s important to respond quickly to changing customer demand.customer complaintsMy job is to handle customer complaints and enquiries. THESAURUScustomer someone who buys goods or services from a shop or companyCustomers were waiting for the shop to open.The bank is one of our biggest customers.client someone who pays for a service from a professional person or companyHe has a meeting with one of his clients.The company buys and sells shares on behalf of their clientsshopper someone who goes to the shops looking for things to buyThe streets were full of Christmas shoppers.guest someone who pays to stay in a hotelGuests must leave their rooms by 10 am.patron /ˈpeɪtrən/ formal a customer of a particular shop, restaurant, or hotel – usually written on signsThe notice said ‘Parking for Patrons Only’.patient someone who is getting medical treatment from a doctor, or in a hospitalHe is a patient of Dr Williams.consumer anyone who buys goods or uses services – used when considering these people as a group who have particular rights, needs, or behaviourConsumers are demanding more environmentally-friendly products.the rights of the consumerThe law is designed to protect consumers who buy goods on the Internet.market the number of people who want to buy a product, or the type of people who want to buy itThe market for organic food is growing all the time.a magazine aimed at the youth marketclientele /ˌkliːənˈtel $ ˌklaɪənˈtel, ˌkliː-/ formal the type of customers that a particular shop, restaurant etc getsThe hotel has a very upmarket clientele.They have a wealthy international clientele.
Examples from the Corpuscustomer• But in the long run, observers see the potential for new products and concerns about customer service.• All are given clear-cut linkage to their internal customer.• British Airways was Boeing's largest customer for jet airplanes.• The barman was serving the last customer of the evening.• We don't get many customers on Mondays - Saturday is our busiest day.• Ford has launched a big sales campaign in an effort to bring in new customers.• The Defense Department is one of Lockheed's biggest regular customers.• It was a well-kept secret that the old system was biased in favor of residential customers.• Just when she had been on the brink of despair, one of her rich customers had given her a handsome order.• Second, customers decide their preferences with a large pinch of subjectivity.• After monitoring the performance of the engine on the rig, it is prepared for despatch to the customer.• Their typical customer earns more than $70,000.• But don't starve your customers in the process - there's no profit in that either.customer service/care• His inclination is to shy away from grandiose strategies and concentrate on return on capital and customer service.• Issues such as product knowledge, lead generation and customer service are tackled.• The effort put into marketing and customer service far exceeds the effort in production and in research.• In many parts of the world, we have developed innovative policies on quality and customer service.• But there is wide variation among Internet providers in cost, features, software, reliability and customer service.• They understood statistical process control, total quality customer service, reengineering, and the economics and finance of film manufacturing.• On top of that, cable companies have developed a reputation over the years for less-than-stellar customer service.• Hall has said Kmart will focus on improving the look of its stores, customer service and the efficiency of its operations.