For the British rock band, see The Clientele. This article may customer confusing or unclear to readers.

Please help us clarify the article. There might be a discussion about this on the talk page. Early societies relied on a gift economy based on favours. Later, as commerce developed less permanent human relations were formed, depending more on transitory needs rather than enduring social desires.

A customer may or may not also be a consumer, but the two notions are distinct. Customers of a given business have actively dealt with that business within a particular recent period that depends on the product sold. Non-customers are people who are active in a different market segment entirely. Tennant also categorizes customers in another way that is employed outwith the fields of marketing. An external customer of an organization is a customer who is not directly connected to that organization.

Before the introduction of the notion of an internal customer, external customers were, simply, customers. Leading authors in management and marketing, like Peter Drucker, Philip Kotler, W. Company employees are obliged to follow processes of their companies. But actually, this definition describes better a classical internal process rather than a relationship between a customer and a supplier. Peter Drucker considers that there are no customers inside organizations.