What’s the Difference Between a Customer and a Guest?

Whether you are a mobile technician or work out of a shop, how you treat the people you are doing business with is critically important. Distinguishing the difference between a customer and a guest is a start. Excellent customer service creates customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth reputation, and ultimately helps build your business. Regardless of how well the repair or headlight restoration comes out, if the customer doesn’t have a positive experience, they are most likely going to tell their friends about it and not return.

One way to approach customer service is by examining how you treat the people who enter your place of business. Do you treat them as customers or guests? When considering the definition of the two, think about how you would want to be treated when you are deciding where to spend your hard-earned dollars.

Merriam-Webster defines a Customer as:
  • 1: one that purchases a commodity or service
  • 2: an individual, usually having some specified distinctive trait

Example: a really tough customer

Definition of Guest is a person:
  • entertained in one’s house
  • to whom hospitality is extended
  • who pays for the services of an establishment

Now, think of the impression when treating someone like a guest to a customer using the definitions above.

Do you treat them as a:
  • $$$ sign or just a one-shot deal?
  • Burden because you don’t have time to deal with their questions?
  • Valued resource that will help you build your business?
  • Do you treat them as kindly as you would treat your grandmother?

When you alter the approach to customer service, you will reap the rewards of treating your customers respectfully, understanding their needs and wants, exceeding customer expectations, and it feels good to go out of your way to help. Lastly, how do you distinguish the difference between a customer and a guest?

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