The Difference Between a Client and a Customer in Your Notary Business

Jul 30, 2023

The word 'client' and 'customer' gets used interchangeably in our notary industry, and there's nothing wrong with that. 

But it's confusing at times.

If one word works, why use two, right? 

But I find myself doing it too. Customers...clients...semantics, right? Well, words do matter, so I looked at how I operate in my own business, and here's what I found:

As it turns out, I don't use client/customer interchangeably. A client is a client and a customer is, well, a signer. 

Define the difference between a client and a customer

In my business, as both a mobile notary, loan signing agent, trust delivery agent, and signing company owner, I created my own definitions for client and customer. Maybe these will help you too.

A client is a person or company that hires me on a regular basis, with expectations of a certain standard of care, an understanding of processes, and some sort of financial agreement in place, to provide my services to their customers/clients. An example of a client would be an escrow officer or estate planning attorney that sends their clients to me. 

A customer is a "signer," in our notary industry language. It's literally anyone who signs a document in my presence (or acknowledges doing so), especially if I have taken responsibility for their identity (notarized), or verified them as witnesses. 

Why does this matter? 

Lots of reasons! I may not send a thank you card to a client after every loan signing appointment they book me for, but I will send a thank you card to every customer. 

Make sense? 

The escrow officer doesn't need (or want) a token of appreciation for every signing they send you. They get it already! And, they clearly appreciate you, because they keep sending you signings. 

But customers are different. Your signing appointment is the first time you get to meet them. So you get a fresh chance at a first impression every time. So, I send a handwritten note. 

Knowing the difference between clients and customers helps focus your energies too. If you enjoy delivering trusts, you know you can focus your marketing efforts on estate planning attorneys that have volume to support you. These amazing people make great clients!

If you love helping members of the public when they need you most, you know to focus your efforts on search engine optimization (SEO) with keywords and phrases that appeal to people doing DIY trusts and documents. There's over one hundred million Americans that need a trust but don't have one...yet. They are perfect customers!

Is there cross over? Absolutely. YOU are the only one that has to understand the difference in how you define customers versus clients. 

Do you define clients and customers differently? Share in the comments below! 



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