What is a customer?

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In the case of a literacy program, the primary customer is the person or community directly benefiting from the literacy program. However, there may be other customers such as a local development agency, a regional adult education office, the national Ministry of Education, any NGO having a program in the area, or even an international organization having an initiative in the area which can benefit from a literacy program.


In some management theories, the supplier-customer relationship (borrowed from business) has been adopted as a metaphor to analyze, describe, and evaluate any relationship between two parties where one supplies something the other can use. The one who does the supplying or giving is the supplier. The one who does the receiving is the customer. The supplier can be a person, an organization, a business, a government, or any other kind of institution. The customer can be any of these as well. The “something” being supplied can be goods, a service, information, influence, or anything else that someone wants.

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