Correct Usage Of The Words: Customer’s Or Customers’
One little punctuation mark can make a big difference in your communication. When communicating about your customers make sure you have the correct grammar to avoid misunderstandings.
In this article, we look at the difference between the apostrophe use in customer’s vs customers’. The meaning changes depending on where the apostrophe is placed. We’ll also provide you with some examples.
Customer and Customers
When using the word ‘customer’ you refer to one singular customer. It is non-possessive. In this form you are, therefore, not referring to any form of ownership.
I am going to visit the customer.
This customer is happy with our service.
When adding an “s” to the end of the word it changes the meaning from a singular to a plural reference. Without any apostrophe, there is still no reference to any form of ownership and it remains non-possessive.
I have appointments with five customers today.
Today we had a total of 90 customers in the store.
Customer’s and Customers’
An apostrophe is only used to indicate possession. It is never used to form a plural. Therefore, in both the below examples there is a possessive indication by use of the apostrophe.
Since the apostrophe is placed before the “s” the term refers to a single customer and something that belongs to them.
The customer’s invoice was sent this morning. (There is one customer).
I am sending the customer’s orders. (One customer; many orders).
Here the apostrophe is placed after the “s” indicating a plural form. This references many customers and something that belongs to them.
Our customers’ happiness is always our first priority.
The customers’ feedback was very positive. All of them loved the new flavors.
There is one exception to the application of possession when using an apostrophe and that is when the apostrophe followed by an “s” indicates the absence of some letters or words. The word is, therefore, a contraction of two words.
Instead of saying “The customer is always right”, you will instead say “The customer’s always right.”
Instead of using “The customer has left without paying”, you will say “The customer’s left without paying.”
Be careful not to assume that possession is implied every time an apostrophe is followed by an “s”.
- Use the term customer’s, with an apostrophe before the “s” to show a possessive form for a single customer.
- Use the term customers’, with an apostrophe after the “s” to show the possessive plural form of more than one customer.
- Do not use an apostrophe if there is no possessive indication needed.
- An apostrophe followed by an “s” can also be used to indicate an omitted word or contraction.
These guidelines should help you communicate effectively and avoid any misunderstandings when communicating about your customers.
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
Customer Synonym: Alternative Ways to Refer to Customers
10 Best Customer Experience Management Software Solutions
Customer Interaction Strategies That Will Boost Your Business
How Customer Retention Measurement Can Grow Your Business