What do ya'll think of sending birthday wishes as part of staying in touch?

For my close/important contacts I would send a card (about 30 a year) and for the rest an email.

Send it the day before/work day before? Day of?



markbyantaylor's picture

Definitely a good way of staing in touch.

A quick phone call is great as well.

I'm currently reading Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi (see the books section) - and he talks about how he just starts siging Happy Birthday down the phone - no greeting, no saluations, just bursts into song.  Wonderful story in the book about it - won't provide the spoiler though.

But yes, anything for Birthdays is a brilliant idea - be it a quick email, or take them for lunch.


markbyantaylor's picture

If you can do on the day, all the better.

If you have to, then do it early.  But on the day is best.

mattmcwilliams's picture


GlennR's picture

I agree with Mark. If you can capture birthday data for your network, then I say go for it. In my organization many of our customers provide us with birthday data. As a CRM leader, I encourage front line staff to acknowledge those birthdays whenever possible. Our CRM software gives us the capability to print out a list of customers with birthdays that month. We suggest our staff call them on the day of their birthday and wish them happy birthday. Think about the time and expense of sending out a card compared to picking up your cellphone when you're between appointments and calling  the customer. It's okay to leave a voicemail. We have gotten excellent feedback from those who received those calls. In some cases they've told us that we were the only ones called on that special day.

Internally, our Marcom department publishes upcoming birthdays in our staff newsletter. Our CRM Deartment has Lotus Notes (yea, I know) stationery created with a humorous .gif saying "Happy Birthday from your friendly neighborhood CRM Department." This goes out to our internal customers and is also well received.

By the way, in the USA nearly all organizations send out "Holiday" cards to their (best) customers in December. The problem here is that the law of diminishing returns kicks in and after the first few, a customer really gets overloaded and barely reads them.  If you want to beat the rush, send out a "Thanksgiving" card in mid-November thanking the customer for his or her business. That will differentiate yourself from the competition.

mattmcwilliams's picture

 You know...I agree with the phone call.

1. It's so much more personal. 

2. It's cheaper

3. It actually takes less time. My handwriting is naturally sloppy so I take my dandy time writing. I can do a 3 minute call vs. a 5 minute card.

4. It stands out BIG time

I think it is more natural and looks less like a "my calendar reminded me to do this" thing.

Not to mention, the call, if it does take longer, is probably because it leads to something. How many times is it possible that the personal says "you know, I have been meaning to call you. Let's talk about X."

You guys rock. Thanks for the suggestion!

GlennR's picture

@MattMcWilliams Exactly! But you left out one important point.

It's more fun. Many of the calls will be routed into voice mail or, because the customer is busy, will be short. But if they're not busy (or a High D) when you call, you'll hang up pumped up. That can frequently make your whole day (or week, if you pick up an order).

But remember, the purpose of the call is to wish them a happy birthday, not ask for more business. Just as M & M point out that a thank you note should only "thank," and not ask for something else. Now, if the customer brings it up, then certainly it should be discussed.

Remember, for many of these folks, they're used to getting sales calls. A call from a sales person that only wishes them Happy Birthday is going to stand out from the rest.