By Michael Dorausch, D.C.Dorausch avatar

I’m categorizing this post in the marketing section even though it could go in a “nice things to do” section. I had an experience earlier this week after creating a birthday card for someone who’s been influential in my life, which reminded me of a number of things related to birthdays and good customer relations.

I love birthdays. After several years in chiropractic practice, I’ve also learned that others love birthdays as well. In a fairly recent post, I mentioned that I received a birthday card from Life Chiropractic College West, with a reminder that it was time to renew my continuing education credits. Since that time, I’ve received a birthday card from Southwest Airlines, and yesterday I received a birthday card from Macy’s.

I haven’t been paying attention to what the relationship is, but I am a loyal and quite satisfied customer of all three of these entities. Growing up on the East Coast, I’ve shopped at Macy’s for many years. I buy nearly all my business related clothing at Macy’s and I’ve been very happy with their men’s department in Beverly Hills, 3rd St Promenade, and Macy’s Las Vegas (love going there when I’m traveling). The birthday card I received from them is good through the month of October, and it included a $10 off certificate. I didn’t take it as a marketing ploy, I consider it thoughtful that the people in marketing at Macy’s take the time to find ways to thank their customers.

I don’t remember if the Southwest Airlines birthday card had any special offer in it, but I received a card from them just the same. I’ve traveled Southwest Airlines flights to Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Oakland, on a monthly or greater frequency, for the past six years. I love Southwest Airlines. I appreciate that their marketing department puts in place a system like sending out birthday cards to their customers.

I’ll be doing my chiropractic continuing education locally this year but I’d recommend future chiropractic students to Life West Chiropractic College in a heartbeat. I’d also recommend any of their continuing education programs, especially their SPA day event, they hold each year.

September birthday board After my experience with the birthday card earlier this week I was reminded of an event that takes place in my chiropractic office everyday. Each morning, or each afternoon, depending on when we start our day, my staff, and I go over the list of birthdays we have for people scheduled on that day. We do our best to make sure all people visiting the office receive a happy birthday wish from us. Many come in on their birthdays, but if that’s not the case, we attempt to give them a birthday wish on the visit before their birthday.

We’ve been doing this so long I’ve almost forgotten about it, as it’s part of our daily routine. In the photo you’ll see something we call the birthday board. The theme changes every month and the staff always puts lots of effort into creating a nice design. September 2007 was the 112 year birthday of chiropractic, so that was the theme for this month. Birthdays are listed in date order for all active clients that have a birthday in the month of September. For privacy purposes, only the first initial of their last names are displayed on the board. In addition to that, when people begin care in our office, they are given an opportunity to Opt Out of the birthday board program. A look at how many names are on the board can give you an idea of how many have chosen to participate.

This was an idea I got from someone else in chiropractic, long ago. I know I have someone to thank for the idea, but the technique is practiced in so many offices across the country, I don’t recall the original chiropractor that introduced me to it.

With the event that took place, I was reminded again this week of how simple wishing someone happy birthday is, and how much it is welcomed. In my experience, people love when we wish them happy birthday. I’m under the assumption, that some even specifically schedule their chiropractic visit on their birthday, knowing we are going to make a big deal of it when they arrive in the office. We keep a supply of horn blowers, birthday candles, and other related items handy, for such events.

For me, the practice of wishing people happy birthday has long ago not been part of some marketing effort, although I’ll admit that’s how it began. I’ve stopped counting, but the number of times I’ve heard executives, CEOs, self-employed business owners, marketing folks, and others, comment on the effectiveness of our birthday celebration approach, has been many.

It may sound corny, but if you serve your community with an intention that they’re the greatest people in the world, they tend to reflect that. Take the time to get to know your people (wherever those people may be), and don’t forget to wish them a happy birthday!