You know all about return on investment (ROI). But what about your return on relationship (ROR)? The latter is gaining a lot of attention, especially when it comes to measuring the impact of social media and other messages that can’t be tracked by just counting pennies. Why is it so important? Because relationships are considered the new currency.

Tip: Trust and relationships are the new currency. It’s not a soft thing you do in your spare time; it’s the heart and soul of your business.

75%of consumers surveyed say personal connections are most important in establishing trust with their doctor.


ROI is dollars and cents. ROR, however, is the function of building an engaged customer relationship. In other words, ROI is a monetary value, designed to convince and convert. A one-way conversation.

ROR, however, is a two-way conversation that’s all about conversing and converting. It’s a value that accrues AND builds through recommendations, loyalty, and engagement.


Why is ROR gaining more attention?

  • CHARACTER. Joe Tripodi, chief marketing officer at Coca-Cola says, “Consumers more and more value not only the quality of your product but the character of your company.”
  • HEART & SOUL. Seth Godin, author of Tribes, explains, “In the connection economy, trust and relationships are the new currency. It’s not a soft thing you do in your spare time, it’s the heart and soul of your business.”



It’s all about trust, adds author and ROR guru Ted Rubin. “Relationships are like muscle tissue…. The more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become.”

  • DOCTOR-PATIENT. That’s one reason trust is so critical in optical. According to research recently conducted for Pearle, doctors are rated just behind family and friends as being most trustworthy. And, 75% of consumers surveyed say a personal connection is the most important factor in establishing trust with their doctor.
  • WOM. That trust is also what encourages the all-important word-of-mouth endorsement. How important is that? According to Ogilvy, 74% of consumers identify WOM as a key influencer in their buying decisions.



So, how do you grow it…the relationship, that is? It’s about listening, asking, and more. Here are some specifics about what can work and why.

  • MAKE IT PERSONAL. Add your name to any FB interactions. Dell did that 10 years ago by having employees add their first name to any interactions with customers that posted.
  • SET GOALS. One example is a recent social media goal set by Adidas to have 30% of their brand content generated by consumers.
  • CREATE CONDITIONS OF SATISFACTION. That means you need to establish specific outcomes that will bring satisfaction to you, your customers, and your business.
  • LITTLE THINGS. Doing something small can have big benefits. For example, research conducted at Monmouth University in New Jersey found that when a waiter left two mints for customers with their bill, he received 21% more in tips. You can do something small, too, like offering cleaning cloths, small bottles of lens cleaning solution or free refills.


What do you do in your practice to build trust and to grow your own return on relationship? Please share in the Facebook conversation here.





Erinn Morgan