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Return on Relationship: The New Measure of Value

Return on Relationship: The New Measure of Value
Laura Moriarity

If you are still measuring the success of your practice based on your ROI, you are doing it wrong. ROI is a construct that is functional, as in it helps us with the budget, but it tells us very little about our actual success. Let me explain…


How do you measure success each day? More than likely you have all kinds of metrics and targets you consciously or subconsciously check off:

– Did we stay on schedule?

– Did we hit our daily $ goal?

– Did we hit the mark for recare appointments scheduled?

You get the idea.


If I asked you why you spent so much time focusing on these benchmarks you would likely tell me “This is how we measure our performance” or “We need to stay on track to hit our ROI.”


Sounds like you are exceling at being totally average.


I know you aren’t average…hell, average dental professionals don’t spend time on ReminMedia, so let’s kick the old school ROI to the curb for a minute and talk about what you should actually focus on: ROR, or Return on Relationship.

ROR is a concept written by Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose in the context of social media marketing.

Return on Relationship™… simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $’s and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.


I am going to tweak Ted’s 5 ways to Strengthen ROR online and apply them our work in the dental office.

Ted talks about the “noise” of social media and the difficulty in breaking through to a customer. Same applies to us. Patients are people…people bombarded with companies vying for their hard earned money…so when you do the same (yes I know they need your services but c’mon, you still want their money) instead of the same old presentation, focus instead on strengthening your relationship.


1. Listen

Maybe instead of “presenting the treatment plan” you could spend some time listening to the person sitting in front of you. Can you remember the last time you asked: “how are you feeling about what we discovered during your appointment? Do you have any questions?” Or after you presented a treatment plan to a patient you ended with “how do you feel about the plan? Is there anything you would like to change?”

2. Make it about them

Ted says: “Give them a platform to show you what they need, want, are interested in, and expect.  Whatever matters most to them should become what matters most to you!”

What matters most to your patients? Do you even know? Maybe it is time to ask…


3. Ask “how can I serve you”

In the ROR game you must make it about your patients. Ted talks about how consumers all rely on “the channel of me.” We all filter our experiences and THAT reality becomes truth. Be aware of the filter…play to the filter by making their experience with your office all about what they need…it will pay off.


4. Aim for ongoing engagement

This makes sense in the social media world, but what would it look like for you? How do you engage consistently with your patients? Do you personally call them after treatment to see how they are doing? Do you send them birthday cards? Do you have a blog or Facebook page that provides information that is relevant to them?

5. Know the people in your dental chair

I think Ted says it best here:

“Short and simple:  if you are only focused on the money, you risk completely overlooking the people.  Don’t make that mistake!  If you don’t know who your people are, you might as well toss your marketing money down the drain.

Relationships ARE the new currency – honor them, invest in them, and start measuring your ROR!”


What do you think? Is ROR the new currency?

*Read the non-dental article here

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