They did what?" I sputtered. The practice owner I was talking with on the phone was a longtime friend. He lowered his voice
and explained, "They bought reviews on Google."
Andrew Roark, DVM, MS
We were discussing the megapractice down the road. This practice had been amassing negative online client reviews for months—at
the same time that my friend's clients were posting glowing reviews of his small startup clinic.
But suddenly, the megapractice had garnered 30 five-star reviews in a matter of weeks, all from "clients" who had all—coincidentally?—given
five-star reviews to a slew of other unrelated businesses across the United States. Either these reviewers were traveling
cross-country together, reviewing the same random businesses, or the competition was buying their praise. Unbelievable.
Now, a little friendly competition can be healthy. It can motivate you to improve both your medicine and your business practices.
Plus, the presence of others in your business space pushes you to create better value for clients and patients and keeps you
from resting on your laurels.
However, the fear of competition stealing clients can also make for a stressful situation—especially when your rivals play
dirty. In my years as a veterinarian—working at a fledgling startup practice, a megapractice, and now at a three-doctor clinic
in an area where new practices are constantly opening—I've dealt with many different competitors. I've led strategic planning
sessions for veterinary organizations, clinics, and corporations, and dealing with veterinary competition is one of the most
frequently discussed topics.
In facilitating these discussions, as well as leading veterinary teams on the ground, I've discovered some excellent tactics
for addressing rivals. It's time for the gloves to come off so you can focus your energy on tackling what's most important:
your practice. Here are six tips for handling interclinic aggression without stooping to your competitor's level.