Getting reviews is one of the most challenging things you will ever have to do in the course of running your business.  And it’s an ongoing job.

When it comes to getting reviews, you want to optimize your strategy in any way you can, and that includes thinking hard about how you request reviews—and who will request them.  Even if you have a great strategy in all other regards, if the wrong person asks for reviews, you will not get the results you are looking for.

First off, do not delegate this task to a marketing contractor!  Doing so is impersonal and may even offend the people you want to help you.  Customers may wonder why they should help you when you are not willing to take the time to ask for their help on your own.  They also have no sense of trust or obligation toward the marketer, because they do not know the marketer or do business with them.

Always opt for someone in-house to ask for reviews.  

Who should it be?  There is a pretty simple recommendation that works well across the board:  Make it someone as high up on the chain of command as possible—but consider other factors as well.

There are potential benefits no matter who you ask, and pros and cons if you as the business owner do it yourself.  Let’s take a look at them.

Why ask employees to ask for reviews?

If your customers only interact specifically with certain employees, those are the employees they have built a relationship with.  Leveraging those relationships is usually a great idea.  They may view it more as a personal favor, and as a result be more amenable to doing it.

Employees who interact with your customers more than you do may have a better intuitive grasp for which ones are happy and which ones are not.  They may be able to choose the best review candidates who will leave you glowing, intelligent praise.

Employees may have more time than you do.  If you are short on time but your employees have ample opportunity, they can get more done than you can.

Why ask for reviews as a business owner?

When you ask for reviews as a business owner, it is like telling your customers, “You’re important.”  This is especially true if you take the time to do this face-to-face.  It is like you are saying, “Even though I am very busy, I have time for you, and I care about your experience.”  This may make a customer feel like he or she has time for you.

Since you are more dedicated to getting reviews than your employees are (the benefit is obviously greatest for you), you are more likely to do a good job asking.

You can build up first-hand experience garnering reviews and learn exactly what works and what does not work.  If you are working with your employees to request reviews, you can pass on what you have learned to your employees, improving the process all-around.

If you do end up asking a customer who has complaints, he or she is more likely to talk to you about them directly and seek a solution than post about them online, since you are empowered to make changes.  If an employee were to ask the same customer, he or she would be more likely to simply complain online.  After all, the employee is not empowered to make a change (and even if that is not the case, the customer may not realize it).  So this can prevent bad reviews.

Before you ask an employee to ask for a review, you should know what is involved with the process.  It is only fair, and will generate better results.

As the owner of the business, you know more about your SEO and marketing strategies than your employees do.  You know which sites you need to seek reviews on and what kinds of reviews you are looking for.

You may be better at filtering out unhappy customers than employees are.

Sometimes asking for reviews from a customer yourself is less awkward than asking an employee to do it.  Why?  Suppose you give out bonuses to employees who receive high praise.  If an employee asks a customer to do this, it sounds greedy and manipulative.  If you on the other hand ask customers to do this for the employees they were personally pleased with, it simply sounds friendly and fair to everyone.

If you find out that a customer was unhappy with a particular employee, they are more likely to tell you in person than mention it online.  This gives you a chance to correct the problem without it going public.  It may also save a well-meaning employee who could use a little extra training from embarrassment or worse.

The more in-touch you are with the review process, the more you can get out of it and the easier it will be to improve it.

As you can see, there are many more benefits when the boss asks for reviews than when employees do it—but there are still some advantages to having your employees ask.  Try asking for reviews yourself whenever you can, but also test whether your employees can help you out.  Optimize your strategy over time to maximize your success!