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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Referral Rewards

Referral rewards, also known as referral incentives or referral bonuses, are incentives given to individuals or customers for referring new customers or clients to a business, service, or product.

What are referral rewards?

Referral rewards are incentives to employees who refer qualified candidates for job openings. These rewards encourage employees to participate in recruitment and help identify top talent actively.

In business, referral rewards are incentives for customers who refer another customer to use a brand’s services or products.

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What are the benefits of participating in a referral rewards program?

The benefits of participating in a referral rewards program include the following

  • Earn rewards: One of the most obvious benefits is the opportunity to earn rewards. Referring customers can receive discounts, credits, free products, or other incentives for successfully referring new customers to the business.
  • Save money: Referral rewards programs often provide discounts or credits to help referring customers save money on future purchases or subscriptions. This can result in significant cost savings over time.
  • Strengthen relationships: Referring friends, family, or colleagues to products or services you enjoy can strengthen your relationships with them. It shows that you value their opinion and want to share something beneficial.
  • Support the business: By referring new customers to the business, you're helping support its growth and success. This can be particularly meaningful if you're a loyal customer who appreciates the company's products or services.
  • Enjoy quality recommendations: As a new customer referred by someone you know, you're more likely to receive recommendations for products or services that align with your interests and preferences. This can lead to a more satisfying customer experience.
  • Discover new products or services: Referral programs often introduce new customers to products or services they may not have otherwise discovered. This expands their options and allows them to explore offerings that could enhance their lives.
  • Build trust: Referral programs leverage the trust between existing customers and their networks. When someone receives a recommendation from a friend or family member, they're more likely to trust the product's or service's quality and reliability.
  • Exclusive benefits: Some referral rewards programs offer exclusive benefits or perks to referring customers, such as early access to new products, VIP treatment, or special promotions. This can make participating in the program even more rewarding.

Why do companies offer referral rewards?

Companies offer referral rewards as a part of their marketing strategy. Referral rewards incentivize customers to share their positive experiences with the company’s products or services with their network.

Companies offer referral rewards for the following reasons:

  • Cost-effective customer acquisition: Referral programs are often more cost-effective than traditional advertising or marketing campaigns. By incentivizing existing customers to refer new ones, companies can acquire new customers at a lower cost per acquisition.
  • Leveraging trust and influence: People tend to trust recommendations from friends, family, and peers more than traditional advertising. Referral rewards harness this trust and influence, making it more likely for potential customers to try a product or service based on a recommendation from someone they know.
  • Increased customer lifetime value: Customers acquired through referrals often have higher retention rates and lifetime value than those acquired through other channels. Companies can encourage repeat purchases and long-term loyalty by rewarding existing customers for successful referrals.
  • Brand advocacy and engagement: Referral programs encourage active participation from existing customers, turning them into brand advocates who are motivated to share their positive experiences with others. This not only drives new customer acquisition but also strengthens brand awareness and engagement within the existing customer base.
  • Measurable results and ROI: Referral programs are easily trackable, allowing companies to measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and calculate the return on investment (ROI) of their referral rewards. This data-driven approach enables companies to optimize their referral programs for maximum impact.
  • Competitive advantage: In competitive markets, offering referral rewards can differentiate a company from its competitors and give it a unique selling proposition. Customers may be more inclined to choose a company that offers referral rewards over one that does not.

When are referral rewards typically issued?

Referral rewards are typically issued to customers after completing the referral process, as outlined by the company's referral program terms.

The timing of when referral rewards are issued can vary depending on the specific terms and conditions set by the company, but they are generally issued in the following scenarios:

  • After referral verification: Once a new customer signs up, makes a purchase, or completes the required action using the referral link or code provided by the existing customer, the company typically verifies the referral.
  • Confirmation of referral success: After verifying that the referral meets all the requirements and qualifies as successful according to the referral program's terms, the company confirms the referral's success.
  • Regular reward issuance schedule: Some companies issue referral rewards on a regular schedule, such as weekly or monthly. This allows them to batch-process referrals and rewards, making the program's administration more efficient.
  • Threshold-based rewards: In some cases, referral rewards are issued once the referring customer reaches a certain threshold of successful referrals. For example, a customer might receive a reward for every five successful referrals.
  • Automated reward issuance: Many companies automate the process of issuing referral rewards to ensure timely delivery. Once a referral is confirmed successful, the reward is automatically applied to the referring customer's account or sent via email, notification, or another communication method.
  • Manual review and approvals: In certain cases, referrals may require manual review and approval by the company before rewards are issued. This could be due to the complexity of the referral process or the need for additional verification.

How do referral rewards work?

The referral rewards work in the following ways:

  • Referral program setup: The business establishes a referral program with specific terms and rewards for successful referrals. This could include discounts, credits, freebies, or other incentives.
  • Unique referral links or codes: Each existing customer is provided with a unique referral link or code. This link or code identifies the referrer and ensures they receive credit for the referral.
  • Sharing referral links or codes: Existing customers share their referral links or codes with friends, family, or contacts through social media, email, or word-of-mouth.
  • New customer action: When a new customer receives the referral link or code, they use it to sign up for the product or service, make a purchase, or take some other specified action.
  • Tracking referrals: The referral system tracks when a new customer uses a referral link or code and attributes that action to the existing customer who referred them.
  • Reward issuance: Once a referral is confirmed as successful (e.g., the new customer makes a purchase or completes a registration), the existing customer who made the referral becomes eligible for the reward.
  • Reward redemption: The existing customer can then redeem their reward, which may come in the form of discounts, credits, free products, or other benefits, depending on the terms of the referral program.
  • Program monitoring and management: The business monitors the referral program to ensure it's functioning smoothly, tracks the effectiveness of referrals, and makes any necessary adjustments to optimize the program's performance.

How can customers earn referral rewards?

Customers can earn referral rewards by participating in a company’s referral program. This typically involves sharing a unique referral link or code with friends, family, or network.

Let’s explore this in detail:

  • Receive a unique referral link or code: The company running the referral program provides customers with a unique referral link or code, which identifies the customer as the referrer.
  • Share the referral link or code: Customers can share their referral link or code with friends, family, colleagues, or anyone in their network who might be interested in the company's products or services. This sharing can be done through various channels such as social media, email, messaging apps, or word-of-mouth.
  • New customer signs up or makes a purchase: When someone uses the referral link or code provided by the existing customer and takes the desired action (such as signing up for a service, making a purchase, or completing a specific task), the referral is attributed to the existing customer.
  • Referral success confirmation: The company tracks referrals and confirms when they are successful according to the referral program's terms. This typically involves verifying that the new customer has completed the required action.
  • Earn referral reward: Once a referral is successful, the existing customer who made the referral becomes eligible for a reward. The reward could be in the form of discounts, credits, free products or services, or other incentives specified by the referral program.
  • Redeem the reward: The existing customer can redeem their referral reward according to the company's terms. This may involve applying a discount to their next purchase, receiving credits toward their account, or receiving a free product or service.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

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