In the hyper-competitive industry of internet, cellular and cable giants, there’s no room for static interference or feedback when it comes to standing out from the crowd.

Big telecoms, MVNOs, and single service providers are all taking advantage of their customer’s advocacy and turning to referral programs to enjoy a strong, steady stream of engaged users.

If you’re already focused on providing exceptional service and the best product experience for your customers, it’s in your best interest to leverage the advocacy of your satisfied users to drive growth. When customers are presented with an endless choice of competing options, trustworthy recommendations from friends and family go a long way in swaying their decision.

To help you get inspired, keep reading for eight examples of referral programs from established and emerging telecom brands, plus quick tips you can apply to your own program.

1 – Koodo

Koodo is a Canadian wireless service provider started by parent company Telus. They’re known for not requiring fixed term contracts and focus on offering flexible plans, targeted at a younger demographic.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Koodo and you’ll both receive $50 off your phone bills, in the form of a $10 credit for 5 months, once the friend’s new plan is activated. Existing customers can earn up to $300 in referral credits each year.

What we like about it:

– By spreading out the $50 reward over five months, customers have a good reason to remain with Koodo for longer in order to collect their full reward, giving Koodo more opportunities to build brand loyalty and retention.

– Making the rewards conditional upon the referred friend being an active customer for 90 days is an important way to prevent program fraud and successfully activate new customers – a noticeable trend throughout most of these programs.

2 – Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile is a wireless provider aiming to deliver affordable, premium wireless direct-to-consumer. They offer 3, 6 and 12-month plan options with no binding contracts, and operate online only.

Referral Program Setup: For every friend you refer to Mint, you earn an increasing renewal credit starting at $25, and your friend earns a $15 renewal credit. Once you’ve referred 5 friends, you’ll have earned a total of $240 in renewal credits which is enough to pay for an entire year of Mint’s 10GB/month plan.

What we like about it:

– The simple tagline of “Get a Free Year” quickly communicates the benefits and why you should participate, while the entertaining graphics make it easy to understand.

– Offering an increasing reward with reach referral keeps the momentum going for a user to reach the top tier and achieve the end goal.

– When the reward is for a renewal credit as opposed to the customer’s next monthly bill, it makes the user more likely to renew with Mint Mobile as it’s the only provider with which their credits can be redeemed.

3 – RingCentral

RingCentral is a cloud-based communications platform for businesses offering enterprise-grade voice, fax, text, online meetings, conferencing, and collaboration tools.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to RingCentral and receive a $100 gift card for everyone who signs up.

What we like about it:

– As a communications platform for businesses, the reward of a $100 gift card encourages all types of employees to refer RingCentral to other companies. If the reward was for a discount on their monthly bill, the employees who don’t pay the bills wouldn’t see as much value in participating.

– The ability for RingCentral users to enroll in the referral program on their own instead of having to go through their company’s account makes it easy for anyone to participate, ultimately exposing RingCentral to more new user opportunities.

4 – Xfinity

Xfinity is a provider of consumer digital cable TV, high speed internet and home phone services under parent corporation Comcast.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Xfinity and earn up to $175 in Visa Prepaid Cards for each friend depending on how many services they sign up for. Referred users can also receive up to $100.

What we like about it:

– Xfinity uses a tiered rewards system to offer different rewards depending on which services the referred friend signs up for (ie. TV, Internet), giving existing users a much higher incentive to advocate for multiple Xfinity services.

– A total of $500 in potential referral rewards is a generous amount to offer per customer, and can also be an enticing opportunity for new customers.

5 – Fizz

Fizz is a mobile services and home internet ⁠provider focusing on simple, cost-effective plans with no fixed contracts. The company operates online only, and offers plenty of opportunities for users to earn rewards and save money.

Referral Program Setup: Send your referral code to friends and you’ll both earn a $25 bonus applied to your next bill once a referred friend has made their second monthly payment. Customers can refer an unlimited amount of friends to rack up the cost savings and even make their plan completely free!

What we like about it:

– Fizz does an excellent job of describing the referral program benefits not just for their current customers, but for new users who can also start earning once they become a customer. Most referral program promotion is geared towards existing users, as that’s where the referral starts, but referral opportunities can also be important for new users.

– The Fizz referral program is part of their overall rewards program which lends itself to a great example of lifecycle marketing. Customers can earn points and badges to reach new reward levels, and earn perks like plan upgrades, free mobile data, and dollar rebates.

6 – Telus

Telus Mobility is a division of Telus Communications, and is one of Canada’s largest wireless carriers. Well-known Telus subsidiary mobile brands include Koodo and Public Mobile.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Telus and earn a $50 Amazon gift card, for up to $250 per year. Referred friends also receive a $50 bill credit when they activate their phones.

What we like about it:

– Similar to Xfinity, referring customers get an additional $50 reward for each product their friend signs up for such as internet, home phone, mobility, or home security, which helps encourage customer acquisition in all facets of the business.

– Telus adds that every friend you refer helps support their TELUS Mobility for Good program, which provides free phones and data plans to youth transitioning out of foster care.

What would make it even better:

– Existing customers need to read the fine print to learn that their $50 reward comes in the form of an Amazon gift card. Clearly explaining the reward as such instead of referring to it simply as a “$50 reward” would help manage expectations and lower confusion.

7 – Visible

Visible is an MVNO based in the US offering wireless service on the Verizon network. They offer a single plan at a standard price of $40/month which includes unlimited data, plus multiple ways to bring your monthly cost down, either by inviting a friend or joining a “party” that acts similar to a friends and family plan.

Referral Program Setup: Every time you refer a friend to Visible, they’ll pay $25 for their first month, and you’ll receive a month for $5. You can earn a total of 12 referral credits per year.

What we like about it:

– The benefits of their referral program are prominently featured on almost every page, making customer referrals a top component of their marketing strategy instead of keeping it hidden on the website where no one will find it.

– Instead of advertising the reward as a discount, Visible clearly states that your monthly plan is $5 when you invite a friend. This saves customers from having to calculate the benefit themselves and is an obvious benefit.

8 – Cricket Wireless

Founded in 1999, Cricket Wireless is an American wireless service provider now owned by AT&T.

Referral Program Setup: Refer a friend to Cricket and you’ll both earn a $25 account credit once the referred friend has been an active customer for 60 days. Customers can earn up to $250 in credits per year.

What we like about it:

– Cricket places a fun spin on their referral program by writing and animating an entire music video about it! Entitled “Anyone Can Be a Friend”, the video explains how the program works and adds some entertainment.

– While the rewards are not awarded immediately when the new customer signs up, waiting 60 days ensures proper activation of the new customer to both keep the referral program ROI in check and increase customer lifetime value.

Quick tips for a customer referral program in the telecom industry:

Successfully activate the referred customer

When long-term commitment is critical to success in your industry, it’s in your best interest to activate the new user before giving out a reward.

Notice how most (if not all) successful telecom referral programs distribute rewards only once the new customer has been active with the service provider for a certain length of time. This helps maintain a positive referral program ROI, and gives you time to build a positive relationship with the new user.

When there is also a reward for the existing customer who made the referral, they’ll be more willing to help encourage the new user to stay.

Try building retention into the reward structure

While there is no evidence to discourage giving advocates their entire reward at once (such as a $50 credit), some of the brands above distribute the reward over a period of time, such as a $10 credit for 5 months.

Not only does this act as an incentive to invite new users, but encourages both advocates and referred friends to keep their accounts active for longer in order to reap the full reward that they can’t fully benefit from if they were to switch providers.

Don’t be afraid to put your program front and center

Many modern telecom brands are prominently highlighting their referral program as part of the service offering, like in this home page banner on Visible’s website:

While referral programs are typically marketed to existing customers as a way to earn rewards, this takes it a step further and showcases the benefits to new users who are evaluating the service. The presence of opportunities to save can act as a powerful acquisition tool in itself.

Summing Up

This wraps up our list of a few telecom brands taking advantage of customer referral programs to grow their networks and extend customer lifetimes.

Do you have a referral program that you think should be added to this list? Let us know by tweeting us!

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