Existing clients generate up to 97% of specialist recruitment company Design and Construct's revenue, thanks in part to a strong account management focus that includes a 12-month replacement service, says founder Ephram Stephenson.
Stephenson told Shortlist that existing clients, or businesses they have referred, generally account for between 90 and 95% of revenue the company achieves, but this number has ticked up as high as 97%.
"We obviously started off as more of a boutique organisation just working with a number of select clients, and then over the years referrals have come through those clients for us to recruit for... suppliers or other businesses they work alongside, or joint venture with," he said.
"It's been more of an account management business, rather than going out there and actually trying to bring in new business."
Stephenson attributes the high repeat business and referral rate to a focus on customer service, which includes initiatives such as a 12-month, stepped-discount replacement guarantee.
"The replacement guarantee works that we would replace the candidate basically free of charge from one to 12 weeks, and then from 12 to 24 weeks we'd replace the candidate giving the client a discount of 50%," he said.
The discount then declines in incremental stages to 25% and 15% until the end of the 12-month period, said Stephenson.
"The fact that we offer them a 12-month replacement guarantee obviously shows our clients that we're in it for the long haul, and we're not just about to make a placement and not deal with them again," he said.
Despite the strong account management focus, business development skills are still an important requirement for Design and Construct consultants in order to identify and capitalise on cross-selling opportunities, said Stephenson.
"We may be speaking to a certain client that we may have a long-term relationship with in NSW, but then [we're] really trying to capitalise on other states that they also work within," he said.
This approach played an important role in the launch of the company's Brisbane division, for example, where the office head leveraged existing relationships in the NSW business to get the Queensland operations up and running, said Stephenson.
Geographic expansion on the cards
Design and Construct is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, and Stephenson said further geographic expansion is on the horizon.
The company, which has headcount of 15, currently has offices in Sydney and Brisbane, but will look to expand into other states in the near future, said Stephenson.