How do you deal with interruptions?
In my last video I talked about keeping an interruption log to get a good idea of what interrupts you during your workday and how often. Today I’d like to talk about one source of those interruptions – your clients.
Of course, your clients are important to you, and you want to be as responsive as possible, but that doesn’t mean that just because a client sends an email or a text or calls you on the phone that you should interrupt what you’re already working on – probably for another client – to answer them.
So how do you provide great service to clients without letting yourself be constantly interrupted? It’s all about setting expectations.
Start by creating a communications policy that works for you. It may even help to put that communications policy in writing. What is the best way for clients to contact you? When can they expect to receive a response? Are there certain times that are off-limits? Who should they contact for specific questions (billing, etc,)?
Discuss your communications policy with clients at the initial consultation. Remind them that if you were in a meeting with them, or you were working on their case, they wouldn’t like it if you stopped what you were doing to answer another client’s call or email. Tell them that you will give your full attention to their matter when you are working on it, and that means that you set aside specific times to respond to email and return phone calls so that you can give those responses your full attention as well.
When you set expectations up front with clients, it reduces their anxiety. If they know that they will receive a response from you at a specific time or before the end of the business day, the client is less likely to make multiple calls or send email after email.
Want help creating your communications policy or dealing with interruptions in your firm? Contact me.
More articles and videos about productivity:
- Are You Distracted at Work? Close Those Open Loops!
- Choosing the Right Time for Focused Work
- Are You the Source of Your Interruptions? [video]
- Sticking to Your Communications Policies [video]
- Stop Co-Worker Interruptions [video]
- Avoiding Unplanned Phone Calls [video]
- Handling Client Interruptions [video]
- Eliminate Interruptions: The Interruptions Log [video]
- Are You a Procrastinator? [video]
- How Do Habits Affect Your Productivity? [video]