I once heard the expression, "Communication is the lubrication in your organization." That couldn't be truer, especially in the world of business. You simply can't over-communicate when dealing with clients. I find that the best way to eliminate the constant state of reactivity in which most of us work is to employ proactive communication strategies, such as the following:
Make a list of the people with whom you correspond regularly.
Take note of all the recurring questions that you have to answer time and time again. Then ask yourself how you can provide the information to these individuals in advance. For example, let's say you're a real estate agent, and you know that during every transaction you are going to receive a telephone call from the buyer regarding the home inspection report. Instead of being at your client's beck and call, why not create a document that provides the answers to these frequently asked questions? This would cut these questions off at the pass, save you time, and allow you to provide better overall customer service.
Have your team give you status on important events at the end of each day.
This frees you from having to interrupt them during the course of the business day to ask numerous questions. It also creates peace of mind for both you and them and encourages accountability on their part. This can also be accomplished via daily or weekly email updates. They simply begin an email at the beginning of each day or week and continue adding notes as things come up. Then, at the end of the day or week, they simply hit "Send," and you're completely up to date on what they are working on.
Encourage your clients to depend on you by providing a level of communication that is unparalleled.
One example would be to create an audio or video for clients to listen to. For a real estate agent, this audio or video may highlight the top ten questions that a prospective Utah homebuyer typically asks when shopping for a home. After meeting with a client for the first time, the real estate agent can send the video and ask them to watch to it before their next meeting. The clients will be amazed at the agent's ability to address their most pressing questions, including a few questions they hadn't even thought of! Best of all, the agent wouldn't waste time answering the same questions over and over again.
Continue to think of ways that you can communicate at a higher level, and take control of your activities instead of letting them control you. Be proactive to avoid reactivity. Let's get together and share these ideas over a cup of coffee sometime in the near future.