How to Handle Indecisive Customers?

10 min read
Vlad Kovalskiy
August 25, 2022
Last updated: January 17, 2024
How to Handle Indecisive Customers?

Table of Contents

How to Handle Indecisive Customers
Technology to help


Anyone who has spent more than 20 minutes in a sales or customer service department will know that indecision can be seriously frustrating. You’ve got targets to hit, an ever-shortening lunch break, and you’d rather be anywhere else than listen to someone jump between ideas with no clear sign of making a decision. 

But don’t fall into the trap of seeing these customers as a waste of time! Dealing with indecision is a training ground that is ripe with opportunity. Are you offering too many options, giving your customers choice paralysis? Is there an aspect of your inventory that is holding your customers (and you) back? In any case, spending time and showing that you’re there to help your users is a sure-fire way of fostering strong relationships and boosting your reputation. 

So, aside from eventually being able to make a sale, it is well worth learning how to handle indecisive customers, and we’re here to help. We’ve put together a guide on what to do when faced with clients who don’t know what they want and tips on how it can help your business.


Identifying an indecisive customer

There are two kinds of clients that fall into an indecisive customer definition: those looking for your sales department, and others who need your customer service center.

Sales customers are those who are looking to make a purchase, but can’t put their finger on exactly what they want to buy. Although it can feel like detective work, your team has to probe with questions and pick up on clues to guide customers toward a sale.

Customer service cases involve clients who know they have a problem, but can’t immediately identify what the issue is. These customers often want to vent, rather than find an actionable solution, but not all the time. 

Any guide for how to handle indecisive customers (including this one) recommends being patient with both kinds. While it may be frustrating at times, creating a bad experience will result in poor feedback that can spread like wildfire. 

Spotting what your customer really wants

We may be complex creatures, but our decision-making is rather simple. Most people subconsciously go through the following steps when thinking about making a purchase:

  • Considering what they need

  • Considering alternatives

  • Weighing up pros and cons of alternatives

  • Deciding to buy

While the details change depending on each case, the underlying characteristics of undecided customers are remarkably similar. Therefore, you can run training sessions with your team to simplify a customer’s concern. 

For example, they could have already chosen your product and just need to hear a few advantages to give them confidence in their decision. Alternatively, you might be faced with a customer who has heard great things about what you’re selling, but needs a beginner’s explainer. 

Identifying what your customer really wants should be at the start of any strategy for how to handle indecisive customers. It works like a switchboard so your team can direct the subsequent steps of the conversation.

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Pick up information through open-ended questions

When planning on how to handle indecisive customers, the core of your strategy should lie with open-ended questions. By using them to manage the conversation, you can elicit what your customer really wants without closing the dialogue down. 

So what is an open-ended question?

When thinking about how to handle indecisive customers, remember that “W” and “H” question words are what you need to go for. “Do”, “don’t”, “is”, and “are” all elicit yes or no answers. This effectively stops the conversation without you getting any valuable information. 

Open-ended questions that help you in how to deal with indecisive customers include:

  • What features are you particularly interested in?

  • Why does your company need our services?

  • What do you hope to achieve with our services?

  • What is holding you back from going through with the purchase?

Break down barriers to the decision

Your open-ended questions should have helped you pinpoint what is holding your indecisive customer back. Before heading straight into your sales pitch, promoting the great and good of your product and company, you first need to address your customer’s hesitancy. 

To get as much information as possible, continue your question-based approach. You’ll expand your knowledge of your customer’s situation while at the same time making notes about how to respond. For example, if your user is worried about the price, you could turn the situation round by explaining how your product could save money in the long run due to its durability.

Whether the response to your nudge is positive or negative, you can prepare a new reply and push the conversation toward a sale. However, it’s important to recognize when you’ve lost this battle. Don’t push too hard or you’ll risk losing your customer for good.

Reassure your customer

If, after your tactics until now, your customer still doesn’t sound like they want to pull the trigger, it’s time to reassure them. Your reassurance can cover two overall ideas: reassurance about your quality and reassurance that you have their best interests at heart.

When you’re planning how to handle indecisive customers, it’s best to make a cheat sheet with your product or service’s headline features. As your customer service team department gains experience, you can identify further pain points and link them to other positives that solve the issue. With your cheat sheet at hand, your team can quickly spot the unique characteristics of indecisive customers and react quickly and efficiently. 

You may have the best product in the world, but if your customers can’t trust you, you’re in trouble. More of a personal method for how to deal with indecisive customers, reassuring users that you have their best interests at heart is a great way of breaking the deadlock. With so many companies advertising to every user, it’s hard to build trust. However, showing you know what you’re talking about and recognizing their issue at regular intervals is a great way to start.

Stick to one option (but keep a second up your sleeve)

Part of your strategy when planning how to handle indecisive customers should be to keep additional indecision to a minimum. Basically what we’re saying is that too many options can lead to choice paralysis, so stick to one option.

This is where product knowledge comes into its own. If your team is well-versed in your entire product line, choosing what to offer should be a cinch. Once they’ve probed with their questions, they can select the right option and stick to it. You can build enthusiasm for the product you know best meets your customer’s needs, rather than adding in extra confusion by spreading the focus over multiple items. However, if your customer isn’t convinced, whip out a second option and try to get the conversation back on track.

When it comes to customer service, it’s a similar story. Reduce the back-and-forth of multiple solutions by focusing on just one pathway. Emphasize how your suggestion will meet your customer’s needs and double down on it if you find traction in your conversation. However, if your client seems unenthusiastic, take out plan B and see if that works better. 

Avoid confusing language

As well as keeping the options you offer simple, you should also work on simplifying your language. In an effort to discover what your customer wants, the last thing you want is to go off on a tangent trying to explain what a technical word means. Add in a poor connection and you’re on to a loser. 

Instead, keep your language simple and standardized. We’re not saying your team should come across as robotic, but creating a corporate tone of voice is part of any good method for how to handle indecisive customers. You can of course start the conversation with a cheery hello, but when it comes to the technicalities, design a parlance that is clear and understandable by all.

As a manager, you can monitor calls that go badly and identify any areas that could be improved. Then, you can add them to a shared document that works as a focal point for all your customer interactions. Set up regular training sessions to make sure your team fully grasp the concepts laid out in your guide or cheat sheet and watch your team’s performance start rising.

Add a qualifier to each negative

You can’t accept every request, whether it’s discounts from your sales team or automatic replacements from your customer service department. However, to maintain control of the conversation — a key element for how to handle indecisive customers — turn difficult requests into positives for you. 

Rather than ending a conversation cold with a “no, that won’t be possible”, train your team to be ready with alternatives. If one option won’t work, offer the next best thing immediately. Like so many things in this list, you can use CRM analytics to identify recurring situations and work out tactics to make the most of them. Then, update your shared training guides to keep your current team and new recruits in the loop.

Be prepared to offer a free trial or sample

In an ideal world, your first option would work perfectly every time. But newsflash, we don’t live in an ideal world. Often, when meandering through conversations, it becomes clear that you won’t be able to give your customers what they want (even if it’s somewhat unclear to begin with).  

The last thing you and your customers want is for your team to simply surrender and end the call. Not only will you have an unsatisfied customer, but you can expect to find negative reviews cropping up all over the place. 

Therefore, as a last-ditch effort, it’s wise to give your team the power to offer free samples and trials. As a strategy for how to handle indecisive customers, it couldn’t be better. Your customers will walk away happy, and even if you couldn’t resolve the issue over the phone, a bit of experience could fix things for your user.

Now you’ve got a better idea of how to handle indecisive customers, it’s over to you to start implementing what you’ve learned. 

But there’s no point doing things the hard way. Without the right technology, you’ll find yourself losing track of your best practices and missing out on opportunities to reconnect with valued customers. 

That’s where Bitrix24 comes in. With a powerful CRM to store all your contact details and log personal preferences from every interaction with them, you have a user-friendly database that increases your professionalism across the board. 

But it doesn’t stop there. You can pull out sales or customer service analytics reports with just a click and take a data-driven approach to your improvement. 

For all your training sessions and onboarding processes, you can whip out detailed guides and cheat sheets. Shared in the cloud and automatically updated whenever a change is made, you’ll never find yourself filing through multiple versions of the same thing.

With a free trial available, what have you got to lose? Sign up for Bitrix24 today and inject a bit of decisiveness into your doubting customers.


How to describe an indecisive customer

An indecisive customer definition is a lead who simply can’t make up their mind. They abandon shopping carts and meander through sales calls without pulling the trigger. Sales and customer service teams need to learn a separate set of skills to push indecisive customers to a sale.

How to push an indecisive customer

The best ways to push an indecisive customer toward a sale include:
  • Fully understanding the source of their indecision
  • Breaking down the barriers of their indecision
  • Promoting ways a sale will solve their issues
  • Focusing on one outcome, rather than opening up more options
  • Knowing when to throw in the towel before exhausting a relationship

Should you ask closed end questions to an indecisive customer?

One of the main characteristics of indecisive customers is that they don’t control conversations. Closed yes/no questions quickly stem the flow of conversation, so stick to open questions that start with why, who, what, how, and when.

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Table of Content
Table of Contents Identifying an indecisive customer Spotting what your customer really wants Pick up information through open-ended questions Break down barriers to the decision Reassure your customer Stick to one option (but keep a second up your sleeve) Avoid confusing language Add a qualifier to each negative Be prepared to offer a free trial or sample FAQs How to describe an indecisive customer How to push an indecisive customer Should you ask closed end questions to an indecisive customer?
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