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How to Visualize Customer Behavior and Change it - Part 9

In the previous article, we discussed what-ifs. We did a retrospective of how things could be done better to understand customer behaviors and improve customer experience. In this article, we will discuss one technique to visualize customers’ behavior across channels so that one can meet their needs at the right time via the right channel. You can read starting from the introductory article here.

I originally published this in my newsletter on Substack. You can subscribe there to get new articles straight to your inbox.

illustration of two pathways showing customer behavior

Visualizing the Customer Behavior Diagram

Let’s now visualize the customer journey and behavior at any point. Thanks to the adventure we’ve gone through, we can now visualize it. I found this method of visualizing very helpful, even though the visualization is not pretty. This also helps us see points where we can track the behavior. This can now be kept at the back of a PM’s mind when thinking of a change in any part of the customer’s journey.

Customer behavior diagram to visualize the customer behavior

Below we will discuss a few places where we could influence customer behavior and should track behavior patterns.

Customers receive an email with some link and a PDF Report

For existing customers, the first step in this customer journey often starts at receiving a company email, with an attached PDF report and the feature link. At this stage, we are hoping for the customer to click on the feature link.

Can we change behavior here?

Chances are that we can. We already know that customers open report emails - many of them open it multiple times. Hence, it’s our hope that once the customer opens the email, they will use the report attached or refer to the email for other information.

Can we drive more customers to a web portal feature?

Probably not, since the data suggests customers rarely click on links in the email, in turn suggesting they do not read the email. So, although they would use the email for the attachment or some information they want, they are less likely to click through to the web portal.

What to track?

We need to track the customers' actions using email analytics software.

Include Feature Link in PDF Report

From the analytics in the previous step, we realized that the feature link CTR is very low compared to the email open rates. This means that the customers are opening the emails but never clicking on the feature link. To drive our desired action, we decide to include the feature link on different pages in the PDF report.

Can we change behavior here?

Since our analytics have shown that customers are only opening the emails to access the PDF report, including the feature link in the report makes it accessible to customers. Hence, there’s a greater chance that they will click on it and know about the feature.

Will this reduce or increase the CTR to the feature?

The reason we have put the feature link in the PDF report is we have statistics showing that clients are reading the report. Hence, by fixing the links here, we’ll be looking at an increase in the CTR (Click-Through rate).

What to track?

We need to track the CTR from the PDF report and compare that to web traffic from other sources to the links.

Customer Replies to the Email

In this journey, after receiving our email, the customer has three options:

  1. Click on the links

  2. Read and/or download the PDF report.

  3. Reply to the email

We’ve already looked at the first two options. Now, let's consider the last because there’s a possibility that this customer might reply to the email. Remember, to understand your customer's behavior, you’ve to put yourself in their shoes and think like them. If customers are replying, we need to redirect them to take the desired action. One way would be to set up auto-replies to their issues with relevant content linking to the knowledge base of how-to articles and FAQs.

Will this change drive the behavior I want?

This may not directly lead to the desired behavior because it will require the customer to consistently follow through the process to the end. However, the redirection of the customer to our knowledge base can lead to the desired action.

Will this reduce or increase the CTR to the feature?

Since this is a long process, and the customer is not interacting with the feature link directly, this may not increase the CTR to the feature by much.

What to track?

We can track how many customers are replying to our emails and for what reason. This would need to be reviewed manually and tagged, just as we discussed in part 1.


It is clear from our discussion that understanding customer behavior requires a lot of study into how customers interact with our product and the actions they will more likely take. Initially, we mentioned that customer need influences customer behavior. In retrospect to this discussion, customer needs indeed drive their actions. Some of which were positive i.e. the customer took our desired action, and some of which were negative, which meant the vice versa.

For example, when we included a link to the self-help web portal in the email, our hope was that the customers would open the email and find the link. However, we observed higher email open rates but very insignificant link CTR (Click-Through Rates). In this case, we realized that the customer's need was not necessarily the contents of the email but to access the PDF report attached to the email. Using this understanding, we identified that the more likely action for the customer to take is to click on the PDF report rather than on the web portal link, which led us to include the links in the PDF report. You can read more about this solution in part 5.

As a PM, the bottom line here is that the customer may not always interact with our products as we may perceive it. However, if we put constant effort into learning their course of action, then we will be able to meet their needs, improve their experience, and meet our organizational goals. If you want to look at the introductory article, it is here.

Takeaways and What’s Next

I hope walking through this chronological story helps illustrate the benefit of different Product Management techniques around product discovery and launch. It helped me internalize the importance of several and realize areas of focus going forward.

In a future article, I will reorganize this information into a technique-centric article.

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