Thick Data Complements Big Data

Triya Govender, Head Of Marketing & Client Experience at Floatpays, talks about the central role of data in creating a more effective, human-centred client experience that drives retention and advocacy. 

Reading Time: 5 mins 


  • It all comes down to data. Data forms the foundation of everything marketing technology stands for, from personalisation and scaling to loyalty programs and customer service. But if we miss the perfect balance, this store of data can act as a box of treasures with the key missing. 

    “A healthy balance between big and thick data enables the creation of an effective, human-centred client experience that drives retention and even advocacy,” says Triya Govender, Head Of Marketing & Client Experience at Floatpays, South Africa.

    A financial services provider, Floatpays defines itself as the next generation of employee benefits, helping employees reduce their reliance on debt, save and learn how to better manage their money. At Floatpays, the fundamental principle is to understand that employees’ money troubles affect an organisation’s bottom line. This theory stands true for how the employee experience affects the customer experience. 

    Martechvibe had a chat with Triya to understand how Floatpays works to keep its customers happy, keeping data at the centre of its processes. 

    Excerpts from the interview;

    As a company whose customers are organisations and not individuals, how does Floatpays build a loyalty program to suit the needs of so many?

    Much of what we do at Floatpays to drive client retention and loyalty is rooted in a deep understanding of the pain points and unmet needs that are commonplace in the sector (HR) that we target. Developing this understanding requires looking at both big and thick data. Thick data refers to qualitative, context-rich insights obtained through methods such as ethnographic research, interviews, and observations. It complements big, quantitative data by providing a deeper understanding, subjective perspectives, and rich narratives about human experiences and behaviours. At Floatpays, we have a healthy balance between these two types of data, and I believe this is what enables us to create a more effective, human-centred client experience that drives retention and even advocacy. 

    How does the company enable personalisation for the organisations using Floatpays?

    We consider personalisation against the backdrop of needing to scale our business. Whilst these two things are sometimes at odds with each other, we fully appreciate that personalisation can catalyse scaling up. Our efforts towards personalisation are always underpinned by a strong commercial incentive and a consideration for how the technology we build to enable personalisation can be repurposed for our longer-term product roadmap. 

    Personalisation for us always begins with a robust understanding of the job the client is trying to do or the problem they’re trying to solve. Personalisation almost always begins with a client conversation. We employ several strategies, technologies, and processes to balance personalisation with scalability, ensuring that the company can accommodate business growth while maintaining a high level of tailored experiences:

    1. Data-driven personalisation: We utilise advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms to derive insights from customer (employee) data. By analysing large volumes of this data, Floatpays can identify patterns, preferences, and trends, enabling us to provide personalised recommendations to employers about how to improve their financial wellness employee benefits. This data-driven approach allows for scalability while maintaining a degree of personalisation.
    2. Customisation options: Floatpays offers flexible customisation options that allow organisations to tailor the platform to their specific requirements. By providing configurable settings that govern how their employees use Floatpays to modular functionality, Floatpays ensures that organisations can personalise the platform within predefined parameters, striking a balance between standardisation and customisation. This approach allows for scalability while accommodating varying client needs.
    3. Scalable customer support: Floatpays establishes scalable customer support processes to ensure that personalised assistance and guidance are available to organisations. We don’t believe in just ‘dropping’ the technology into people’s laps and leaving them to their own devices – we strongly believe that the ‘human touch’ actually enhances the perception and experience of personalisation for employees and employers alike. 

    What is the role of data analytics in understanding customer behaviour? How does Floatpays leverage data to enhance its product offerings?

    Data analytics is an essential part of how we build and optimise our value proposition at Floatpays. As mentioned above, we balance incorporating big data and thick data to ensure that we understand  ‘the what’ and ‘the why’ of customers’ behaviours. Understanding ‘the why’ is essential to changing/influencing behaviour. 

    What are some key marketing technologies empowering the Floatpays platform?

    The MarTech we currently use (Freshworks) is focused on customer relationship management, both from a sales and customer support perspective. 

    What can attendees expect from your session at the Vibe Martech Fest in Cape Town? 

    I am excited to be part of the lineup at this year’s Vibe Martech Fest and will speak on the panel titled: The Future Of CX Is Inclusive: Leading The Way With Human-Centred Innovation.

    In this session, I will be sharing my perspective on how organisations can create inclusive customer experiences by leveraging both big data and thick data. Big data, with its vast volume of information, can provide valuable insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and market trends; and has enormous potential to drive innovation and personalisation at scale. But big data alone cannot capture the full richness of the human experience. That’s where thick data comes into play. I’ll be speaking on how thick data complements big data, allowing organisations to gain a deeper understanding of customers’ unique needs, aspirations, and pain points – enabling them to build truly human-centred CX strategies. I will discuss the value of empathy, inclusivity, and the power of storytelling in driving customer engagement and loyalty.

    Future-proof your marketing strategies at Vibe Martech Fest – the region’s biggest marketing and technology summit, taking place on July 26 – 27, 2023, in Cape Town, South Africa. For more information on the summit, click here.


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