Opinion Series

Jee Yen Hee: the importance of data in business

July 23, 2021

The Opinion Series aims to share knowledge, provoke debate and stimulate thought and conversation about relevant industry topics. The blogs reflect a range of perspectives from our team here at Pomelo Pay. We discuss the importance of data in business with our in-house Data Scientist, Jee Yen Hee.

Jee Yen Hee, Data Scientist at Pomelo Pay

Jee is Head of Data at Pomelo Pay, across both London and Singapore offices. With 5 years of experience in data scientist roles across fintech startup and investment banks, Jee utilizes data in order to make the best business decisions for the company.

Welcome to the Opinion Series, Jee. Data scientist sounds like an interesting job! What do you do day to day?

A data scientist utilises data in order to make the best business decisions. Across the board there are different types of data scientists, specialising in different types of areas from an analyst, to something more sophisticated like machine learning AI, and product data analysts, who specialise in running experiments.

I am more of a product data scientist that focuses on data infrastructure. We want to make sure we have the best infrastructure that we can run 24/7 and collect data that is accurate in real time. We then can use our platform to make better business and investment decisions, and propose ways to improve customer experiences.

Why is data so important?

It reveals the state of your business because once you know where you are currently at, you can then identify issues and define improvements, set goals and monitor the progress. For example, let’s say today you are at 1 million revenue, and you want to reach 10 million in revenue. You can look at your historic trend and try to project that forward. If you see from that trend that it is impossible to reach that, then you know that 10 million is not a realistic number. You can get grounded results for your ambition.

It’s also great to get feedback for users. You can have surveys or chat with your customers but it’s key to look at their transactions as data compliments their story and this way, you can make sure you are asking the direct questions.

It’s important for internal use too, right? You can liaise with different teams to strengthen what’s working, what isn’t working.

Yes 100%, and once you have data you can speak the common language, for example, ‘number of users’ is the same across the board, however when I say the word ‘activation’, every team could have a different definition of what it means for users to be activated. Therefore, by having a common language across the teams and looking at the same numbers it makes organisation and project management easier.

How does data improve business decisions?

Essentially, you need to understand the current state of your business and your customers, in order to know where your future could be. By using data, you can quite effectively predict the future and once you know what the future will look like, you can then plan better and proactively manage uncertainties.

Example: Let's take financial forecasting. We want to know from the very beginning of the year, how much money or how many transactions we can reach by the end of the year. You can have different scenario planning, so let’s say if COVID-19 continues, we wouldn’t follow the same plan as the year before, it will be scenario ‘ABCD’ instead. Depending on that, you can then plan different budgets (for the hiring, the products, marketing etc.) It is much easier to prepare for things with uncertainty.

There are some great companies out there using data constantly, because it is so valuable. What companies do you think show great examples of using data?

In terms of business decisions, one famous example is Facebook. They discovered that if a user connects to more than 10 friends within the first 7 days of sign ups, then that user is going to be more engaged. This is because you have a community and there will be enough content to check every day, thus stay with Facebook longer. Consequently, they focus on getting their users to reach this milestone. They don’t check how many posts you make or how long you stay on Facebook for, they just want the user to reach this milestone. They call it an ‘aha moment’. This accelerated their growth and made them the Facebook we know today.

Facebook's Aha! Moment

Dropbox is another great example. They were one of the first companies to come out with a referral scheme. They knew what the best value of their product was, that customers would love it more if they had more storage, and at the same time they want to grow users, so they married these two together and instead of offering you money, they offer you storage. So, you as the customer, will naturally refer to your friends and at the same time you will use them more because you have more storage.

The Dropbox Referral Scheme

What data does Pomelo Pay provide to SME’s to benefit their business?

With Pomelo Pay, merchants can see all their data in one place, and soon we will be including cash transactions, giving them a full 360 overview of their business, including online and offline transactions. Using the dashboard, merchants can see the following:

  • Business growth and how it compares to previous periods
  • Peak transactions times and days
    Example: If an F&B business sees that they have less customers on a certain day of the week, perhaps they can consider changing their off day to a Tuesday if it's quieter than a Sunday when people may go out.
  • If customers enjoy their payments experience
  • If merchants use our Shop feature, they can see which product is the best seller.  

The Dashboard enables merchants to see peak transaction times and day to improve business growth

How do you use data internally at Pomelo Pay?

We monitor the performance of our website to generate better content that fit the requirements for our visitors. Forecasting is important too as it allows us to understand our business performance and be more proactive.

We also have product analytics where we measure the usage of our features and understand what our merchants enjoy most on our app. Is it the payment link or QR code? Whilst our Customer Success Team also speaks regularly with our merchants, this completes the picture of what our customers prefer and would like to see next.

Lastly, there is operational efficiency, so we develop processes to automate manual report generation.

How do you use data to enhance customer experience?

This boils down to two main things, one of them is to measure retention and predict churn. So when a user signs up to our platform, it doesn’t mean they will definitely stay with us. What matters to us is customer loyalty, so we analyse the transaction behaviour of our merchants and use the insights to deliver the best customer experience. For example, currently we have a list of milestones such as anniversary, number of transactions etc. When our merchants hit these milestones, our customer success team will reach out with rewards, as our tokens of appreciation.

The second is customer onboarding; and how the customer found this process. In our app, we do have a lot of steps to complete and we want to figure out at what point (if they did), did they give up on us. We want to make sure it is an easy process for our customers.  

How important will data become in today’s world?

Data scientist is the sexiest job in the 21st century. There are a lot of traditional companies that are trying to transform to being more technological and data centric. The company, Logistic, use data to analyse the environmental impact they have using ‘green tech’, measuring their carbon footprint. Hopefully, it will make the world a better place and more connected.

There are initiatives that will accelerate this, from a finance point of view, there is Open Banking and from a consumer point of view, we have the Internet of Things.

Example: Tesla is becoming a software company too. If your car breaks down, without sending a mechanic over, they can tell on the software and data that they have created what the problem is.

Eventually, everyone will become a data scientist, it may not be with machines etc., but the way it can help you make decisions.

About Pomelo Pay

Pomelo Pay is a hardware-free digital payments service provider, founded in 2017 by a team of financial services and tech specialists. As a principal member of Mastercard, regulated by the FCA, and with PCI at Level 1, it is a trusted partner of businesses, big and small, across the UK and Asia.

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