Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management: Uses Google-powered “conversational commerce” to market mutual fund products across India

About Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management is the asset manager of Reliance Mutual Fund, one of India's leading mutual funds. The organization offers investors a portfolio of products that meet varying investor requirements and has a presence in 300 cities across the country. Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management constantly endeavors to launch innovative products and customer service initiatives to increase value to investors.

Industries: Financial Services
Location: India

About MediaAgility

A Google Cloud Premier Partner across Google Cloud, Google Maps, G Suite, and Chrome, MediaAgility is a digital consulting company that aims to make work meaningful for all. Headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, the business has customers in more than nine countries and specializes in data analytics, app development, and location-based services. It creates AI and analytics-based solutions, designs powerful operational intelligence, builds conversational intelligence, and delivers machine learning capabilities for customers.

With Dialogflow, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management is delivering a conversational commerce service over its native Android app. This service can pave the way for increased market penetration of mutual fund products and enable the business to ride the next wave of digital adoption.

Google Cloud results

  • Makes voice-based mutual fund products accessible to hundreds of millions of consumers
  • Supports target of 40 percent of customers investing through conversational commerce in two to three years
  • Provides a platform to extend voice to other digital assets and services provided by the business

The asset management industry in India may be growing fast—but low market penetration presents an opportunity to expand even more quickly. Assets under management climbed to a record INR 21 trillion in March 2018 and reached INR 24 trillion by November, but just 2–3 percent of India’s population uses the industry’s products and services. Reliance Mutual Fund—and its asset manager, Reliance Nippon Asset Management—are well placed to power further growth. Reliance Mutual Fund manages assets worth INR 4.2 trillion, operates in 300 cities across India, and provides a rounded product portfolio to meet investors’ needs.

Gains regional leadership in conversational commerce to ride the next wave of digital adoption in India

“To succeed in today’s environment, asset management companies need to adapt and evolve at a rapid pace,” says Arpanarghya Saha, Head of Digital Business at Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management. “We need to evaluate our business model and build new digital capabilities to serve our evolving consumer base.”

Rapid digital growth

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management has a robust record of innovation by being at the forefront of technology adoption and digital transformation. “In the digital age, we see ourselves as not only a mutual funds and asset management company, but as a new-age digital technology company that helps individuals and entities achieve their financial goals,” says Saha. The business has recorded more than 1 million purchases online this year—a 47 percent increase on the previous year—with one in three purchases concluded on its digital assets. It processes one online transaction every 30 seconds.

The organization aims to operate a technology platform that serves customers via a range of digital touchpoints and is delivering a consistent experience across a range of channels. Its business strategy is based on four pillars: acquiring and nurturing direct users; digitally enabling partners and distributors; building plug-and-play technology stacks to integrate with partners and aggregators; and providing digital solutions for corporate entities and institutional investors.

Conversational commerce key to success

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management identified “conversational commerce” as an opportunity to improve the experience of existing customers and win new business. “Voice is going to usher in the next wave of digital adoption and engagement,” says Saha. “Voice searches are a sizeable proportion of Google mobile queries, while in India, there has been a 270 percent growth in voice searches.”

“Mobile is the primary medium for all voice-based interfaces, and Android commands a 90 percent share of the landscape in India. So, to maximize the reach and penetration of our voice-based solutions, we opted for a solution that combines the Dialogflow conversational interface development suite with speech-to-text and text-to-speech created with the Android SDK.”

Arpanarghya Saha, Head of Digital Business, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management

The organization is now looking at voice-based digital technology as its medium of choice to give people the opportunity to create wealth and achieve financial prosperity. “Voice technology has the power to break down the barriers that make people hesitate to visit websites and download apps,” says Saha. “All those conventional ‘weapons of choice’ may soon become redundant if all a consumer needs to say is ‘OK, Google, let’s invest some money in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management.’”

Google an easy decision

Saha describes the decision to work with Google to deliver a voice-based conversational commerce solution as an easy one to make. “Mobile is the primary medium for all voice-based interfaces, and Android commands a 90 percent share of the landscape in India,” says Saha. “So, to maximize the reach and penetration of our voice-based solutions, we opted for an solution that combines the Dialogflow conversational interface development suite with speech-to-text and text-to-speech created with the Android SDK.”

The organization established three use cases for its conversational commerce service; Investors would use the service to make purchases through the Reliance Liquid Fund, check portfolio balances, and withdraw money from their portfolios.

Two key metrics

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management established two metrics that would determine the success of the project. Its primary metric was to increase the number of transactions completed, while the business also laid down the objective of consistently increasing the share of voice-based purchase transactions relative to transactions completed by other means.

“We believe with conversational commerce, we can add 10 customers who are new to mutual funds for every 100 people that currently purchase our products on our digital channels,” says Saha. “We believe we can achieve this objective in just one year.

“As word of our solution spreads, we would expect to see up to 40 percent of customers investing through our conversational commerce facility over the next two to three years.”

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management started work on the project in May 2018 with Google and Google Cloud Premier Partner MediaAgility. “The Google team provided inputs and support to fine-tune process design and dialogue flows,” says Saha. “We also worked with the team to evaluate prospective implementation partners and, based on Google’s recommendation, engaged MediaAgility for work.”

Google and MediaAgility worked closely with Reliance Nippon Asset Life Management to understand the organization’s aspirations and needs. The participants conducted extensive workshops to detail the business cases and chart out how Google technologies could help meet these requirements. Through this engagement, Reliance Nippon Asset Management identified the key use cases for voice and defined a larger framework and roadmap for voice deployment across its digital assets.

With a technology stack developed on Dialogflow and exposed to an existing Nippon Asset Life Management Android app called Simply Save through Android SDK’s speech-to-text and text-to-speech conversion capabilities, Reliance Nippon Asset Life Management could enable mutual fund transactions through voice.

“The best part of the exercise was that we were clear about what we wanted to achieve and Google and MediaAgility enabled us to get there—these were great partnerships.”

Arpanarghya Saha, Head of Digital Business, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management

The project has given Reliance Nippon Asset Management the knowledge and capability to extend voice-based transactions to its own assets and a range of third-party voice platforms and channels.

“Once the project was complete, Google completed a joint review with us to assess the performance of the partner,” adds Saha.

“The best part of the exercise was that we were clear about what we wanted to achieve and Google and MediaAgility enabled us to get there—these were great partnerships,” adds Saha.

The flexibility of the architecture created using Dialogflow means the core infrastructure and framework can easily accept any new channels, such as voice assistants, that Reliance Nippon Asset Life Management chooses to add.

Voice skills boosted

The project has enabled Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management to build its understanding and capability of deploying voice across its digital assets and create a range of use cases. The project has also given the business an edge over competitors—Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management is a leader in the Indian banking, financial services, and insurance sector and across the Asia Pacific in creating a digital asset with voice-enabled financial transactions.

Early indications are that conversational commerce service will be a roaring success. “In just 30-odd days, we saw 11,000 downloads and about 350,000 visits to the homepage of the voice-enabled app,” says Saha. “Nearly one third—30 percent—of our active app users have experienced voice. Collectively, they started more than 10,000 voice sessions, of which about 54 percent initiated an action on the services we offered—purchase, balancing checking, and withdrawal.

“However, while the opportunity is enormous, we are still in the early stages of development,” he adds. “By taking the plunge and getting ‘hands on’ with the implementation, we have been able to learn the nuances, identify the modifications needed to our systems and understand our front end and design requirements.

“Now, as a team, we are confident and capable of implementing voice across all our assets. As a natural extension, we look forward to partnering with Google to develop voice capabilities so we can take mutual fund inclusion into the heartland of India.”

Moving beyond barriers

“I call the transition to frictionless transactions through voice—enabled by Dialogflow and Android SDK—as moving ‘beyond barriers,’” adds Saha.

“As an organization, we are continuing to embrace a pioneering spirit—we want to simplify our customers’ lives. We want them to have the same interactive experience with our Google-powered conversational service as they have when asking for spring water at an upmarket restaurant.”

Arpanarghya Saha, Head of Digital Business, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management

Not only will this help build Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management’s business, but will support an industry push to improve mutual fund inclusion and a drive by regulators to extend mutual fund take up beyond India’s largest 15 cities.

“As an organization, we are continuing to embrace a pioneering spirit—we want to simplify our customers’ lives,” concludes Saha. “We want them to have the same interactive experience with our Google-powered conversational service as they have when asking for spring water at an upmarket restaurant.”

About Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management is the asset manager of Reliance Mutual Fund, one of India's leading mutual funds. The organization offers investors a portfolio of products that meet varying investor requirements and has a presence in 300 cities across the country. Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management constantly endeavors to launch innovative products and customer service initiatives to increase value to investors.

Industries: Financial Services
Location: India

About MediaAgility

A Google Cloud Premier Partner across Google Cloud, Google Maps, G Suite, and Chrome, MediaAgility is a digital consulting company that aims to make work meaningful for all. Headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, the business has customers in more than nine countries and specializes in data analytics, app development, and location-based services. It creates AI and analytics-based solutions, designs powerful operational intelligence, builds conversational intelligence, and delivers machine learning capabilities for customers.