Use the New Fallback Intent to Respond Gracefully to Unexpected Customer Requests

Justin Jeffress Jul 12, 2018
Design Dialog Management News

Editor's Note: as of November 20, 2018, AMAZON.FallbackIntent is now available in all English and German locales.

The new AMAZON.FallbackIntent in the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) built-in library helps you handle unexpected utterances, or when a customer says something that doesn’t map to any intents in your skill. As you design your skill, you identify and define a set of utterances and intents to capture the many possible variations that a customer can speak. When your skill is active, Alexa will try to match all customer utterances to one of the skill's intents. There may be instances when the customer request is not appropriate for your skill. If Alexa maps one of these requests to your intents, it may provide an unexpected response.

We refer to these types of requests as “out-of-domain requests.” The new AMAZON.FallbackIntent lets you respond gracefully to an out-of-domain request to your Alexa skill. You can provide a specific handler for this intent in your Alexa skill to provide additional instructions or sample utterances on what the skill does and reorient your customers. For example, the trip planner skill illustrated below has mapped utterances (within the skill), to the skill’s intent. However, if a customer speaks an utterance that is out-of-domain (outside of the skill), unexpected, or does not map to any of your skill intents, then the skill can invoke the AMAZON.FallbackIntent to redirect the customer to utterances that are mapped to an intent or provide additional information.

Alexa Blog

Additionally, you can use the new Intent Request History API  that offers an aggregated and anonymized view of customer’s intent requests to evolve your skill’s intents or fine-tune the out-of-domain model as necessary.

How to Add Amazon.FallbackIntent 

You can update your Alexa skill's interaction model in the Alexa developer console to include the AMAZON.FallbackIntent, and add an intent handler to your backend or AWS Lambda function.

Alexa Blog

AMAZON.FallbackIntent is currently available for all English locales supported by the Alexa Skills Kit. To get started with AMAZON.FallbackIntent, read the technical documentation.

Build Engaging Skills, Earn Money with Alexa Developer Rewards

Every month, developers can earn money for eligible skills that drive some of the highest customer engagement. Developers can increase their level of skill engagement using the Amazon.FallbackIntent and potentially earn more by improving their skill, building more skills, and making their skills available in the US, the UK, and Germany. Learn more about our rewards program and start building today.