Personalize Your Alexa Experience with Voice Profiles (Generally Available)
Mohit Mittal Oct 31, 2019
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We are excited to announce that the Alexa skill personalization capability is now generally available for the Alexa Skills Kit in all locales. Alexa developers can leverage voice profiles in custom skills, enabling their skill to respond based on the voice interacting with their skill. Customers create voice profiles through the Alexa companion app, and the skill then uses these profiles to reference who is talking. Now, you can create a personalized experience for different customers, so your skill can address preferences, remember settings, and differentiate between household members. Skills already utilizing this feature to deliver delightful, customized experiences to customers include Uber, Vodafone, 7-Minute Workout, and others.

Customize Your Skill Experience Based on Who Is Speaking

Now, your skill can determine who is speaking when customers engage naturally with your skill, no longer needing to switch between Alexa accounts to access individual preferences. Personalizing your skill experience can range from a friendly greeting to responses based on a customer’s likes, dislikes, interests, or account history. Use SSML and the alexa:name tag for Alexa to insert the user's name into a response, and then add a prompt with context, such as “Hi Jeff, welcome back. Would you like to order another ride to the airport?” If the customer changes the name in their profile through the Alexa app, it automatically changes in the greeting as well.

Provide the Right Response to the Right Customer

When a customer with a recognized voice profile interacts with your skill, Alexa sends a string of characters and numbers called a personID as a directed request to your back-end logic. Every time that customer engages your skill, the same personID is sent in the request. Each customer has a different personID, so you can use personID to generate different responses to different customers using the same skill. The personID identifier does not contain any personally identifiable information.

Link Accounts to the Right Owners

Until now, changing a skill’s behavior required a customer to configure Alexa household profiles and then manually switch between Amazon accounts. Personalization makes it simpler for your customers because now your skill simply links the person speaking to the correct account without switching profiles. When a customer with a recognized voice interacts with your skill on their Alexa-enabled devices, Alexa will include in the person object an accessToken for the account linked with that voice profile. You can use the accessToken and the associated individual customer’s account to fulfill the customer’s request. If a voice profile doesn’t have an account linked to your skill, you can use the accessToken from the user object to fulfill the request using the default account linked with the customer’s Amazon account. 

Customers who have previously set up a voice profile can opt out of skills personalization through the Alexa app at any time. If your customer has opted out or if a voice is not recognized, Alexa will not send a personID in the request. Your skill can fall back to the Amazon account preferences represented by the userID in the request. Here’s how they work together:

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{
  "context": {
  ...
    "System": {
    ...
      "user": {
        "userId": "amzn1.ask.account.[unique-value-here]"
        "accessToken": "Atza|AAAAAAAA...",
      },
      "person": {
        "personId": "amzn1.ask.person.[unique-value-here]"
        "accessToken": "Atza|BBBBBBBB...",
      },
      
      }
    }
  },
  "request": {...},
  "session": {...},
  "version": "1.0"
}

Personalizing your skill experiences can help you increase engagement and improve accuracy by simplifying customer interactions. See below for some personalized skills available to customers today:

  • Uber uses personalization to make ride sharing easy for customers to access via Alexa, by ensuring that they bill the right customer and show up to the right place. With personalization, the Uber skill welcomes the customer with a custom greeting, and can use other voice profile information to make inferences that increase accuracy and make it easier to order. “Now Alexa automatically figures out which Uber account to use based on who is speaking, which means our skill delivers a smoother customer experience”, said Juha Lahtela, Head of Technology and Data Partnerships at Uber.
  • Vodafone allows customers to manage their telephone account through their Alexa skill. With personalization, they are able to provide more accurate information to their customers. “Now that we’ve personalized the skill, Alexa can be more accurate, and even more helpful for our users; initially in Germany and eventually in our other markets as well,” said Stefano Parisse, Group Director of Product and Services at Vodafone Group. “It gives our Vodafone skill smoother engagement and higher quality experiences, giving our mobile customers a seamless service without having to lift a finger.”
  • 7-Minute Workout provides customers with a variety of short and effective workout routines. The skill welcomes customers with personalized intro and post-workout messaging. “It was super quick and easy to integrate personalization capabilities into my skill,” said Justin Kovac, creator of the 7-Minute Workout skill. “The feature offers some really interesting new ways for customers to interact (and compete) with others in the household, or simply track individual fitness progress and preferences. I’m really looking forward to extending the skill with such capabilities in the future.”
  • Excite Horoscope allows customers to get their personalized horoscopes. “Earlier, different customers in the house could not get their individual horoscopes. With skills personalization, now that our customers can get their personalized fortunes, we expect to see an increase in our skill engagement”, said Susumu Obata, President & CEO of MIRAiE.
  • Jyanken, the popular Japanese game skill, offers customers personalized greetings and tracks individual player achievements, such as a 10th win milestone or an activity streak.

Additional skills using the personalization capabilities include Twenty Questions (personalized game play), SprachBox Abfrage (individual voicemail messages), Vanity Planet (wellness products customized to the customer), Intervallfasten (tracking fasting intervals), and Party Craps - Multiplayer Edition (fact-action dice game of Craps for multiple players). More personalized skills are on the way, including OneBusAway (bus commuting information), and others.

Getting Started with Skills Personalization

Skills personalization is available today for custom skill developers in all Alexa locales. You can find complete information on how to configure personalization in our documentation. If your skill supports customized requests for different customers, we recommend you explore skills personalization to deliver better experiences to different customers using the same Alexa device.

We can’t wait to see what personalized experience you build for Alexa customers!

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