New Features Help Developers Personalize Customer Skill Experiences

Mohit Mittal Jul 22, 2020
Personalization Alexa Live News

Today, we are excited to announce new personalization features to help Alexa skill developers create more engaging customer experiences. Now, with app-to-app account linking from the Alexa app (GA), customers can enable your skill and link their Alexa account to their account with your service in a simplified two-touch process. And, app-to-app account linking from your Android app (GA) is now available. With Person Profile API (GA), you can request customer information to further personalize their experiences, such as creating a leaderboard or sending them text updates on their food order delivery with customer permission. You can use Limit Access (preview) to help verify which voice profile is accessing your skill. When customers make a request to your skill, you can request to verify them through voice recognition and a personal passcode.

Enable App-to-App Account Linking from the Alexa App (GA)

App-to-app account linking from the Alexa app is now available for the Alexa App in all locales. Last year, we announced app-to-app account linking from your own apps on iOS. Starting today, you can also enable customers to link their account using app-to-app account linking from the Alexa app. Customers can now account link from the Alexa mobile app in a few clicks without entering their third party account credentials, when both the Alexa app and third party app are installed on their mobile device. This reduces the number of steps required for customers to start using your skill, and eliminates the need for them to re-enter their account credentials in either of the apps. 

Example workflow:
App-to-App Account Linking From the Alexa App

Previously, when customers linked their Alexa account to their account with your service from the Alexa app, they were required to enter their credentials for your service. Now, after opening the Alexa app and navigating to the detail page of your skill, they can simply click "Enable to use". Your app will launch and prompt the customer to acknowledge the account linking request.

eWeLink and Tuya Smart have already implemented app-to-app account linking from the Alexa app, and Spotify, Smart Life, and VIZIO are implementing it now.

With app-to-app account linking features from our app and from the Alexa app, our customers can link their Tuya account with Alexa with a simple two step flow, irrespective of whether starting from our app or the Alexa app. Since we have implemented app-to-app account linking, we have seen an increase in the account linking success rate for our skill,” says Tuya co-founder and COO Alex Yang.

Enable App-to-App Account Linking From your Android App (GA)

We released app-to-app account linking for iOS last year, and now starting today, app-to-app account linking from your Android app is available in all locales. Now your Android customers can link their account and enable your skill with a few touches right from your app. 

Example workflow:
App-to-App Account Linking From the Alexa App

You can prompt customers to link their account with Alexa from your app when customers set up a new service or device, or surface the option at various places in your experience to improve discovery of your Alexa skill. When a customer chooses to link their account from your app, the Alexa app launches and asks the customer to acknowledge the account linking request. After acknowledging the request, the customer is returned to your app. If the customer is signed into the Alexa app, they do not have to remember their account credentials for either your app or the Alexa app to link accounts. If the customer does not have the Alexa app installed, you can continue to use the Login with Amazon (LWA) feature.

eWeLink, Tuya Smart, Smart Life, SmartThings, RATOC, and HomeLink have already added the app-to-app account linking feature in their Android apps, and ASUS and TP-Link Router are adding it now.

eWeLink customers can complete the set-up and linking process together utilizing the app-to-app account linking in the eWeLink-Smart Home app. This improved usability feature streamlines the integration process, making onboarding easier for consumers.”, says Michael Hu, CTO, CoolKit Technologies.

App-to-app account linking lets our customers discover the HomeLink skill in our app more easily so they can connect their account with Alexa and start controlling their LinkJapan smart home products via voice on Alexa” says Shinichi Kachiyasu, CEO of LinkJapan.

Skill developers can now also track the improvement in Account Linking completion rate for their skill due to App-to-App Account Linking experience in the Skill Activation section of the Analytics page on ASK Developer Console.

Further Personalize Customer Experiences with the Person Profile API (GA)

Person Profile API is now available in all locales. With customer permission, you can now personalize interactions with customers based on additional requested information from their profile like customer name and phone number. With customer permission, this helps you deliver personalized experiences when you use the skills personalization capability in your skill, and leverage Alexa voice profiles to tailor an experience to each customer.

Skills already integrating this feature to deliver delightful, customized experiences to customers include Chatter, Daily Fashion Advice, and Keep Count. For example, Chatter requests a customer’s mobile number to share key pieces of their immersive stories through text messages.

With the Person Profile API, you can configure your skill to request permission to access the following customer information:

  • Full Name
  • Given Name (First Name)
  • Mobile Number

When your skill requests to use a customer’s contact information, the customer will be prompted in the Alexa app to allow your skill to access the contact information associated with their voice profile. When the customer interacts with your skill, Alexa sends an apiAccessToken in addition to the personID to your skill’s back-end logic. The personID and apiAccessToken are strings of characters and numbers, and do not contain any personally identifiable information. You can then use the apiAccessToken to call the Person Profile API to access the customer’s profile information. If the customer has not yet granted permissions to your skill, you can display a special permissions card to ask for their consent dynamically.

Once a customer grants permission, your skill can make a call to Person Profile API to request the contact information associated with their voice profile. These permissions are disabled by default until a customer enables them. A customer can manage their skill permissions at any time through the Alexa app or at Alexa Privacy Settings and can opt out of skills personalization at any time. If your customer has opted out of skills personalization or if a voice is not recognized, Alexa does not send a personID in the request to your skill and apiAccessToken cannot be used to retrieve the customer’s contact information from the Person Profile API. As usual, you should plan a fallback customer experience if your customer removes permission. 

Verify which Customer is Accessing your Alexa Skill with Limit Access (Preview)

Limit Access is available in preview in the en_US locale. You can apply to participate in the preview through this short survey and we’ll notify you if you are selected.

Limit Access lets you verify which customer with a voice profile is accessing your Alexa skill by prompting the speaker to speak a personal passcode. This makes it easier to deliver customized skill experience to each customer. For example, if you have a skill that helps customers order groceries, you can now give customers the option to passcode protect certain orders so Alexa will require voice recognition and personal passcode confirmation to place orders.

Example interactions:

Mom: Alexa, order cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

Alexa: You got it, but I need to verify your identity first.
Alexa: What’s your personal passcode?

Mom: Two, four, eight, six.

Alexa: Thank you, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are added to your grocery order. 

Teenager: Alexa, order ten microwave pizzas.

Alexa: I need to verify your identity first.
Alexa: What’s your personal passcode?

Teenager: Uh-oh.

Alexa: I’m sorry, that passcode is incorrect. 

You can choose to mandate Limit Access in your skill or keep it optional. With mandatory Limit Access, your customers will be required to set-up a personal passcode through their Alexa app before they can enable your skill and link their Alexa account to their account with your service. When they make a request, you can ask them to verify their identity by repeating their personal passcode. If you choose to keep it optional, your skill customers can choose to enable limit access on their linked account.

Example set up:

A customer can enable Limit Access from your skill’s Settings page. If the customer does not have a voice profile created or the personal passcode set-up, they will be prompted to complete the set-up process before they can enable Limit Access for their linked account. 

App-to-App Account Linking From the Alexa App
Links to help you get started

As you’re thinking through all the ways you can build, be sure to bookmark these links.

App-to-app account linking from the Alexa app: documentation

App-to-app account linking from your Android app: documentation

Person Profile API: documentation

Limit Access (preview): apply to participate

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