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November 30, 2017Jeff Blankenburg
Editor's note: see the Alexa Skills Kit blog for the latest news on delivering personalized skill responses when Alexa recognizes a customer's voice.
Today we are excited to announce that developers will soon be able to use the Alexa Skills Kit to build personalized responses when Alexa recognizes a customer’s voice. Alexa voice profiles already enable personalized customer experiences with Alexa when playing music, making calls, sending messages, and more. Select developers are using the capability now to deliver more personalized experiences in their skills, and we will make it available more broadly in 2018.
Companies including Salesforce, Concur, RingCentral, Tact, and Acumatica are building skills with the features that will enable more personalized experiences as part of Alexa for Business. The first skill from Tact is available today, and you can expect the others to roll out over the next several months.
If customers don’t have a voice profile already, they can create one in the ‘Your Voice’ section of the Alexa companion app. When a customer with a voice profile interacts with a compatible skill, Alexa will send that skill a directed identifier, which is a generated string of characters and numbers. Every time that same customer interacts with that same skill on their devices, the same identifier will be shared. The identifier does not contain any personally identifiable information and is different for each voice profile for each skill.
Because this identifier is unique and persistent, skills can use it to remember past interactions or preferences set by the person using the skill, and in turn provide a more personalized experience. Developers in the preview may also choose to map the identifier with a particular customer in their system. You do this by asking the user to speak a pass phrase or time-based, one-time code before allowing a user to complete certain intents.
Salesforce, Concur, and RingCentral are creating Alexa skills leveraging these new capabilities. Here’s what they are saying:
“For more than 18 years, our customers have turned to Salesforce for the latest innovations that will help them achieve new levels of success,” said Ryan Aytay, EVP, Business Development & Strategic Accounts, Salesforce. “With the Salesforce Einstein Skill on Alexa, we'll bring together the world's #1 CRM with the latest voice features of Alexa to empower customers to make the most of their data to work faster, smarter and connect with their customers in new ways."
"At Concur Labs we've focused on creating new designs and interfaces that are user-friendly and forward-thinking," said John Dietz, Vice President, Concur Labs. "We're excited about the possibilities Alexa opens up for business travelers. We first developed the Concur Labs skill for Alexa for Business as a prototype, and now private beta users can enjoy a personalized experience triggered by their voice. Users link their Concur account to Alexa then say 'Alexa, ask Concur:' to request itinerary information ranging from flight, hotel, transportation and rail services."
“Building an Alexa skill provides yet another way for our customers to work the way they want on their favorite devices,” said David Lee, Vice President of Platform Products at RingCentral. “We’re excited to provide a personalized experience for our customers, based on their voice and tied to our unified identity, to interface with RingCentral to start calls, send text messages, listen to voicemails, and join web meetings in a very natural manner.”