Fidelity Investments wanted to find a way to provide Echo users with real-time insights into market trends. By building a voice experience with Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), Fidelity is able to reach people in a different way – using voice. Now, with the Fidelity skill, anyone with an Alexa-enabled device can get a market update or a quote for publicly listed companies by simply enabling the skill and then saying “Alexa, Ask Fidelity how [Company Name] is doing.”
Building Voice Innovation
Fidelity’s Mobile team began tinkering with Alexa and Echo in late 2015. Intrigued by the new technology and curious about how to leverage Alexa to assist Fidelity customers, they worked with Amazon to reach an ambitious launch timeline with only five weeks left before the holidays. Working through possible voice experience scenarios, Fidelity decided to focus on their core business of finance and build a skill which they could enhance over time. Additionally, they wanted the skill to be helpful to most people. Naturally, providing financial updates seemed like the best fit.
Shanthan Kesharaju, Director of Software Engineering at Fidelity, and his team took the lead and built the skill. He took an agile approach to launch the skill in time for the holidays and leveraged cloud watch features and the analytics dashboard to measure hit rates and intent usage. Shanthan says, “The technical documentation, new feature announcements, and tutorials enable anybody with decent java skills to build a skill for Alexa pretty quickly. Also, the events, such as hackathons, are great and very helpful. Overall, it’s a first step into cloud for developers who have not played with cloud, and it’s a great resume builder.”
Improving the Skill over Time
Learning how customers are using the skill and making minor adjustments quickly has played a huge role in the adoption and usage of the Fidelity skill. Brady Frost, Director of Mobile Personal and Workplace Investing at Fidelity says, “We had our core capabilities up in no time. Then subsequent releases were just a matter of tweaking based on what we learned to ensure the best possible customer experience, which is what both Fidelity and Amazon expect. The response from our customers has been great.”
In keeping with the agile model, Fidelity continues to improve the skill. As an example, in the first interaction, customers needed to use words like “quote or price” before the company name to get the stock quote. By analyzing the utterance data and feedback from Amazon after the initial release, Fidelity discovered customers were using the skill slightly differently than they anticipated. Fidelity created a new intent with broader parameters, and immediately they saw the hit rate jump to 85%.
Since launch, the skill has had two additional releases and Fidelity continues to look at data and feedback from customers to build more intents and functionality within the skill. Fidelity is using this skill as a basis for more complex functionality – such as providing authentication for customers. That will take some work but look for future enhancements to the Fidelity skill.
To experience this skill, simply enable the Fidelity skill in your Alexa companion app and catch up on the latest financial trends.