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Engage your customers with a custom Alexa skill

ArcTouch’s team of Alexa skill developers helps companies connect with their customers on hundreds of millions of Amazon Alexa-compatible devices. Voice interfaces have become a very natural way for consumers to engage with the digital world. Amazon’s Alexa platform and Echo family of smart products lead this revolution and bring conversational voice apps into the home, cars, and the workplace.

Companies large and small are building custom Alexa skills to capitalize on this growing opportunity. There are over 130,000 skills created to date, and Amazon expects voice and other ambient computing experiences to expand.

ArcTouch’s Alexa skill development process

ArcTouch’s Alexa skill development services vary depending on the needs of your business. The process of building a great voice app starts with a solid voice strategy. Through our discovery services, we help you identify the user’s need and your business opportunity. From there, we define the minimum lovable product (MLP) feature set of your custom Alexa skill.

During voice design, we’ll carefully craft the desired user experience — creating a rich and natural voice user interface (VUI). Meanwhile, our Alexa developers begin their technical work by identifying the key technologies to ensure your Alexa skill is not only smart but works as advertised. A few weeks later — after Alexa skill development is complete and thoroughly tested, we can help you publish it to the Amazon skill store.

We can also help with custom actions for Google Assistant and voice-enable existing iOS apps and Android apps.

Want to learn more? Let’s start a conversation.

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Insights from ArcTouch’s Alexa Developers

Frequently Asked Questions

What industries are best suited for custom Alexa skills?

There are great use cases for Alexa skills in virtually any industry, both for consumer applications and enterprise applications for employees. Here are a few examples:

Restaurants: Place orders, book reservations, search for menu options and prices.

Transportation & logistics: Ridesharing services, navigation, traffic alerts, audio entertainment.

Healthcare: Scheduling applications for consumers, symptom checker, and advice, prescription ordering.

Entertainment: Movies and concert information, schedule updates, trailers, etc.

Travel: Ticket booking, hotel reservations, and travel tips for consumers.

Enterprise: Logistics and supply chain applications, calendar management, etc.

Smart home: Home automation of IoT devices, music, and entertainment.

Finance: Investment advice, stocks updates.

What makes a great Alexa skill?

Alexa skills and other conversational voice apps are best suited for micro-engagements. These are brief interactions where users have a discrete use case that can be communicated as a simple question or request.

Examples include:

“AIRLINE SKILL, is my flight on time?”
“BANK SKILL, is my deposit available?”
“DIET SKILL, log 1 glass of water.”

What tools do we use to build Alexa skills?

Like any software application, there are many different ways to build an Alexa skill. The best way depends on your existing technology stack and how a skill might tie into different data sources. A good place to start learning the options is by reading what’s available in Amazon’s skills Kit.

If you are starting from scratch, probably the simplest and fastest way to create a new Alexa skill is to host it on Amazon’s AWS, use AWS Lambda (a serverless computing platform), and then create the Lambda function in C#, Java, Javascript (Node.JS) or Python.

If you already have a backend infrastructure and would like to leverage it for the Alexa Skill you can also provide a public endpoint that Alexa can use to make calls to your backend, more information can be found here.

How is a “voice design” created?

We usually start by mapping the user journey — where we define the skill’s purpose and the goals the user wants to accomplish. Then we create the conversational UX flow, where we carefully script the various questions and answers between the skill and the user. During this process, we can also include user testing at different points to make sure the skill delivers a great user experience.

How hard is it to publish an Alexa skill?

The process of publishing an Alexa skill is straightforward, and not unlike publishing an app to the Apple App Store or Google Play store. And we’ll help you with every step along the way.

Are analytics available to measure skill usage?

Amazon includes the “skills metrics dashboard” as part of the Alexa Skills Kit. From that dashboard, you can see data about customers, sessions, utterances, and intents.