Build an Alexa Skill Your Customers Will Pay You to Use

All it takes to build an Alexa skill is a basic knowledge of the platform, rudimentary coding skills and a little patience. However, building a great Alexa skill that customers will use regularly is another matter entirely. With over 30,000 skills already crammed into the Alexa library (with 1,000 more being added every month), the competition for customer interest is fierce.

There is some good news, though: Many of the skills in the Alexa library do not meet customer needs (how many random fact generators do people really need?). The field is wide open for businesses who can help customers get through their day. Here are five ways you can create an Alexa skill your customers will love.

1. Research the needs of your target demographic

The most important part of developing an Alexa skill comes long before you type out the first lines of code. Who is your target customer? Your customers obviously have an Alexa-enabled device: How do they use it every day? What problems are they solving with their devices? You may need to reach out to your customers to get a good idea of how to answer these questions.

2. Find out where it hurts

Once you understand your target customer and their needs, you can identify their pain points. Since every business is different, the answer to this question will vary, but your skill should address a particular problem in the user’s life. The more often the user faces the problem, the greater the chance your skill will be frequently used. The skill should deliver value for the customer, and not be a solution in search of a problem. Does your voice-enabled solution really work better than using touch?

3. Solve the problem in a way that is easy and fun to use

The average retention rate for downloaded Alexa skills is about three percent, which highlights the challenge of creating a “sticky” skill that users will use regularly. Creating an easy-to-use solution involves a clearly understood invocation name that describes the skill and a range of utterances that encompass how the user might interact with your skill. Making the skill fun to use is another matter entirely and is distinctly linked with your target customers’ background(Humor is best kept to a minimum, since it is subjective).

4. Get the user to make an “investment” in your skill

Users will invest in your skill if you solve a regularly occurring problem for them quickly, in an interesting way. The utility part of your skill addresses their basic needs, such as finding a quick route to a business meeting or a list of potential babysitting services for a Friday night. Customers, however, want more than utility. Your skill should not only address a need, but it should also learn from the user so the skill becomes more personalized and can more rapidly return the desired results. As the user inputs information, they will want to use the skill more to see a return on their time investment.

5. Update your skill often

Just like any other piece of software, after your skill has been added to the Alexa library, you still need to provide maintenance and support. As more users tap into the power of your skill, you will likely receive feedback on how the skill could be improved. Take user comments to heart and quickly address any issues that arise from using your skill. Fixing issues for your skill is only part of the picture: Just as websites need to constantly add new, interesting content in order to stay relevant to users, your skill should evolve to acquire novel, engaging capabilities. These updates could include addressing an additional problem that is closely related to the original pain point, or it could be creating refining the set of utterances and interactions.

Building an Alexa skill that really engages your customers can be challenging, but it will help you focus on your target segments to deliver a useful product. There is no need to try to build a relevant, usable, on-brand skill by yourself. Azumo has a team of skilled developers who can help you clarify your Alexa skill goals and create a suitable, targeted skill that meets the needs of your customers. To find out how we can help, contact us today.

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