Building an Alexa skill without a lot of coding

Are you thinking through your strategy for building an Alexa skill?  Well, more than four billion users interact with messaging apps on a regular basis, and 65 percent of customers prefer to contact a business via app, meaning that businesses have better access to customers when they utilize tools such as chatbots. Voice-enabled assistants are rapidly becoming the interface of choice among users; this new conversational layer opens up a whole new world.

Businesses that have their own Alexa skills are in on the ground floor of an incredible new opportunity. Since voice is simple to use, many more people can interact with your company than ever before through a voice-enabled chatbot. If your company does not have an Alexa skill that extends your brand message and serves your customers, fear not – there is still time to develop one. Depending on the kind of skill that you want to create, building an Alexa skill can be a simple, straightforward task that does not require much coding.

Skills with templates

Typically, successfully building an Alexa skill involves a strong understanding of the technology and experience with coding. However, if your business is looking for a simple solution to creating an Alexa skill, look no further than Amazon Blueprints. Blueprints allows you to create an Alexa skill using prebuilt templates, somewhat like the kinds of templates that you might find when writing Microsoft Word documents. Following a few simple steps, you can quickly create a basic skill to get your business’s name into the Alexa skill library.

There are a few types of templates (such as the Video Skill API and Smart Home Skill API) that allow you to quickly build out a generic skill, such as one that handles turning on and off the lights in a smart home or generates the questions for an interactive game. While the Blueprints are fine for many simple skills, they are somewhat limited. For example, they are not customizable (custom skills can be created, but these require programming ability) and can lack depth since they do not offer the range and power that comes with creating your own code.

Getting in on the action

All is not lost, however. While building an Alexa skill does require effort and coding experience, Azumo offers a range of services to support your company’s growth. Take, for example, the Azumo Chat Engine (ACE) for Alexa. The ACE was designed by our team of experienced pros who have years of experience in programming and creating effective chatbots, so the interface is intuitive and user-friendly. You can also build a broad range of skills with the ACE, including complex custom skills and Flash Briefings, which provide a brief overview of selected content. Some areas where a bot can provide value to your business are handling certain types of travel information and booking, placing reservations, troubleshooting simple product issues or coaching for certain types of fitness or diet regimes. In addition, just like creating a custom skill with Amazon’s SDK, you can test and publish your skill with ACE.

Need a helping hand building an Alexa skill

Amazon is providing tools for companies to capitalize upon and expand the Alexa skill library. Businesses that are getting into the Alexa arena now are showing that they not only understand the future of human-computer interactions, but they also have the potential to realize a growing customer base as voice-enabled solutions expand.

Not everyone will feel comfortable with developing their own Alexa skills, which is where Amazon Blueprints can provide some support. However, for businesses that are looking to create a novel skill that supports their brand message, the Azumo team and ACE can help develop an innovative tool to better serve customers. If you would like some insights on how a chatbot or other Alexa skill can improve your company’s market share, reach out to us. Voice-enabled interactions are changing the way people work with computers, and they can make a world of difference to your brand.

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