Amazon’s Alexa has become the premiere platform consumers are using for this interaction. But businesses are also using it to improve their day to day operations and deliver better customer service.
Amazon Alexa for Small Businesses
Amazon is increasing the market share by making it easier to create skills for Alexa, which now stand at more than 15,000. These skills are created by developers and businesses, just like apps, to interact with Alexa to carry out a wide range of functions.
With so many skills, finding the best ones can be a job in itself. So it kind makes sense to start here so you can find what you are looking for. Skill Finder was created by Amazon to tell you about the newest and top skills in the Alexa catalog.
Finding Alexa Skills for These Tasks on Amazon
You can tell Alexa to list categories and find skills within them to suit your particular needs.
Here are 25 skills you can use with Alexa to make your business more efficient by just using your voice to perform tasks.
Managing emails can be time consuming. The Astrobot skill lets you manage your Gmail or Office 365 email from your Amazon Echo. With this skill, Alexa can read, reply and manage your emails, as well as help you prioritize new ones.
Additional functions include delete, archive, quick replies and more.
With the Vigil website monitoring skill, you can ask Alexa to report on the status of your websites. As more small businesses add more sites, knowing they are up and running at all times will ensure your customers can access your services.
When a site is down, Vigil automatically sends a push notification so you can fix the problem.
Staying on top of your schedule when you have one too many things to do can get overwhelming. FreeBusy Scheduling Assistant uses Alexa to coordinate meetings so you never miss your appointments. You can check the availability of individuals using contacts and syncing with Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, Google Calendar, and iCloud.
Making Calls With Just a Name
The RingByName skill is a business phone service for making calls to any telephone number or extension using the person’s name. Alexa calls your phone number and connects to the number or person you want to talk to, including names in stored contacts.
Alexa is not used as a speakerphone, it just launches calls.
As a small business owner, you never know when you might need a plumber, electrician, handymen or any other service. The Intently.co skill brings together more than 1 million service providers. All you have to do is ask Alexa for a plumber, and it will connect you with qualified service providers in your location within minutes.
The Accounts Receivable Factoring skill uses Alexa to calculate factoring fees and tell you the amount you will get for your invoices. All you have to do is tell Alexa how much your invoice is for and what your factoring rate is.
The skill uses DSA Factors, which offers factoring rates between 2-5 percent.
Collecting Online Store Information
Shopify Alexa provides information on inventory, orders, and store performance summaries. As part of the Shopify ecosystem, this skill makes a wide range of data available at your fingertips by just saying what you need.
This includes, orders and sales reporting, list of products that need to be fulfilled, summary of best-selling products, breakdown of store visitors and much more.
The combination of Alexa and Remember The Milk, a proven reminder app is a marriage made in digital heaven. Using this skill, you can hear what is due on a particular date. You can also add tasks for meetings, pay invoices and other tasks you might forget because of your busy schedule.
You can also give tasks to the contacts on RememberTheMilk, such as reminding one of your employees to deliver something.
Whether you are sending or receiving packages, the Mail Haven Track Packages skill can track them. You will be able to ask Alexa the status of all undelivered packages, including the last update on the package to determine if it is in transit or already delivered.
You will need to connect to a Mail Haven account for the service.
Keeping Track of Business Travel
Small business owners usually make their own travel arrangements. The Expedia for Alexa skill provides information about the entire itinerary, make reservations and reminds you what to pack. This includes details about your upcoming trips, check your flight status, book you a rental car, and even check your loyalty points.
Audio and video conferences play a great role in today’s collaborative workforce environment. The Conference Manager skill from Vonage interfaces with Google Calendar to detect your next conference and dial it for you. By simply saying “start my call” to Alexa, it will extract the conference information, dial the bridge number, meeting number, participant code and make the call.
The platform supports WebEx, Goto Meeting, BlueJeans and Vonage Business conferencing solutions.
Connecting With Wunderlist
Wunderlist is popular task manager app, and Task Master is a skill linking it directly to the app. Once it is linked, you can access lists to add tasks, find out what is due, view your inbox and more.
Being able to quickly revise a document without a computer can come in handy. With Edit Docs, you can edit or add to Google documents using Alexa. This includes for presentation, sheet, and document.
You have to have a Gmail account with Google Drive linked with Alexa to make this skill work. And you can start editing by telling Alexa to “open edit docs.”
Staying in Touch With Your Team
Where Edit Docs lets you make changes to documents without a computer, SoftServe’s VoiceMyBot does the same for staying in touch with your team. With a simple command to Alexa, this skill lets you listen to a user feed or a notification feed.
You can listen to recent messages and check on the status of projects.
Tracking Your Time
If you are a freelancer or contracted to work on a project, keeping track of the time you put in is important. With Work Time Tracker you can track tasks for work projects or units and also stop. You can then ask Alexa to give you the sum of all tracked work units, total time and reset all tracked work units.
Providing Business Intelligence
As small businesses increase their presence digitally, being able to monitor sales, unit sales, and best or worst sales with reports provides valuable information for making informed decisions. With SalesTalk, which combines customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) you can use Alexa to ask for these reports.
Described as a social all-in-one HR software that covers “Hire” to “Retire,” WebHR allows you to manage your workforce. The platform is the first fully automated HR tool in the cloud. And with Alexa, users can ask for who is present, absent, number of active employees as well as personal information, such as whose birthday it is today.
Keeping up With Google Analytics
Having a website for ecommerce means using analytics to measure different metrics. Unofficial Google Analytics links with your Google analytics account and lets you get the information by asking Alexa.
You can ask for the number of page views for a single day, between two dates and more.
Tracking Your Fleet
The Rhino Fleet Tracking skill can be used to ask for the locations of your vehicles and drivers. The questions can get more specific, such a drivers name, type of vehicle, who is at the office and more.
You have to sign in with your Rhino Fleet Tracking email and password to link Alexa.
Calculating Business Taxes
This is a skill every small business can use. Quickly and accurately calculating the total price, including sales tax by just asking Alexa can save you a lot of time. Sales Tax Calculator can do the job when you don’t have a calculator around, or you are tired of entering numbers all day.
Providing Digital Marketing Tips
Digital marketing can get complicated for a small business. Authentic Digital Marketing Tips provides actionable tips with daily advice from Authentic, a digital agency specializing in delivering valuable experiences.
Sending SMS Texts
Created by Convessa, Mastermind uses Alexa so you can send and read SMS text messages, make and answer phone calls, caller ID, find your phone, get notifications and launch apps on your mobile device and television.
This skill can be used for business and personal communications.
Using Slack With Alexa
Slack is a collaboration tool used by businesses of all sizes. The Alexa skill from PromptWorks called Chat Bot for Slack is not created, affiliated with, or supported by Slack Technologies, Inc. However, you can link Alexa to your Slack account and post messages to communicate with your team.
Adding Events to Google Calendar
QuickEvents optimizes Google Calendar by letting you use Alexa to add events. This skill first checks for conflicting event, which it then follows by asking for a confirmation before adding an event.
If you don’t provide all the information it needs, Alexa will ask you for it, such as “For what day should I schedule the event?” and “At what time should I schedule the event?”
What is the Downside of Using Alexa?
Amazon is doing all the right things to create a platform in which developers can easily create skills. This of course has led to a dramatic rise of available skills for consumers and businesses. The downside of using Alexa for businesses at this very moment is the technology is going through some growing pains. And for businesses, they can ill afford to have system in place that can be prone mistakes, no matter how few they are.
However, as Alexa gets smarter and the infrastructure behind it improves, it will be as ubiquitous as a PC, smartphone or another office equipment.
Alexa in the Office Photo via Shutterstock
Alexa Photo via Shutterstock
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This is interesting. I have not tried Amazon Alexa before and this is a technology worth exploring. Thanks for the explanation.
There is definitely a lot to learn for this new technology. I think that it is worth learning but I don’t know if this is a technology that will last. We will see.
I just got my first Echo Dot, and so far the experience has been good. I found this article while searching for ways to get more out of Alexa. It looks like it will get smarter thanks to the new skills being developed.