Amazon Alexa is a powerful voice assistant with more features and customization options than most users realize. For example, did you know that you can customize Alexa’s responses to your usual voice commands and requests?
This function even works with Alexa Routines, letting her perform several events and actions with a single voice command and allowing her to say whatever you want in response.
Learn how to create your own Alexa Routines and how to customize Alexa’s responses to your Routines.
What is an Alexa Routine?
As any Alexa beginner’s guide would tell you, an Alexa Routine is your voice assistant’s equivalent of a shortcut. It allows you to group multiple actions and tasks and activate them in order with a single command.
You can activate Alexa Routines in multiple ways: via voice commands, a specific time of the day, or through particular actions (e.g., turning off your alarm). Although you can browse many predetermined Featured Routines from the Alexa app, creating your own is the best way to get to grips with Routines.
Here’s an essential guide on how to build your own Routine:
- Open the Alexa application on your Android or iOS smartphone.
- Tap the “More” button, then select “Routines.”
- Tap the “Plus” button.
- Select “When this happens,” then select the conditions necessary to trigger your Routine (e.g., voice command, every day at 9 a.m., your Echo Show camera detects a person, etc.)
- Select “Add action,” then add the actions to perform when the trigger conditions are met. You can add multiple actions under the same trigger.
- Select “Save” when completed.
Each Amazon account can store up to 99 Routines. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. You can, for example, start a Routine for your children that reads Alexa bedtime stories every day at 8 p.m.m., then shuts off the lights in your child’s bedroom after Alexa is done reading the story.
How to Use Custom Responses
One of the actions you can add to the list when creating a routine is a custom response. If you’re a long-time user of Amazon Alexa, you might remember that she was once limited to a small selection of predetermined phrases in previous versions. Today, you can make Alexa say nearly anything with the “Alexa Say” action through the “Custom” menu.
One of the simplest examples is setting up an Alexa Routine like a question. For instance, you can create a Routine activated by the question, “Alexa, when is Alice’s bedtime?” and type in Alexa’s response with the “Alexa Says > Custom” action (e.g., “Alice’s bedtime is at 9:30 p.m.”). Whenever someone asks Alexa, “When is Alice’s bedtime,” she will always respond with the text you entered.
Note that you must say the trigger sentence exactly as entered for the Routine to function. However, you can compensate by setting up multiple Routines with different trigger phrasing and the same actions.
You can use custom responses to play games and entertain yourself and others. Just ask your smart device to start playing the Alexa Song Quiz, listen to music tracks, and guess the artist and song title. You can compete on your own or use your device to challenge friends or family across the country.
Here’s an example of a more complex Routine with a custom response you can set up:
- Under “When this happens,” enter the following: “Alexa, it’s game time.”
- Add an action: “Alexa Says > Custom,” then enter: “Okay, it’s time for Song Quiz.”
- Add an action: “Skills > Your Skills > Alexa Song Quiz.”
- Select “Save.”
Now, whenever someone says, “Alexa, it’s game time,” Alexa will respond with “Okay, it’s time for Song Quiz,” then immediately begin the Song Quiz skill. For more advanced Routine building tips, check out the Amazon Developer Documentation website.