Amazon added a powerful new feature last month called Alexa Blueprints that allows anyone to make custom Alexa skills by choosing one of several templates and filling out a simple website form. While Alexa Blueprints are significantly easier than developing your own Alexa skill from scratch, they still require a bit of effort to set up. If all you want to do is add a few custom Alexa responses to specific requests, it’s now possible to do so using only the Alexa app thanks to the addition of custom responses within Alexa Routines.
Alexa Routines are a powerful feature that allow you to automate a series of customizable actions using a single voice command of your choice. So when you say “Alexa, I’m leaving,” for example, you can have multiple actions occur, such as turning off all of your smart lights and setting a specific temperature on your thermostat.
As part of an Alexa Routine, you’ve always been able to get Alexa to say something back to you when the routine is triggered, but you were limited to selecting from a set of predefined phrases, such as “Good bye” or “Welcome home.” Amazon has now added the option to enter a completely custom phrase as part of a routine.
The new ability to add custom response phrases to a routine is a great way to personalize common tasks, but you don’t actually have to add actions to a routine with a custom response. If there’s a specific response you want Alexa to give when asked a specific question or when given a specific request, it’s now possible to do that within the Alexa app by creating an Alexa Routine with only a custom response phrase.
For example, if you want Alexa to tell your kids that bedtime is at 8pm if they ask, all you need to do is create an Alexa routine that is triggered when someone says “when is bedtime” and have the only action be Alexa responding with the custom phrase “bedtime is at 8pm.” Slight variations to the trigger phrase, such as “what time is bedtime” wouldn’t result in the desired custom response, but the addition of custom phrases to routines is currently the easiest way to tailor Alexa responses to your liking, even if they aren’t as flexible as you may like.