Fitting Alexa into the human sales process

In Calculating Voice Assistant ROI I demonstrated how voice AI can deliver very fast ROI and breakeven. Conversation AI (voice and chat) is part of your business process; one that must add value to the customer experience and compliment existing workflows.

Adding Value

This article centers on the jet charter business but applies to any business with a high touch sales component.

With private jet charter customers spending 5-figures for a few hours of flight time, it’s a high-touch business. The first question to be answered is where does voice AI makes sense? Where can it add value to both the CX and the business?

One common private jet use case is the “on demand” flight in which a person rents the jet for a specific trip. Unlike booking an airline flight, there is significant manual work involved in reserving a jet for an on-demand trip.

The process starts with the traveler’s request for a quote, typically made through a website form or a phone call. There are many jet charter companies and it’s in a customer’s best interest to shop around and negotiate for the desired combination of plane, price, and confidence. (A jet charter broker typically does this on behalf of the customer.)

On the other side of this shopping experience are sales agents who field the quote requests. It’s a very competitive market and many quotes produce no further action by the shopper. In other words, there’s plenty of low value busywork.

The opportunity to use voice AI lies at the very top of the sales funnel where it can potentially improve the user experience and augment the existing business process—with minimal impact on the high-touch aspects of the business.

Air Charter Amy

We built an Alexa skill for Air Charter Amy to serve in that role. Amy does one thing: engage in conversation to gather the essential trip information and prospect contact details, then send this information to the sales agent and to the prospect.

How does this help?

  • A conversation is a more engaging experience than having the prospect complete a web form
  • Prospects can converse with Amy at any time of day from anywhere around the globe
  • The prospect’s contact details can be automatically added to a CRM or email automation system
  • The prospect receives a branded email which serves to confirm the conversation and add a visual dimension (brand imagery) to the voice experience

To get the user’s contact details we can either request the user’s Alexa profile info or connect to an external account, such as log in with Google. In both case the user grants permission or not. We chose to ask for the Alexa first name and email contact details.

Accessing a user’s contact details enables us to use the person’s first name in the conversation and to welcome that person back by name if they return in the future.

Personalization is a major benefit of AI and using a person’s name is highly desirable. It’s very hard to to simply ask for a name in the dialog due to the endless variations in spelling and pronunciation. The current best solution to the name challenge is to grab the user’s profile information from his or her user account, whether your own or that of a third party…Amazon in this case.

With the trip details in hand, we package it in an email that is sent to the sales agent and to the prospect. Sending an email keeps the customer engagement going after the voice experience ends; now we’re communicating in two channels (voice and email) with the Air Charter Amy branding.

The email could also have a link back to the website to drive additional engagement from the prospect or customer.

We stayed away from making Amy a transaction-capable voice assistant for two reasons

  • Getting the quotes (versus a request to get quotes) moves automation farther down the sales funnel into the high-touch part of the sales process.
  • Significant sums are involved with jet charter and payment occurs outside of the voice channel.


The dialogue is modeled after a typical request-for-quote phone call with a human. It’s a to-the-point, guided conversation.

While the Amy skill is made for the jet charter business, her information gathering capabilites can be used in other businesses that use calendar and contact information.


Air Charter Amy is available in the Amazon Skills store. Give her a try as a case study in sales AI.

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