[BRAINSTORMING] How to make Alexa less annoying when things go wrong

Alexa is handling a lot of things well, but in many aspects leaves a lot of things to be desired.

My problem with Alexa, really, is when things go wrong and either it didn’t hear my command or the command is not supported.

As the new version of EchoSistant is being built, I’d like to make sure that the Alexa annoyances are kept to minimum, so I need your ideas how to limit those moments that make you manually flip the switch instead of using Alexa to get the job done.

My ideas are:

If something goes wrong, have Alexa reprompt for clarification while the custom skill is still open:


Me: Alexa turn the light on
Alexa: I couldn’t find a device named lights, would you like to try again?

What other ideas can you think of, that might limit Alexa annoyances? (messages or actions)


How about being able to string together commands

Alexa turn on the light
Anything else?
turn on the coffee
Anything else?

I always feel like I need to thank her, that would be cool to have her say you’re welcome



Well that’s taken care of already :smile: You can PM me if you’d like to try out the beta.

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Just give me the ability to be able to issue a compound command: “Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights AND turn off the living room fan.”


How about when she claims to have found more than one device that matches what I said, for her to tell me what she thinks they are. Then maybe then give me an option to turn them all on! :slight_smile:

Also what would be nice is her to tell me what she has switched on or off rather than just OK. I’ve had one or two occasions she’s completely misunderstood me and switch on something else. I have no idea what this was unless I check in the app. :disappointed:


I’m not sure you can avoid these problems. Just using Alexa by itself, properly identifying your commands depend of ambient noise and loudness of your voice (sometimes even a slight foreign accent). All these I tested myself.
Reprompting is a good idea. Just as an example, many times it understands foyer instead of boiler . It only happens when my burner is running (I have a DOT close by).

Great idea! And actually fairly easy to add in a custom skill. If you like tinkering with custom skills, Echosistant 4, will cover this.

Very true but I found that having Alexa re-prompt and also confirm the action taken, help tremendously to limit its shortcomings.

It also makes you raise your voice and speak clearer second time.

Ha, abia acum am realizat ca vorbesti aceeasi limba ca si @ady624 …Bine ai venit printee noi :smile:

For me would be a clear explanation of what exactly went wrong …
was I misheard ?
Would a different phrase have worked better?
Repeat back to me what I said so I know what you thought I said?


Wouldn’t that become more annoying?

You: Alexa open the door
Alexa: did you mean open the door?
You: yes
Alexa: ok, opening the door

Just to put a smile on your faces, this sounds like a girlfriend mode.

In wife mode
You: Alexa open the door
Alexa: did you mean open the door?
You: yes
Alexa: Do it yourself


I would suggest it only ask when it isn’t sure or there’s more than one match. Otherwise would drive us nuts. :slight_smile:

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Yes if she did it all the time but what I meant was this scenario

Me - Alexa , turn the light in the utility room to 5
Alexa - I’m sorry I didn’t understand the question
Me- Alexa repeat what I just said

this would help to identify if she is mishearing the command or the device.

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I have B’d to Amazon about Alexa error message more time than I could count. Nothing more irritating to me tha
" Alexa turn off the kitchen lights"
" I found multiple devices with that name which one did you mean ?"
" Kitchen lights"
" I found multiple devices with that name which one did you mean ?"
" Sorry I could not find a device with that name “
” Alexa… You’re being a stoopid beeotch “
” That wasn’t very nice "


For me, less words are better. She needs to be quicker on errors.

Me: Alexa, turn on the lights
Alexa: I couldn’t find “flights”

Then she listens for a new command.

I prefer this to being more conversational by far.

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I think they didn’t design it like this in purpose, as they couldn’t build them as fast as people would plant them on their walls…I could totally see this

Alexa turn on the lights
Couldn’t find flights
Alexa turn on the Lights
Couldn’t find rights
Alexa turn on the LIGHTS
Couldn’t find fights
Alxa can you find the darn lights now, you look good on the wall
Alexa thank you

Ps I get what you’re saying, I am the same way, the fastest my lights turn on the better

It sometimes listens with a foreign accent
Sorry, couldn’t help. It happened to me also.

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Keep an eye for the Echosistant v4 announcement you will be happy!

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