Chris Salles

Director, Global Learning & Knowledge Management, Audible

Supernova Award Category: 

Next-Generation Customer Experience

The Organization: 

Audible is the world’s largest seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information and educational programming. Since inventing and commercializing the first portable digital audio player in 1997, our focus on technological innovation and superior programming has earned us millions of subscribers around the world. We’re an Amazon subsidiary with a presence on four different continents, yet we maintain a startup vibe and small company feel. We offer more than 475,000 downloadable audiobooks, audio editions of periodicals, and other programs, and an escalating array of listening products that enrich daily life for a growing population of people who want to be more productive, well-informed, and thoughtfully entertained.

The Problem: 

With over 100 millions Alexa-enabled devices in the world, the opportunity to use the Amazon-created personal assistant to get you the help you need SHOULD be only an utterance away -- but it wasn't. Alexa can sing you a song. Alexa can tell you who won the World Cup (USA! USA! USA!). Alexa can even sing a duet with Ed Sheeran. But Alexa couldn't do what world-class human assistants have been doing since the beginning of modern time: connect you with another human being.

Audible customers are typically on-the-go. They listen to Audible books when their eyes & hands are busy. They travel, garden, jog, vacuum, commute, chop firewood -- if they need help exchanging a book, picking their next great listen, or learn to nuances of listening at 2.0x speed, why should we expect their eyes & hands to suddenly be free? Customers should be able to use Alexa and their Alexa-enabled devices to connect to and converse with a live Audible support specialist without any additional effort.

The Solution: 

Nearly 30% of Audible members, in the U.S., own an Alexa device. Offering customers the ability to interact with customer service through Alexa provides another opportunity to delight customers with our award winning customer service. A customer can quickly contact customer service for support from the comfort of their device by simply uttering four words thereby making it easy without the hassle of figuring out how to contact. To reach customer service through Alexa, one can utter any of the following utterances that will then connect to customer service: “Call Audible Customer Care”, “Contact Audible Customer Care”, “Contact Audible Customer Service”, “Call Audible Customer Service”.

The Results: 

On April 24, 2019, Audible introduced a new hands-free customer service experience on Alexa. By saying “Alexa, call Audible”, U.S. customers are connected directly to a highly-skilled, dedicated expert who can answer questions, resolve technical issues, make Audible book recommendations, and more. The new experience is available to customers in the United States 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is entirely hands-free.



This new channel of communication between Customers and Audible has integrated Customer Service even further into the value proposition that having an Audible membership provides. Seamless, hands-free access to live support wherever and whenever you need it.


Top Devices Used: 1. Dot 2. Echo 3. Show 4. Tablet 5. Spot

Top Utterances: 1. Call Audible T2. Contact Audible T2. Call Audible Customer Service

Top Contact Reason: Member Book Return/Exchange (+150% more often compared to other top reasons on phone/chat/email)

Four operational KPIs (Response Rate, Issue Resolution, Quality, & Effort) perform ABOVE comprable KPIs for all other live support channels. On average, +135bps higher.

The Technology: 

Technology is all in-house (Amazon/Audible) utilizing the Alexa Voice Service APIs.

Disruptive Factor: 

We are the FIRST organization to launch live, real-time support via Alexa-enabled devices. This is the first ever Alexa-powered customer support system. It’s not Alexa supplanting the entire customer support platform, but it is the first time that Alexa will be linked up to an existing help center (granted one operated by an Amazon-owned company). This isn’t the same as just calling the customer support phone number. We've worked closely with the Alexa team to build a unique internal tool specifically for Echo-owning Audible subscribers. We have not announced what this special treatment entails, but we refer to it as a “new experience” that “ushers in a new era of customer service.” More to come...

Shining Moment: 

The Audible team came together (with Amazon team help) to actually beat Amazon to market (by a week!) with this Alexa feature. Amazon puts the customer first. Always!

About Your Organization

Audible is the world’s largest seller and producer of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, enriching the lives of our millions of listeners every day. With our customer-centric approach to technological innovation and superior programming, Audible has reinvented a media category, and is the driving force behind today’s audio entertainment revolution.