How your Action responds to errors can make or break the user experience. When users are unable to complete their tasks, they’re unlikely to talk to your Action in the future. One poorly handled error can outweigh dozens of successful interactions. But with good error handling, the user won’t even know an error occurred.
Keep in mind the following considerations:
Assume the user is being cooperative, and what they’re saying is relevant and valid. Users are just trying to accomplish something; it's your job to figure out what that is.
Be honest and transparent when explaining why something doesn’t work.
Good error handling is context-specific. Even though you’re asking for the same information, the conversational context is different on the second or third attempt.
There are 3 types of errors:
Errors in human-to-human conversations
Errors in human-to-computer conversations
Imagine you’re talking to someone and...
...they don’t respond to you.
The Action hasn’t heard the user’s response, or the user hasn’t responded by the time the microphone closes.
...they say something that confuses you.
The Action can't understand or interpret the user's response in context.
...they ask you to do something you can’t do.
The systems that the Action depends on for information can’t complete the task.