IDC Names Best in Future of Customer Experience Award Winners

The overall winner is making an impressive impact on customer experience, effort, and engagement

NEEDHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#BestinFutureofCustomerExperience–International Data Corporation (IDC) announced today that Samsung Electronics America has been named the Overall Winner of the 2023 IDC Future Enterprise Best in Future of Customer Experience North America Awards for its “Samsung Care Digital Transformation Powered by SMS, Enhanced with AI” project. The annual award recognizes organizations that deliver innovative customer experiences offering value-based outcomes to customers. The overall award winner also demonstrated how it effectively transformed the way customer-related initiatives are managed and executed in the organization.

The runner-up to Samsung Electronics America’s overall award is Aira at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The City of Houston Fire/EMS Department has been named second runner-up.

Samsung Electronics America, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and the City of Houston Fire/EMS Department will be presented with their awards at a virtual event this fall. To register for the event, and to learn more about the 2023 IDC Best in Future of Customer Experience winning initiatives, visit HERE.

Check out IDC’s Future of Customer Experience eBook.

IDC observes that in the Future of Customer Experience, relationships between customers and businesses will be built on cognitive empathy. The construct of “Empathy@scale” is a disciplined enterprise-wide imperative that applies digital technologies to transform the nature of engagement between the business and customer. It requires enterprise-wide collaboration across every stage of the customer lifecycle, from marketing to loyalty, touching both business and technology functions in every industry. Organizations will use data and employ technologies that facilitate contextual awareness, frictionless engagement, active learning, and sentiment measurement.

“Each of the organizations recognized in this year’s Best in Future of Customer Experience North America Awards presented customer-centered, omni-channel experiences that delivered value-based, empathetic customer outcomes,” said Sudhir Rajagopal, research director, Customer Experience, IDC. “It is exciting to see organizations that are scaling on the back of innovative technologies, such as AI and automation. Crucially, however, leading organizations are transforming experiences in a purposeful manner, prioritizing customer and business outcomes equally – the winning combination to achieve future business resiliency and empathy at scale.”

More about the Best in Future of Customer Experience Award-Winning Projects:

Overall Winner: Samsung Electronics, Samsung Care Digital Transformation Powered by SMS, Enhanced with AI

Project Details: Samsung’s innovative use of AI and SMS is threefold:

Support voice and digital from a single 1-800 number, and use AI to guide the consumer optimal path.

Increase agent efficiency by facilitating faster solutions and shortening the learning curve for new agents.

“Match Making” to assess their emotional state and specific issue, then match consumer to the best agent based on agent’s performance and knowledge.

The long-term goal of the program is to shift support from one heavily dependent on voice to SMS as the preferred support channel. SEA channel priorities were previously Voice > Chat > Social > SMS. The shift needed to bring clear, experience-based improvements to the consumer. To measure impact, SEA looked at Net Promoter Score (NPS), weighted CSat Score (CSS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Issue Resolution (IR) to gauge customer experience. Customer experience results for SMS are driven by two key reasons.

It is less intrusive to their routine. Support can be completed on their terms and timeline. A conversation can start at work, and end at home—8 hours later—seamlessly.

There is a growing degree of comfort and preference for SMS across broad consumer groups.

First Runner Up: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Aira at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Project Details: Technology is rapidly changing how people with people with disabilities get to and then navigate airports. Recognizing its potential and benefits, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) partnered with the high-tech company Aira to help visually impaired passengers through a mobile app to easily find gates, assistance services, retail outlets and restaurants for free.

And while it’s true other U.S. airports may have also adopted this technology, often the airports only discount the fee or only offer the service in terminal buildings or specified areas. Not so at PHX – it’s free throughout all traveling areas. Adding more significance is that America’s Friendliest Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country with more than 44 million passengers in 2022.

Aira’s 24/7 service connects travelers with trained, in-country agents who describe the traveler’s environment and use the Aira Information Dashboard (AID) to access the web, airport details, and more. The agent narrates what is displayed by the user’s camera, assisting them with such tasks as navigating the terminal, locating and identifying luggage, reading flight boards, dining and shopping, and arranging ground transportation.

At the touch of a button, Aira delivers instant access to information and independence.

Second Runner Up: City of Houston Fire/EMS Department, ETHAN (Emergency Telehealth and Navigation)

Project Details: Since 2014, the City of Houston Fire Department, with an ever-increasing population of 2.3 million and greater than 300,000 calls for service, has successfully delivered ETHAN (Emergency Telehealth and Navigation) to its residents and visitors. ETHAN Emergency Medicine Physicians utilizing MS Teams have conducted more than 30,000 virtual visits, which provide the same exam room experience independent of location within approximately six minutes. Prehospital management of EMS patients is essential, as studies indicate 35% of Emergency Department visits could be treated in alternative settings versus the highest cost destination and mode of transportation. Over that time, generally 15% of all ETHAN patients were dispositioned or managed away from the Emergency Department and 9 of every 10 patients avoided using the ambulance for transportation.

ETHAN has proven to be a safe and successful mobile integrated healthcare EMS program, with Management, Direction and Medical Oversite provided by Dr. Gonzalez (Program Director / EMS Associate Director) utilizing a data-driven analytics MS Power BI Operational Dashboard. To build on this success, ETHAN has developed a scalable Web-based portal (internally called Synapse), which connects to all 42 hospitals and healthcare facilities via the HIE to provide actionable data into a single patient record.

About the Future Enterprise Awards

The world is moving from digital transformation (DX) (as we know it) to Digital First. DX started with transformation from analog to digital. With contextualization, Digital First becomes the next evolution in DX. Digital is a permanent, yet dynamic fixture in this world. Digital First applies to any entity searching for a digital-based capability or enhancement that could improve our lives and desired outcomes. As we anchor ourselves in a digital-first world, one thing is clear. Organizations, private or public, large or small, will need to leverage technologies in an accelerated fashion to thrive. And the ones that can close the new digital gap through the greatest business value impact will become market leaders of tomorrow. These leaders are the Future Enterprises. To learn more about the Future Enterprise Awards, please visit

To learn more about the Future Enterprise North America Awards please contact Heather Ball at

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.


Heather Ball


Michael Shirer