This release was originally distributed by the Governor's Press Office. The original release can be viewed on the Governor's website.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the appointment of Tonya Webster to serve as New York State’s first-ever Chief Customer Experience Officer. In this position, Webster will work directly with state agencies to champion a customer-centric culture and transform the way New York residents access services and benefits from the State. The creation of this important position was first announced in the Governor’s 2023 State of the State address and is part of an overall plan to make government work better for all New Yorkers. Webster is the first Governor-appointed Chief Customer Experience Officer in the country.
“Obtaining a service or benefit from a government agency does not have to be challenging, painful or frustrating,” Governor Hochul said. “With Tonya Webster on board and leading this effort, I am confident New York will set the standard when it comes to reducing pain points, increasing efficiencies, and putting the customer first. With a new lens on customer experience, we are going to show the nation what government can do.”
The Chief Customer Experience Office (CXO) is charged with improving how residents interact with New York State government. She will work alongside State agencies to ensure that the experience of residents is at the center of the services that are delivered to the public.
Webster will develop and lead the execution of a statewide customer experience strategy; collaborate with agency leaders to identify process improvements and set achievable data-driven goals; expand the state’s capacity for human-centered design by growing its teams of user researchers, designers and digital professionals; and ensure that customer experience principles are embedded into the state’s technology roadmap.
Webster's appointment builds on a number of ongoing initiatives centered around customer experience within New York State government, including improving the enrollment and shopping experience for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); accelerating and improving access to important tax credits, including a new free tax filing tool for eligible New Yorkers; expanding access to childcare assistance; speeding up the launch of improved communication platforms designed to make interacting with State agencies simpler and more efficient; and expanding the state’s teams of user researchers, designers and digital professionals to ensure that online transactions are user-friendly, understandable, accessible and adequately serving New Yorkers.
Webster has more than 20 years of experience leading customer experience transformations across the private sector. She most recently served as Senior Vice President of Service for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the former CXO for the health plan. Prior to her role with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tonya was the Vice President of Customer Experience for Comcast NBC/Universal, where she dramatically improved customer satisfaction and service. Webster will report to Kathryn Garcia, the Director of State Operations and Infrastructure.
New York State Chief Customer Experience Officer Tonya Webster said, “It is an honor and privilege to serve as New York State’s first Chief Customer Experience Officer, and I am eager to use my skillset to help make this government even more responsive to residents and their families. Governor Hochul has rightly made improving the customer experience a priority in New York, and I know that by working together we can remove obstacles and create interactions with government agencies that are fast, simple and more efficient for all.”
New York State Chief Information Officer Dru Rai said, “As public servants, we recognize that the people of New York must be at the center of everything we do. Governor Hochul’s initiative highlights the need to upgrade systems and reduce friction to make sure New Yorkers can easily and securely access the critical services they need and deserve. The Office of Information Technology Services will work closely with the state’s new CXO to cultivate a customer-centric approach throughout State government and design more user-friendly, accessible and streamlined processes, standards and digital platforms.”
White House Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Jason Miller said, “From day one, the Biden Administration has put customer-focused service delivery at the center of all we do. Governor Hochul’s appointment of a Chief Customer Experience Officer demonstrates a commitment to ensure government services are designed to put the needs of people first. There is nothing partisan about making government efficient and effective in serving the public, and states are on the front-line of improving public service delivery every day. We look forward to collaborating with New York’s Office of Customer Experience, and all states, as we work to deliver results for all Americans.”