If you are ready to signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your intention to be part of its leadership ranks, it’s time to work on earning your internationally recognized Certified Customer Experience Professional certification.
Doing so makes you a part of an elite group of certified CX professionals who lead the way in customer experience innovation and action.
The Basics of the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) Certification
The certification is called CCXP and it is offered by the CXPA organization. It is paid ($645 if you are not a member of the CXPA organization or $495 if you join them) and it is valid for two years. You will need to maintain the CCXP certification during those two years by attending CX events and by continuously learning. At the end of the two years, certified CX professionals pay either $349 (for nonmembers) or $199 (for CXPA members) to extend the certification for two more years. Once you acquire the CCXP certificate, your name is published in the official record of CCXPs around the world. There are certain rules about the eligibility to take the exam. Make sure you check the rules as part of your planning process. And please do not underestimate the CCXP exam! It is not that easy or intuitive. You will have to study the materials and go through some sample exams to get used to the format. Go back to your SAT and GMAT years and calibrate yourself to standardized tests thinking (I hate it too, but it is the only way to keep the exam objective…).
Why bother? Why take the CCXP exam?
It is still quite rare to find a certified Customer Experience professional (there are only ~700 certified professionals in the world), but that gives you even more of an edge in the CX industry. Even if you do not believe in certification as a general rule, I recommend you take this one to learn how to build a CX strategy and execute it across an organization in a structured and well organized way. The CCXP certification helped me understanding better my current role in my company and how it relates to the CX field overall. I found the learning process rewarding and I recommend it to every professional who is serious about pursuing a career in customer experience.
How to prepare for the CCXP exam?
Since the CCXP exam is not widely popular it is a bit challenging to find structural materials to prepare for the exam. That is one of the biggest challenges of the CCXP certification process. To help you prepare for the CCXP certification exam, I am sharing my study plan and resources. I took the exam last November when it was still in the “old” 70 question format (there is a talk about changing it to 100), and my result was 88.57%. You need 80% to pass. The approach I took is structured, since this is how I tend to think. Feel free to adapt it to fit your learning style.
The first thing I read was the Official CCXP handbook. Chapter 3 is the most useful for exam prep. It breaks down the 6 categories of the exam in detail, along with what percentage weight each category has in the total grading. Next, I bought the Michael Bartlett CCXP Exam Preparation booklet. I bought it in hard copy and memorized it. It was foundational and helpful. I highly recommend making Bartlett’s material the foundation of your study plan. He includes 40 exam questions in the back that are good preparation for the real exam format. I went through those CX exam study questions 2-3 times before sitting for the test.
The second thing I read was one of my favorite Customer Experience books – Outside In. The only regret I had was that I did not have enough time to read it twice. Pay special attention to the Chapter 6, and the early chapters. The next book that is a must for CX test prep is Chief Customer Officer 2.0 by Jeanne Bliss. She goes one step deeper into measurements and how to think about customer growth as a result of CX. You should read this book only after you have read Outside In. The next two books to cover are the Uncommon Service and The Effortless Experience. This list probably feels like a lot, but really, it is not. These are foundational materials and concepts that all CX professionals know about and use in their day-to-day language. Regardless of your interest in the CCXP certification, you should read these to get acquainted with the foundations of CX.
If you have never done journey mapping in your career, the Customer Journey Management class on the CXPA website is an affordable way to learn the foundations on the go. It is approximately $50 for CXPA members and it is a series of recordings that allow you to go at your own pace. My favorite – and the most practical – sections were taught by Valerie Peck. I am sure that there are other places to get educated on the topic. This is the approach I took. After that class, I had to face it that, in order to get a comprehensive teaching relevant to the CCXP exam, I needed to pay more. I chose Lynn Hunsaker’s online class and it put all of my readings in a structural format that allowed me to think fast on the exam. Her class CCXP Exam Prep Course is my favorite resource to prepare for the CCXP exam. She followed the structure of the exam and focused on the things that need to be memorized for the exam. I do not think that I would have passed the exam without spending a couple of days learning her class. The class is not cheap. It is as expensive as the exam itself. But it is totally worth it. I was not convinced that I need to pay the money and waited until the last moment to do so. In the end, I could not have made a better investment for myself.
Take Practice Tests
I don’t think I am telling you anything new that your SAT prep teachers did not when you were preparing for college. Practice exams are the best way to practice for standardized exams. But don’t do it too early and waste the good resource while you are still learning. I did nothing else but practice tests towards the end so I could really get comfortable with the format of the test. I also read all the answers and learned from my mistakes (again, nothing new, but people don’t do it). I used the CX University as a resource. I loved the tests. They were structured like the real test and were relevant. For about $70 I got hundreds of questions for each of the 6 topics on the test. Also, when I reached out for support, they were quick to respond and even gave me a free additional test to prepare for the exam better!
Everyone has a different learning style so my exact CX exam prep plan might not work for you. I hope that, regardless of your approach, the information I shared is helpful for you. None of those publishers have offered me any incentive to feature them here. This is my authentic experience, shared with you. Good luck joining the ranks of the Certified Customer Experience Professionals around the world! We need more of you for sure!