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What can I do with my CCXP?

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International 2 Comments

In this short and personal post I discuss the question – what can I do with my CCXP?

Someone wrote to me  a short while ago.  Here’s what they said.

“Dan, I have earned my CCXP.  But I’m not sure what to do with it.”

And I thought that he asked a fair question.  So I’ve written this short and personal post to discuss and answer that question.

What can I do with my CCXP?

(For those who don’t know, the CCXP stands for the Certified Customer Experience Professional certification credential).

 

Earning a professional credential like the CCXP

I think that the biggest benefit to earning a professional credential is the journey you take and the people you meet along that journey.

Whether that’s a 4-year degree or preparing for a few weeks or months (or more) for your CCXP.

Not just getting that piece of paper to hang in your office or show off to recruiters.

If you’re just after putting a few letters after your name, then you’re missing out on the most important part.  The growth, development & socialization that go along with earning those letters.

Bu with that said, getting that piece of paper is also a milestone accomplishment.  It deserves to be celebrated.

I still keep my university graduation photo in my office because I remember that day fondly and how happy my parents were for me.

But that piece of paper doesn’t do anything for me on its own.  It doesn’t have magic properties.

I have to proactively do something with it.

 

The role of leadership

I often get to work with Managers & Team Leaders in Contact Center environments.  And when we’re covering the topic of leadership, I like to use this definition –

Leadership is the combination of skills, knowledge and experience that enable a person to inspire others to accomplish a shared goal.

We begin by first defining the shared goal or goals.  What is it specifically that we’re try to achieve?  Because if you aren’t sure what you’re trying to achieve it’s going to be hard to get there.

Once we answer the shared goal question, we work backwards and brainstorm the specific skills, knowledge & experience we need to inspire people around us to achieve the shared goal.

And that can be a powerful exercise for people.  Because in the heat of doing our work, it’s not easy to step back and reflect on what we need to know and indeed what kind of people we need to be to inspire others.

So why do I bring up leadership in this post?

Because if you’ve earned your CCXP credential, I think it matters that you see yourself as a leader.

Regardless of what your job title is or what your work function is, you’re in a terrific position to inspire other people to achieve Customer Experience goals.

And with the CCXP credential, you’ve demonstrated that you have the required skill, knowledge & experience.  The credential measures and validates that.

So now that I understand that leadership & inspirataion are involved –  what can I do with my CCXP?

That’s the important question.

 

What can I do with my CCXP?

Whether it’s an MBA, a university degree or a professional certification like the CCXP, I think you can look at three ‘categories’ of doing.

Here they are.

1.  What can I do in my own job function?

One of the principles of Customer Experience management is that you maintain an ongoing pipeline of CX related projects to work on.

And given the breadth and depth of the topic, it’s unlikely that you’d ever run out of ways to apply what you know about CX to your job.  Whether you’re in Finance, Engineering, Operations, Customer Service, Marketing or a formalized Customer Experience function.

Creating new rituals, rewriting job descriptions, looking at how performance is measured, earning Employee engagement, considering specific ways to improve VOC results, designing new experiences or using strategy to prioritize decisions.

The list of potential CX related projects is nearly endless.

One of my favourite descriptions of Customer Experience is ‘thoughtfulness made visible’.  Of course being a thoughtful person is a great first step.

But for me this particular description refers to thoughtfulness in first understanding and then improving the experiences people go through. Whether for Employees, Partners or Customers.

You’ll never run out of things to do when you see things this way.

What behaviours do Customer Experience professionals display?

 

2.  What can I do with other job functions?

The famous leadership expert, John C. Maxwell writes, “The true measure of leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less.”

That’s such a powerful statement.

Influence, Leadership and the CCXP credential. A big part of Customer Experience involves working across functional boundaries.  If you’re in a formalized CX function that’s pretty clear already.

But what about if you’re in a more discrete function such as Tech, Marketing or Finance?   Is it still appropriate to work across functional boundaries?

If the true measure of leadership is influence then the answer is a big ‘yes’.

Early in my career when I was in Finance, my big boss asked me to conduct some ‘How to Read a Financial Statement’ sessions for all the department heads.

And when I wrote the content for those sessions, my intent was not to just teach the department heads how to read financial statements. But to influence these important department heads to rethink about the our Finance function in general.

To see us as a trusted partner who could help them.  Not just the folks who nagged about budgets.

When I was managing large Customer Service operations, I regularly asked our company department heads across legal, marketing, finance & tech to come in and teach our Agents about what they did in their jobs and how it impacted Customers.

But I was also giving these departments heads a platform to positively influence our Agents about our company and our shared goals.

Whether you decide to bring in department heads like I did, or develop a series of short talks on Customer Experience – don’t underestimate your ability to positively influence those around you.

 

3.  What can I do outside of my organization?

I think every industry professional has a responsibility to write and/or speak and share their learnings, mistakes & perspectives.  And as a CCXP you are an industry professional.

You serve as a role model for the industry.  It’s an integral part of who you are and what you do.

I know that writing, speaking or recording videos takes time.  And that when you first begin it can feel overwhelming.

But through the process you find your voice.  You establish a perspective.  Your perspective.

And your writing and/or speaking improves.  These are important life skills.  And they enhance your ability to inspire and influence as well.

And finally, today there are so many groups, both virtual and offline, that have Customer Experience as their mandate.  It’s quite easy to find these groups and become an active part of the wider community.

CX lessons we can learn from the Contact Centre industry

My favorite John F. Kennedy quote

Perhaps because I grew up in a proud military family I’ve always loved this quote from President John F. Kennedy.

Using your CCXP credential to serve others. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

For me this quote embodies what it means to serve.  To look outside yourself to others.

As a CCXP, or MBA or degree holder or holder of any number of professional certifications that are out there, I think that looking to this quote as a touchstone can help.

It’s not what the credential can do for you.  It’s what you do with that credential for others.

And when you look at things this way, you’ll never run out of ideas or opportunities to serve.

I’m proud to be a CXPA Recognized Training Provider and help people on their CCXP journey.  But I still believe that it’s what you do with the credential after you earn it that matters the most.

Thanks for reading!

Daniel

 

 

 

How to learn more about Customer Experience and prepare for certification

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

This article is about how to learn more about Customer Experience and prepare for Customer Experience certification.

I share my experience helping thousands of Contact Centre & Customer Service professionals obtain industry certification and how those learnings apply to Customer Experience certification today.

Customer Experience certification

If you decide to pursue the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) Certification, there’s an important caveat.

You must apply to take the exam.

The following text is taken directly from the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) website:

Eligibility
“Anyone with a bachelor’s degree and three years of full-time CX-specific work experience is eligible to take the exam. An alternate pathway to eligibility is a high school diploma (or equivalent) and five years of full-time CX-specific work experience.”

Preparing for the Exam
“The Certified Customer Experience Professional exam is a 100-question test administered at convenient testing sites around the world.  Eligible candidates should not need training or studying.”

That last sentence really struck me (highlighting is my own).

That last sentence implies that folks who successfully apply to take the exam will – by dint of experience – be able to pass the exam.

That there is no need to prepare for Customer Experience certification.

But passing a certification exam – purely by dint of experience – has not been my experience.

Let me explain.

Ten years of Contact Centre certification exams

Over the course of 10 years, I helped thousands of individuals around the world prepare to take the rigorous Call Centre Industry Advisory Council (CIAC) certification exams.

CIAC was comprehensive and targeted to the senior level.

The certification involved:

  • No book, no notes, proctored examinations
  • (4) domains of knowledge including Operations Management, People Management, Customer Relationship Management and Leadership & Business Management
  • 60 – 100 complex multiple choice questions for each one of the 4 domains of knowledge (so 4 exams in total)
  • Certification processes managed and awarded by a reputable non-profit association

And here’s what I learned from that long and rich experience.

The folks who attended our various workshops and subsequently passed the exams were smart, experienced leaders in the industry.

They were committed to growing and demonstrating their expertise.

And it didn’t matter whether they were from Hong Kong or Houston.

They shared that their ability to pass each exam was based on a combination of their experience + formalized know-how.

Both mattered.

The valued both, they benefited from both and they felt they could confidently apply both back at work.

Experience + Know-How.

I’d argue that this same formula applies to prepare for Customer Experience certification as well.

How I went from Contact Centre amateur to Contact Centre professional

The 3 Personas to prepare for Customer Experience certification

I see 3 Personas related to taking and passing a Customer Experience certification exam.

Persona 1:  A working professional who is likely to be approved to take the CCXP exam and who is likely to pass the exam without too much effort or study.

I’d argue that Persona 1 is the rare bird across the 3 presented.

I’d list many Consultants (including myself) in this group.

Persona 2:  A working professional who is likely to be approved to take the CCXP exam, but lacks exposure, experience or know-how around some of the competency areas.

Given the breadth of Customer experience know-how across the required (6) domains of knowledge that’s to be expected.

My advice for these folks is to review the competency blueprint and self-diagnose on areas of strength & weakness.

Books, webinars, articles, networking forums are all relevant solutions to close gaps.

And of course, if desired, a structured workshop that covers the competency blueprint.

Customer Experience is a big topic.  Using a structured framework for your learning helps.

If you simply watch 10 webinars, read 5 books and follow 20 Linkedin articles, without a framework, you may find the overall experience confusing.

Persona 3:  A working professional who is unlikely to be approved to take the CCXP exam, perhaps in Contact Centre or Customer Service (or other discipline!) looking to level up into Customer experience but lacks exposure, experience or know-how around competency areas required in the exam.

The person who works to proactively prepare themselves for the next step in their career.

In the Customer Experience world, they might be someone who’s currently in Customer Service or Contact Centre management, looking to make the move to Customer Experience.

My advice

My advice for these folks is to review the competency blueprint, self-diagnose on areas of exposure (or lack of exposure) and work with your boss to see how you can get real hands-on experience in that area.

And one of my favorite bits of career advice for this group in particular is:

Run to trouble.

By that I mean, step forward and see how you can help your Organization solve some kind of Customer experience problem.

There will never be a shortage of Customer Experience problems!

You’ll gain exposure and build a reputation as a problem solver.

And as with Persona 2, remember that a structured approach helps.

The volume of information and know-how around Customer Experience can be overwhelming – especially when you’re first starting out.

A structured workshop could be helpful to clarify competency areas and explain concepts – even if the actual certification process comes further down the road.

In the Customer Experience industry there is an added challenge

The tendency for organizations to rebrand job descriptions with the words ‘Customer Experience’ creates an added challenge.

Especially when the underlying job responsibilities and scope don’t change.

Someone once wrote to me that all Contact Centres should be rebranded as Customer Experience Centres.

I heartily disagree.

Yes – Contact Centres contribute to the overall Customer Experience – sometimes mightily so.

But in and of themselves they don’t represent the entirety of the Customer Experience.

You can point to a dog and call it a cat all you want. But that doesn’t make it so.

What you end up with are a lot of folks who have Customer Experience in their job title, don’t actually work in Customer Experience and who lack fundamental Customer Experience know-how.

Not a great hallmark for the Customer Experience industry.

It might be stretching it – but if you have Customer Experience in your job title, you’d best consider putting a recognized certification behind that.

In closing

I hope this short article has been helpful.

As with anything worth learning and doing – remember that it is about the journey and not just the destination.

We offer both a 2-day CCXP Exam Preparation Workshop and online CCXP Practice Quizzes that can help.

CCXP Practice Quizzes

All the very best in your Customer Experience journey and as you prepare for Customer Experience certification.

Daniel

Daniel Ord