Muneera AlSunaid had never heard of a certification in customer experience (CX) until she was in a 2017 interview with the COO of the largest insurance company in Saudi Arabia. In the meeting, the impressed executive urged her to apply her knowledge toward obtaining the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) credential, saying it “was the most-known certification” and would gain her more recognition and respect at a time when the kingdom and Saudi companies were eager to hire skilled CX professionals.
AlSunaid—now head of customer excellence for the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance in Riyadh--immediately adopted that goal. After researching the process on the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) website, she tracked down training providers and masterclasses that she could squeeze into her hectic days.
The discipline of CX in Saudi Arabia is still emerging, so AlSunaid found community and camaraderie with the global members of the CXPA. AlSunaid studied and learned, then studied some more. When she finally took the exam—she did not pass.
She faced a language barrier since the test is in English, and certain words on the test were unknown to her--although when later translated, she knew the correct responses.
But she did not let this barrier stop her. Fellow CXPA members continued to push her until she ultimately succeeded.
“I'm so thankful for this journey, because I learned from it a lot, a lot, a lot!” AlSunaid enthuses. “I'm now trying to guide people in my country to take the exam and learn lessons from me. I've drafted a whole post for LinkedIn” because so many people have reached out to ask how they, too, can become certified.
“There are so many opportunities to raise awareness about the journey for gaining the CCXP,” she says, adding that the kingdom’s Vision 2030 to reduce reliance on oil revenues has generated a high need for CX professionals among companies that want to do business in Saudi Arabia as it transforms its economy.
She also advised potential applicants to remember four things:
- Approach the exam with the right attitude. “It’s not just a certification to gain; it’s a certification that can help you in your daily work.” In her exam studies, AlSunaid highlighted information that inspired her to dig deeper and then applied it directly to her work. “The first thing I will advise people is to learn to enhance your daily work by applying the information from your studies,” she says. “For instance, for me, the part about culture was the biggest thing, and the need for more cross-functionality was the second thing.”
- Understand the certification process and the elements of the exam. “Take a master class,” AlSunaid advises.
- Study important English keywords and performance indicators, especially verbs. One example she cites: “Attribute.” “Once I translated some of the key words, I thought, ‘Oh, that was an easy question.’”
- Don’t give up! Keep pushing yourself to learn more and repeat the exam until you pass—it’s worth it.