Like most industries, the independent advisory industry has plenty of its own acronyms: CFP, RIA, BD, RR, AUM, etc. The newest one is “OX,” and it’s causing confusion among firm owners.
OX is short for “operational experience,” which means the back side of the CX (client experience) coin. That is, everything that goes on — or doesn’t go on — behind the scenes in an advisory firm to create and deliver the desired client experience.
In our experience, OX gets no respect in most firms — and very little respect and support in those firms that do try to support it.
Here’s the problem: Most advisory business owners (who typically have little to no business training) like to focus on coming up with new projects to “improve” their firms. These ideas tend to come from other firm owners, a presentation at a conference, or an article in a trade publication.
But regardless of the inspiration, these owners get attached to their current idea as the “key” that will enable them to reach their business goals.
There’s nothing wrong with having business goals and trying to attain them. But problems arise when owners get so excited about and attached to their new ideas that they rush to implement them — and tend to ignore problems with them, both before and after they arise.
To successfully introduce changes in an advisory firm, specifically changes to the “client experience” like new services or new technology, it’s essential that owners realize that these changes also will create changes in the firm’s operations — it’s OX.
Most important, these operational changes need to be understood, addressed and successfully implemented before any changes are made to the firm’s client experience.
Firm owners tend to love new ideas — but hate thinking about the details of new ideas that will make their business better. But the devil really is in the details.
And when operational details aren’t right, it will affect the staff’s delivery of the client experience — and jeopardize client relationships. It’s not enough to build a client experience — you must have OX to support it.
How to Move Forward
To get a growing firm’s OX right, you must take a hard look at how any new client services or experience will change the firm itself, as well as the day-to-day activities of partners and/or employees.