If you’re an Amazon Prime fan you are probably well-acquainted with how the website works. Amazon.com is, in many ways, the flagship example of how modern consumer commerce best functions.

One of the more intriguing ways Amazon reaches out to its customers is through “product suggestions.” This is basically the tracking of your browsing and purchase habits and then suggesting similar or related products you might want to buy.

That most retailers actively data-mine their customers’ purchase patterns and habits is no big secret. It’s such a part of the consumer culture now that many people simply expect their preferred brands to know who they are, what they want and the best way to present it before any kind of sales pitch occurs.

Is your bank or credit union up to speed on this kind of high-level consumer engagement? It’s possible your member/customer information system retains data (such as who has a car loan, who doesn’t have a checking account, who has a teenager planning to go to college, etc.). While that’s a good thing, your staff must also actively engage with consumers on a personal, face-to-face level in order to gather critical information.

“Sales,” to many people (both consumers and employees) is a dirty word. Not many people want to think of themselves as a “salesperson” and even fewer consumers want to talk to one. The beauty of using the data you already have about consumers (whether digitally stored, mentally stored or, hopefully, a combination of the two) is that it isn’t selling. Not in the traditional sense.

When your employees actively engage with consumers, they are simply hearing what the consumer says they need and pairing a product or service to that. It’s more product knowledge/engagement than overt sales. The old adage “people love to buy, but they hate to be sold to” definitely applies here.

If your bank or credit union is not actively engaged with consumers and using the information they provide to offer your own version of the Amazon.com “product suggestions,” you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Take steps now to remedy that situation.