I went to donate blood yesterday.  I’ve been donating blood since I was a teenager, so I’ve dealt with many blood donation organizations.  Some, of course, are better than others.  By better, I mean more professional in the way they treat the donors from the beginning to end.

For example, I have been to blood centers where they make you wait forever and a day even if you have appointments, and I have been to places where they know me by name!  I’ve also been to places where the phlebotomists seem unsure of just how poke you (or worse, they make such messes that you end up with bruising for days if not weeks), and I’ve also interacted with those who are not only completely at ease with their job, they engage you in conversations so as to make you feel more comfortable during the ordeal.

In my opinion, blood donation should be treated like any other businesses — customer service is key.  If I were to run a blood donation center, I would put all my staff through customer service training.  In particular, I would make sure:

  1. The check-in personnel politely greet the potential donors. I have been to donor centers where the check-in personnel appeared as if they rather be anywhere but there!  Not only is that bad for business, it’s unprofessional!
  2. They speak proper English. “I ain’t got no time for this” is fine for conversation between friends, but it is subpar at best and downright unprofessional for conversations between the personnel and donors.
  3. They don’t chew gum. Not only is this unprofessional, this crosses the line of being unsanitary!
  4. They don’t discuss donors situation with each other. Ever since I returned from my vacation this past summer, they’ve had to double check my eligibility to donate due to the location I visited while I was on vacation.  However, there’s never a need to broadcast that to everybody in the vicinity while discussing my eligibility!
  5. The phlebotomists are well-trained. Being poked by an 18-gauge needle isn’t fun, but it can be made more palatable if the person doing the poking is experienced.  I actually have very good veins, so I can say this: if you have to poke me more than once, you don’t know what you are doing!  Unfortunately, I’ve been to places where they poked me more than three times, inserted the needle into my vein upside down, and lacerated my vein by puncturing it through and through.  That last one resulted in several bruises around the point of entrance bigger than any of my bike and rollerblade accidents in the past.

By the way, most of what I listed happened either yesterday while I attempted to donate blood or the last time I donated blood with them.  If I were a supervisor at Blood Centers of the Pacific, I would really re-evaluate my mobile units to make sure the level of service they deliver is up to par.  Needless to say, I won’t be returning to BCP again!

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