Donating Blood In Germany – Service Design

Have been donating blood since the late nineties in multiple countries. This past week, it was my first time doing so in the country I have been living in for the past 8 years. It was about time.

Germany is slightly particular when it comes to blood donations. If one does not catch a special action visiting the office, university or some other place, one needs to make an appointment in the online system, which would be possibly a couple of months in the future.

So, when a friend told me that there will be a special blood donating venue in a week, I jumped in without hesitation. It was my chance to finally make it happen.

When we arrived, we were asked to fill a couple of corms – one looking through our most recent history of diseases or the lack of them and another for GDPR (naturally). I also had to fill in a form for my Blood Donation Card with the German Red Cross, so next donation would be fast-tracked.

Just like in every other country I have donated, not only the paperwork, the short consultation with a doctor, the blood type and heart rate checks, but also the whole process followed the same design in a big hall. It was just in the same place and not like the one in Bulgaria, where I have to move in and out of rooms.

What was different from any other donation I have performed was the speed and swiftness of the German Red Cross employees. From door to blood donation, it took me 5 mins with the waiting. And while I was waiting in line to get the blood bags labelled properly with my bar code, I was mesmerised by the movements of the man who was doing it.

I should have probably taken a video. He moved with determination and the ease of knowing exactly what to do and how to do it in order to save time. There was not a single extra move. It was like he had 10 hands and 100 fingers – each and everyone in use. Bags, bottle, papers… it didn’t matter, he was holding everything and moving incredibly fast.

I guess that cliché about German structure and efficiency is having a moment exactly like this one as an example. It took me a while to stop analysing it. I should have complimented him on his professionalism and approach, but I didn’t. I was still digesting the moves I witnessed.

In terms of service design and customer journey mapping, I couldn’t spot a single flaw in the setup. Everything was simply perfect – from start to finish. It was clear to me that the Red Cross employees were not only respecting their time but also the time of the donors. Nobody enjoys long waiting times – one of the few factors preventing people from donating, I’d imagine.

For the 45 minutes I was in that whole (including donating blood and eating a hot potato soup while catching up with my friend), I saw at least 30 people going through the journey, Wow! Chapeau to those who have designed this process and to those who came to donate blood.

My friend told me that not enough people are donating in Germany. Are there enough in your country? Did you know that you can literally save someone’s life with your blood donation? Think about it.

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

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