Earning donors’ trust

Corporate news
Annual Report 2021

Creating centres of the future

Plasma is a potential lifesaver. That’s why, at Octapharma, our plasma donors are as important to us as our patients.

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More than 80% of the plasma used to manufacture Octapharma products is sourced from company-owned donation centres.

In the body, plasma helps protect us from infection and blood disorders, and prevents blood clots. In its medical application, plasma has helped thousands of people survive and manage life-threatening diseases such as immunodeficiency disorders or haemophilia through the development of plasma-derived therapies.

Plasma is a potential lifesaver. That’s why, at Octapharma, our plasma donors are as important to us as our patients.

Improving our donors’ experience

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose significant challenges to our plasma donation centres and, when that is combined with increasingly  competitive pressure, our centres find themselves in a very challenging environment. In 2021, to combat these challenges, Octapharma PIasma, Inc. (OPI) embarked on an ambitious strategy to increase donor engagement and, by association, to increase plasma volumes.

“Donors are our fundamental stakeholders,” says Alice Stewart, Chief Operating Officer of OPI. “In 2021, we took a much more tactical approach towards donor engagement. We have rebuilt our business with an emphasis on providing a safe, inclusive and rewarding environment, not only for each donor but also for our employees.”

In a competitive industry, OPI is focused on fostering a culture and environment where each donor can expect exceptional personalised service – “something that will differentiate their experience with Octapharma positively,” adds Alice.

Investing in customer focus

To do this in the best way possible, OPI brought in fresh talent from customer-focused industries, such as financial services and retail, and is now using technology and data to better understand donors and engage with them in exciting new ways.

“OPI has increased the size of its marketing team, adding experience and skills in areas of growing need such as digital marketing, brand strategy and social media,” explains Tom Hewitt, Senior Director, Marketing & Donor Relations. “The team has been put together very intentionally to strengthen specific marketing skillsets and leadership experience.”

Engaging closely with donors

One example of the new team’s work was the launch of OctaApp in September 2021, to help streamline and enhance donor interactions while also generating data to drive engagement and increase plasma volumes. Less than two months after launch, the app was downloaded by more than 100,000 donors.

OctaApp allows donors to easily manage their donations, access their donation history, determine their eligibility and review their compensation. It also allows OPI to provide more personalised communication and donor incentives, and to use data analytics to generate better insights into what motivates donors to give their plasma.

“The app puts timely, relevant information into the hands of our donors, which will create more engagement and expand their relationship with Octapharma. This gives us access to donors in ways we cannot replicate with email or text messaging,” explains Bill Griner, Senior Director, Operations & Marketing. “This deeper level of interaction and service should strengthen donor loyalty in what is a very competitive industry.”

The goal of the app, Bill stresses, is also to support OPI colleagues in their everyday tasks and to eliminate manual and cumbersome processes. “All the tools that we are building are in fact helping teams to do their jobs more easily and more efficiently.”

Another way OPI has engaged donors was the launch of donor surveys in October 2021. These surveys give donors a voice and provide OPI with instant feedback on all phases of the donation process. Centres use this data to continuously improve the donor experience. In the first six weeks, OPI received over 30,000 completed donor surveys.

85% of the plasma used to manufacture Octapharma products is sourced from company-owned donation centres.

Creating centres of the future

OPI is also making plans to improve the donor experience at each donor centre – ensuring continuing strict safety measures and providing a friendly welcome from trained staff in re-designed interiors. “In this increasingly competitive industry, we know the donation experience drives donor preference and frequency,” says Andra Jones, Senior Director, Operations. “That is why investing in process innovation, the design of our centres and our team is so essential.”

“I always feel very safe and welcomed at the centre,” says Lee from Houston, who started donating in April 2021. “Yes, I was initially concerned about others around me possibly having COVID-19. However, the centre was very clean and OPI takes donor safety very seriously,” he adds, continuing: “Donating is now part of my normal weekly routine.”

A standard plasma donation is approximately 250 – 880 ml. This represents a small portion of the blood in a person’s body, as the average adult has about 5 litres. “You never know what impact you might be having on someone’s life,” says Becky from Pasadena, adding: “There’s an OPI donor centre near my mother’s home. She had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and needed plasma for liver cirrhosis. I started donating due to her illness and still donate twice a week. It feels like family here. And I guess it still feels the right thing to do.”


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