The 2017 FenderBender Awards: Jen Sosnoski
Picking Up the Pieces
Office Manager / CARSTAR of Langhorne / Langhorne, Pa.
Jen Sosnoski clearly remembers the emotion in the customer’s voice when she called the shop to have her car towed in. The customer had been on her way to a funeral when the accident happened and needed to get in a loaner vehicle as soon as possible. As the then-CSR at Fred Beans Ford of Newtown, Sosnoski called a tow truck for the customer, only to learn it was a 45-minute wait, meaning the customer wouldn’t make it to the funeral in time. So, Sosnoski left the office to personally pick up the customer, bring her to the shop and get her into a rental vehicle as soon as possible—an act that elicited an appreciative call from the customer after the funeral.
“She’s truly devoted to customer service and she cares about the customer,” says Fred Beans, president of Fred Beans Family of Dealerships in the Philadelphia area. “She’s genuine, caring, wants to do the right thing and has a great attitude.”
It’s an attitude that Sosnoski has carried over into her new role as office manager of CARSTAR of Langhorne, one of the six CARSTAR locations that is part of the Fred Beans group.
Since joining the Langhorne team one year ago, Sosnoski, who boasts a CSI of 94.9 percent, has had to deal with her fair share of challenges, including rebuilding the trust in the $4 million shop of which she now is so very proud.
After the long-time manager left and took a majority of the staff with him, it took a toll on the shop. It was up to Sosnoski to pick up the pieces upon her arrival.
The staff that remained was left on the fence and needed structure since the shop’s new manager was often busy running two locations. So she accepted the challenge, using her well-honed customer service skills to turn the shop’s culture around.
How did she start to tackle this problem? A simple, yet impactful, solution: She cared about her staff.
With 14 techs and three painters, along with other staff, this was the largest shop Sosnoski had ever worked in. In an effort to bring the staff closer together, she has implemented monthly shop meetings where she orders the team lunch and discusses numbers and strategies. It’s one way she feels makes the staff really take part in a bigger goal.
Before she reaches her office in the morning, Sosnoski is usually dealt her hand of issues for the day. But her day-to-day issues never prevent her from making her rounds every morning in the shop, making sure to talk to everyone.
“The guys will stop me in the shop, ‘Hey Jen, hey Jen!’” she says, laughing.
Setting an example to instill that positive attitude back into the shop, she always enforces her open-door policy among the staff. They don’t have to come in and talk about work, she says. Sometimes she’ll sit and listen to them talk about their families and other things going on in their lives.
“They are all so welcoming and they treat me like one of the guys,” she says.
If her love for her staff wasn’t enough, she loves her customers, as well. She loves seeing the transformation of the customer’s reactions from upset after a traumatic experience to picking up their car with a smile on their face.
“That’s very rewarding,” she says.
Sosnoski says that she tries to instill sympathy and patience in her front office staff, especially since she understands that accidents can be traumatic. She says she wants her employees to take care of the customer as much as possible so that all the customer has to do is drop off the car and pick it back up.
Beans says that Sosnoski has always been supportive and has helped orchestrate the company's transition into a CARSTAR franchise. He believes Sosnoski is a strong ally and support mechanism.
“I feel as an owner that we are blessed,” he says. ”I know she’s a strong right arm to our manager.”