Digital transformation for automotive retail giant.


JCT600 is a 50-site, £1bn automotive brand representing 21 car marques across Northern England.

Since the family-business was established in 1946, the mission has always been to not just be the biggest, but the best – a crucial approach in a competitive market.

However, a staggered telecoms investment over time had resulted in inconsistencies when it came to the technology utilised and the potential level of service delivered.

At a Glance

>£1m cloud voice infrastructure roll out.
50 sites connected.
Salesperson availability has risen from 65% to 95%.
PCI compliance ensured for call-recorded card payments.
Two disaster recovery points for business continuity.
Continuous improvement culture fostered.
Agility to adapt to Covid-19 with minimal customer impact.

The challenge

When legacy phone systems started to hold JCT600 back, the decision was made to overhaul the telecoms technology used across every site, to maintain a truly people-first approach to the company’s communications and uphold the brand’s customer service levels.

The hunt began for a cloud-based voice solution that would ensure a consistent, reliable service.

In addition to transforming the quality of dialogue between colleagues and customers, the solution had to ensure PCI compliance for call recorded card payments too, as well as deliver increased resilience, flexibility, agility, enhanced reporting and predictable Opex pricing.


An Avaya ACS Select system powered by Vapour – one of Avaya’s fastest-growing mid-market voice partners – was proposed.

“We’d previously attended a number of Avaya events and been impressed not only by Vapour’s knowledge and skill-set, but also their wider business model – cloud-based services delivered securely through their own secure private network,” said JCT’s group IT manager Chris Gensmantel.

The idea of migrating from an on-premise estate to a private service therefore appealed greatly, as the all-important quality of voice wouldn’t be compromised.

In deciding how to upgrade, JCT600 could have invested in a traditional new phone system. But, as Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer elaborated, who wants to buy expensive hardware when it’s possible to invest in the cloud environment, benefit from two disaster recovery points for business continuity, and experience greater flexibility?

“This cloud journey has represented a complete digital transformation – an overhaul that will see every dealership harness the power of intuitive WebRTC technology and propel itself forward,” he said. “Plus, they’ll always operate on the best and latest version of technology available, with 99.999% SLA rates.”

Speaking at the time, Chris Gensmantel added: “In so many parts of our business, we excel in terms of state-of-the-art, technology-driven customer service. Vapour’s solution will allow us to streamline our systems and processes, whilst integrating voice into the other exciting technologies we’ve implemented throughout JCT.

“Our call centre also plays a crucial role in the long-term, customer-focused service delivery of the group, so we’ll continue to invest in the infrastructure we provide to this team. Avaya’s AWFOS (Avaya Workforce Optimization Select) product will increase efficiencies and we’re trialling mobile Avaya, plus Avaya video and audio conferencing too.”
A >£1m solution as cutting-edge as JCT600’s vehicles, was rolled out over 18 months.

A carefully-defined stakeholder agreement was devised from day one – this project wasn’t about speed, but excellence. Vapour hosted weekly review meetings via video, voice and on-site, to ensure every milestone, small and large, was met, and actions captured and completed.
80% of work occurred out of hours – to safeguard the customer experience/minimise staff disruption – which Vapour supported effortlessly so as not to impact on business performance.

Vapour engineers delivered phased on-site training to gradually empower colleagues with the skills required to make optimum use of the solution. Basic functionality was the focal point to begin with, to secure the all-important initial buy-in of staff. To build on this foundation, deeper operability training was then rolled out to contact centre personnel, so that the benefits of the digital transformation could really take shape. Reporting and supervising skills were two of the most value-adding elements, for example.

Floor walking on ‘go live’ days helped to resolve any snagging issues in real-time, and increased confidence levels among the workforce – the teams wanted a new platform, but the change was still daunting. This reassuring presence therefore helped to consequently establish a business-wide relationship of trust between Vapour and the entire employee-base.

The results

Avaya ACS Select system powered by Vapour – one of The project was never cost-focused – in fact the feature-rich solution is 16% more expensive per annum. But the positive bottom-line impact of improved customer service is unquantifiable. What is measurable is the CSAT performance increase of between 5-11% per site.

Other project outcomes include:

  • Agility – the team adapted rapidly to COVID-19 with minimal customer impact
  • Resilience – two disaster recovery points for business continuity
  • Centralisation of JCT600’s 100-seat contact centre with group-wide communications consistency
  • PCI compliance for call-recorded card payments
  • ~10% reduced mistakes/failures in systems/processes, evidenced by a reduction in customer return work caused by lack of information
  • 99.99% SLA rates
  • Enhanced reporting (from floor to board) for increased business-wide transparency of company successes/areas to address. The digital transformation ethos is therefore now one of continuous improvement.
To discuss anything of interest in our projects, please contact us.
"This project is constantly evolving. We haven’t invested in hardware, phone lines and a support contract. Vapour said from day one that the success of this digital transformation would be defined by working in partnership. There have been tough moments/conversations at times, but they’ve been handled swiftly and expertly, and we now continue to invest more and more in tech – including Avaya’s Workforce Optimization Select product, video, audio conferencing and more – to deliver an even better customer experience"
Chris Gensmantel

Want to know more about the technologies described here?

To discuss anything of interest in our projects, please contact us.
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