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Comcast announces it wants to stop being the worst company in America

Comcast announces it wants to stop being the worst company in America


The company says it plans to hire 5,500 people to rebuild its bad image

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Nobody likes Comcast. The cable giant is consistently ranked as one of the worst companies in the United States, but maybe, just maybe, it wants to make nice. Today the company said it's creating 5,500 customer service jobs as part of a "multi-year customer experience transformation." A plan to make you like Comcast, or at least tolerate it.

"Setting a goal to always be on time for customer appointments by Q3 of 2015."

While the company's already decidedly lost its government-level battles, with the feds ruling against its stance on net neutrality and its proposed Time Warner Cable merger, it sounds like Comcast is now waging a ground war, starting with one of the most irksome of its problems: maintenance. The company says it's "setting a goal to always be on time for customer appointments by Q3 of 2015," and investing in training for technicians so they know what they're doing when they get there. If a technician doesn't arrive on time, Comcast says, it'll automatically credit a customer with $20. (The company has offered this before, and it's not clear if the offer is being expanded.)

Read: The worst company in America

Some of the other changes, according to Comcast, will be happening on the company's technology side: rolling out changes to customer service tools to make calls less painful, and creating a new system to "simplify billing and create better policies to provide greater consistency and transparency to customers." Comcast also says it's making new tools to reduce in-store wait times, and bringing a "tech tracker" it recently launched in Boston to the rest of the country.

Why should anyone believe this will help? Maybe they shouldn't. Comcast has a less than sterling track record when it comes to delivering on promises, especially when it comes to customer service. Last year, the company hired an executive whose entire MO was improving how Comcast is perceived, a change there hasn't been much evidence for yet. Plus, problems with the company extend beyond customers, to how it treats its contractors and employees, not to mention its less than palatable approach to politics.

But it's a sign that it wants to improve, if not for moral reasons, at least for business ones. If the company's mega-merger plan was a way to tighten its grip on a customer base, eliminating choice for some consumers, this may be the fall back: help them learn to live with you instead.

Verge Video archive: Why is Comcast's customer service so bad? (2014)