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Forgive and forget? Comcast pledges better service, $20 credits for tardiness

While it’s no secret that there’s not much love for Comcast out there, the communications giant showed signs this week that it may finally be ready to make significant changes to improve its notoriously bad customer service. And while we’ve certainly heard this tune before, the company yesterday laid out concrete goals to make that happen, including the creation of 5,500 new customer service jobs across the US as part of a “multi-year customer experience transformation.”

Atrocious customer service has long been Comcast’s most glaring flaw — it’s a major reason the company was deemed the Consumerist’s “Worst Company in America” both last year and in 2010. Whether it’s renaming customers with expletives, cashing little old ladies’ rent checks, or driving customers right out of their own homes, the record shows some serious room for improvement, to say the least.

Related: 4 reasons Comcast’s tarnished reputation is beyond repair

Apart from bolstering its staff, Comcast’s goal is to become more reliable when it comes to customer appointments, with an initiative to give out $20 credits to customers for a late technician. One of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts’ goals is (sadly) simple: always being on time for customer appointments by the third quarter of 2015. The move comes directly after Comcast’s proposed $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable was shutdown by the Federal government — a proposal that provoked vocal consumer decent, with the company’s customer service issues ranking high among a litany of concerns.

“Our products weren’t getting some of the excitement they deserved because you were waiting on hold on the phone or we missed an appointment,” Roberts said at a press conference, according to Variety.

Also announced at the conference were plans for three new customer support centers in Albuquerque, N.M., Spokane, WA, and Tuscon, AZ which will employ 2000 people. Another notable new feature at Comcast: a “tech tracker,” which will enable customers to both track the location of their technician and rate the experience.

“We want to see progress on many metrics, but we want to see progress that people will recommend us,” said Roberts. “It boils down to the whole relationship that the consumer has with us when they are asked the question, ‘Would you recommend us to your friends and colleagues?'”

Considering its previous record, and a long line of broken promises, it’s hard to take the company’s pledges as anything but lip service at this stage. That said, taking actionable steps to improve its customer service is a step in the right direction. These new initiatives show that Comcast may be willing to take action — and not just paint broad strokes about “working hard to improve the customer service experience.”

The verdict on whether or not anything comes out of this customer service expansion is yet to come, but it certainly can’t hurt. There is one thing we do know, though: Comcast will have to create a near-nationwide, ground-up effort just to get back to ground zero — and that’s difficult task.