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Study: Kohl's has tightest relationship with customers

Kohl's trumped four other mid-tier department stores in Harris Interactive's recent Harris Poll, which used customer satisfaction research to rank retailers based on relationship metrics.

Competing against JCPenney (JCP), Sears, Dillard's and Macy's, Kohl's received the highest overall Customer Relationship Score as voted on by more than 2,000 adults in early December.

Three metrics were used for the study. The first, rational, refers to satisfaction and the degree to which expectations are met. Emotional is determined by how valued a customer feels and their overall level of trust in the store. Behavior looks at a consumers' likelihood to continue shopping and recommend the store to others.

Kohl's received the highest overall score with 5.7, followed by JCP at 5.6, Dillard's (5.5), Sears (5.5) and Macy's (5.4).

"What really stands in Kohl's favor is the customer's perception of the unique benefits offered by the department store, as well as (consumer's) advocacy for Kohl's," said Mike Chadsey, Senior Consultant for Harris Interactive's Customer Relationship Consulting team.

According to Harris' website, the study displayed not only the ways in which customers feel most and least attached to companies, but also demonstrated the intensity and longevity of a store's relationship with consumers.