AUSTIN, TEXAS — Dell’s communications team is moving towards adopting a social net advocacy (SNA) tool that provides real-time intelligence into how customers are responding to specific product features.

The SNA tool, developed by Dell’s marketing decision sciences team, has parallels to the Net Promoter metric because it assigns “social advocacy” scores based on user feedback. But unlike Net Promoter, it does so in real time, says Cory Edwards, global director for Dell’s social media and reputation. He says the SNA tool acts as an early predictor to Net Promoter.

The emergence of the tool comes at a time when industry sources say Dell is reviewing measurement agencies. The troubled giant is understood to be on the hunt for a measurement firm with reliable global media monitoring capabilities. Dell currently works with Visible Technologies.

The tool hasn’t been fully deployed on Dell’s comms team, but a recent use-case is accelerating adoption, Edwards says. In late 2012, Dell launched the XPS 13 Developer Edition to give the, increasingly B2B company, inroads with this community. Using SNA, Dell tracked customer reaction to features — from battery life to tech support — and discovered a lagging social advocacy score.

The problem being, XPS 13 was priced higher than Dell’s Windows-based devices, even though Microsoft’s OS is more expensive than the Ubuntu OS loaded on the developer series devices. Ultimately this was corrected within days of the launch because of SNA, Edwards says.

Currently, the tool is used with varying degrees of frequency within Dell's customer experience, product and communications teams.