4 Tips for Chatting with an Internet Troll

One of the greatest benefits of adding live chat to your website is that it lowers the contact barrier for your web visitors. For 99.9% percent of your visitors it's a great asset to their overall experience. However, there is a group of spammers, a seemingly outright pesky omnipresence of trolls, the trash of the internet, that you'd rather not get in a chat with.

With this we are not referring to angry or complaining customers. Those you may find annoying, but they are a fixed element of doing business and are essentially part of the game. To handle them right, read our post on how to deal with angry customers .

The breed of spammers that we talk about today is smaller than one percent of all internet users, yet they can test your patience sorely. By lowering the contact barrier you will reach your 99.9%, but will also be susceptible to that nasty 0.1%.

You will either have to erect a wall around your page, with no gate for any of your tame users to pass through, or you accept the trolls as a reality of online business that has to be managed in the right manner. We recommend the latter. Here are some helpful tips on what to do when dealing with a spammy user:

1. Block User

With the simple $-command or from the action menu, you can block users and make the chat disappear for them. This solution will work for 19/20 trollers. However, since it is cookie-based it can be dodged by the tech savvy kind, who may realise this, reset their browser cookies and continue their spamming actions.

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2. Combine with forced Register Field

If you use the block command and combine it with a forced register field, you'll scare off plenty of spammers. The person will have to again fill in his username, email or whatever values you have set, if he resets his cookies to dodge a block. This will cause a massive curb of the guy's motivation. Keep it up until he or she is gone.

3. Set up a perfect response per chat macro

With the canned response chat macros you can set up standard responses. We recommend you to set up one just for the case of trollers. Something in the direction of: “You are being unreasonable, because of this I will now put your account on silent. We will not be notified of your messages anymore from this point on. Have a nice day.”

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Sounds too good to be true? Unfortunately it is. A Live Chat system such as Userlike allows you to block a user based on his cookies, but as we explained above this can be circumvented by the tech savvy trolls. However: even the tech savvy ones don't know this, he might think that he's blocked based on his IP address or browser session for example. Ignore this person for long enough and he will most likely think spamming you is a waste of time.

4. Troll back

The last resort, and only if you fee like it. You should never lose your patience and slide off into inappropriate language though. Keep it subtle, no matter how a user is grating on you, which is a beneficial attitude for life but even more crucial for Live Chat service. A screenshot of your rude reply could cause you major trouble and bad news travels fast. Instead, we suggest you pick the nonverbal path and forward ($push command) between different pages on your site to troll back at your uninvited guest.

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Unfortunately it's not within our reach to provide you with a pedagogical playbook on how to turn nasty spammers into friendly, courteous customers. Instead we hope that these tips show you that there are some convenient ways to deal with the notorious 0.1% in a proper way. In the end every troll will get bored and move on to the next tab. And so will you.