Trollbusters: How to Deal with Unwanted Chats

6 min read
Jun 1, 2015
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The internet is a great place for people who like to be a pain in the butt. Trolls send malicious messages and leave silly comments, hoping to drive people crazy and enjoy their frustrations.

Trolls want to upset your agents with the things they write and expect strong, emotional reactions. As a result, they bring distraction to your team’s work, decrease motivation and impact effectiveness.

LiveChat has not been spared by the trolls. Far from it! We get dozens of malicious conversations every day so our Support Heroes had to master the skill of getting rid of unwanted chatters. And not just that, they have even learned how to benefit from such chats! But before we get to that, let’s talk about their 'one-two punch' method of slaying trolls.

First punch: A bucket of cold water

Before you start getting rid of a troll, you need to make sure that it is actually a troll. Sometimes a person that seems to be trolling may be someone who doesn’t speak your language well or has confused your website with some other service. For that reason every chatter who asks a weird question gets a message from our agent explaining who they actually contacted.

So, let’s imagine a situation where an agent is contacted by a chatter stating “I am looking for success” (real example). It can be an honest customer, it can be a person confusing live chat with a business support. It can also be a troll starting his weird conversation. The safest reaction is to send information explaining how we can help them.

Here’s the example of such a message:

You are talking to LiveChat software support team, we are here to answer questions about our software.

Quite dry, isn’t it? It’s the best thing that can be sent to a troll awaiting an emotional, human reaction. At the same time it’s an informative message for confused visitors.

The reply that follows shows the intentions of the chatter. If it's a customer, they will ask a LiveChat-related questions. If it's a confused visitor, they will leave the chat. If it's a troll, they will show their true face (sounds creepy, I know).

When you identify a troll, you can make sure that they don't get any kicks out of the chat. A couple of impersonal messages do the job and discourage trolls from continuing. Here is how it looks like in practice:

transcription chat bret

As you see, Bret has eventually left the chat. He was hoping for a hot reaction. Instead, he got a bucket of cold water.

Of course, our agents wouldn’t be able to respond to all such chats manually as this would take too much time. They use a bunch of pre-saved notes which can be entered and sent in a moment (keyboard shortcuts are a great invention the mankind has came up with). Thanks to them we are also sure that chatter is clearly instructed about the live chat he entered, so there is no room for confusion.

And by the way, if you'd like to test LiveChat and see how canned responses work, try our 30-day trial for free.

Second punch: Knock the troll out

Formal responses from customer service reps are demotivating for most trolls. However, sometimes we come across more stubborn specimens. They are so desperate to interact with our agents that it’s very difficult to get rid of them. In such situations there is nothing left to do apart from taking the second, final step: banning.

Our agents ban live chat trolls without regret. If trolls keep nagging our agents, there is no mercy for them. An average ban lasts about three days, but a troll can be sentenced to hundreds of days of banishment if they are very annoying.

Such action is quick and simple and looks like this:

Transcription chat ban

As always, there are exceptions to prove the rule. In LiveChat’s history, there was one epic trolling effort, which was completely unfazed by our attempts to get rid of him. He called himself Garande and our head of customer service, Piotr, was his favourite. Garande started to look for his attention in 2010 and kept coming back asking about Piotr until late 2012.

Transcription chat garande

Thanks to all these years of dedication to Piotr, Garande went down in LiveChat’s history as the most loyal troll. At some point, we even started to treat him like a mascot. He was discouraged with canned responses and multiple bans, but he never gave up!

But although Garande is an amusing accent in our archive, we’re glad that we did not have more of such devoted trolls. Luckily, bans usually work.

Beat them with their own weapon

In most cases trolls are a pain in the butt, but there is a way to benefit from their presence. Trolling back might be a time consuming way of handling troll chats but it can be used as a way to relieve stress in customer service.

This is how Justyna Janowska, our Support Hero, explains this mechanism:

Sometimes, when we're crazy busy with support chats, we just ban them and carry on. But there are times when we fall for it and take part in this strange game. Mostly to break the routine and have fun. Believe me, some of those chats can really make your day (just as others can seriously destroy it). After all, we're humans and we seek enjoyment in everyday life situations to stay motivated.

For this reason, if the customer service team has enough time to chat back, they should not be discouraged from doing so. If their work tension can be reduced in such an easy way, why not benefit from it!

Here are some examples of such entertaining chats. In many cases they are weird, amusing and politically incorrect:

Chat transcription bieber
Chat transcription prince charming
Chat transfer satan
Chat transcription steve

These stories can teach us a couple of things: chatting with strangers can be amusing; that sense of humor and being chilled can sometimes be more important than other soft skills. It also teaches us that the art of tactful conversation seems to have its midlife crisis.

Kiss the trolls goodbye

Trolls influence several aspects of the customer service job. They take customer chat slots and make your potential customers wait for a chat in a queue. They rate chats as bad and leave unfavorable comments. They affect statistics. They suck.

Despite the fact that trolls can be sometimes amusing, they always waste your time. Your agents can chats with more interesting troll specimens, but in the end, they will get tired with these too. That’s when a quick slaying technique comes in handy. You can try to figure out what the most efficient method for you is, but you can also use our experience: discourage them with formal responses and, if it doesn’t work, ban them!

For as long as the internet remains anonymous, trolls will continue to waste your time and energy. Your customer service will be receiving a lot of troll chats, that’s certain. But you need to remember, you are the one in charge here and you can win against them.

So, do not fear to say “farewell” to trolls. After all, they are nothing but bullies.

Photo courtesty of Tegas Permana via Creative Commons.

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