GENERAL RULES

LANGUAGE WHAT IS IMPORTANT
Write in full sentences, proper punctuation, no .... dots, no abbreviations, no street language, no local English terms (patwa, pidgin).
Typo's, wrong spelling and wrong grammar are unnecessary, there are tools for that.
Watch your syntax.
Make sure your message is a whole, smooth. Don't read a bit, react to that, read another bit and so on. That will lead to an incoherent collection of short sentences. Name the things your are talking about (not 'yes, I think so too' but 'yes, I also like that movie'). Otherwise the client needs to re-read his own messages to find out what you are actually referring to.

ATTITUDE HOW TO TREAT A CLIENT
Clients pay for this, they deserve a quality answer for their money.
If the client writes a long message, make an effort to somewhat match the length. Be nice, give the client the feeling you appreciate him. Don't just answer, ask questions as well. It shows you are interested. Don't just react to what he is telling, bring something to the conversation from your side too. Your profile should be just as alive and kicking as any other human being, not an answering machine. Besides the client is interested to get to know you too. You won't bond if you never tell anything about yourself.
Don't ask too many questions in one message. It is a conversation, not an interrogation. Don't be negative. Most clients already have a partner like that at home sitting on the couch, nagging. They don't need you to do the same, they are here to escape reality.

CONTENT HOW TO REACT TO A MESSAGE
Always react to the full content of the client's messages. Answer the questions and don't ignore things. That's rude. Not only in a paid chat, it is always rude.
Always use a 'call to action'. After all it is your job to make them react. The most common way is by asking a question, but there are other methods as well.
Don't put a question mark at the end of a sentnce making it look like a question while in fact it isn't. Don't use hanging questions (I have a secret, want to know what it is?) That is annoying for your colleagues.
Follow the line of conversation and if you ask questions, ask questions about the subject(s) of that conversation. People like to talk about things that keep them busy. If a client is asking about music, keep talking about that and keep asking questions about it, in stead of putting a cold question at the end of your message like 'where are you now?' This kills the subject.
Ask clear questions: not '...and how about you?', but '...and what kind of movies do you like?

RULES STANDARD RULES

  • Never ever answer a minor (below 18 y/o).
  • READ, 50% of this job is reading well and often reading back, check the notes too.
  • If you use the name of the client, make sure you use the right name.
  • No dating, never give a time frame, even misleading or suggesting it, is not allowed, avoid using 'me and you', 'we', 'us'.
  • Be realistic. Don't say yes to things you otherwise never would (for instance when you've just met someone).
  • Check the time zone, don't talk about breakfast when it should be dinner.
  • Check how long the client has been in contact with you and how many messages you have exchanged.
  • Check the age. A 22 year old girl reacts different than a 68 year old woman.
  • Never use the phrase 'I want to get to know you better'. You will never get to know anyone by writing that down literally. If you ask normal questions, which will show interest in a person, it is already clear to that person, you want to get to know him/her better.
  • Be creative, using the same sentences, ideas, elements and phrases over and over again is a no go.
  • Write your own content and do not repeat the client: 'Oh how nice that you went to the movies and went to have a couple of drinks after, did you do anything else?'. This is not allowed, we hired you as an operator, if we wanted a parrot we would go to a pet store.
  • If a client sends you contact details, just say thank you an divert. Do not say things as 'I only see *****'.

MISUSE / ABUSE ABSOLUTE NO GO'S
To mention a few:

  • Copy pasting: sending the exact same messages to multiple clients (even if you wrote them by hand).
  • Templating: same thing, but using same messages, part of messages and so on all the time in messages, even if the other parts of those messages are genuine and not alike.
  • Asking client for contact details or sending client your contact details (even if those are fictive).
  • Sending stuff like 'EGYUGbbnfjnjijijklnvn' and tell the company it was your cat.
  • Telling clients it is fake (unless the rules tell you, you have to in a given situation).
  • Going into conversations about things that are forbidden by law, like rape, incest, sex with minors, drugs (unless allowed for medical reasons) and even initiating sex in public can be a problem.
  • Avoid tricky role play like schoolgirl fantasies and daddy issues.

Don't be surprised to get fired by a company, if you don't obey these no go's.

The above are just general rules for operators. Most companies will go by these, but there will be differences. Also there can be extended rules on how to answer specific type of messages, like pokes and triggers. So no matter the company you might be hired for, always ask them the latest version of their manual and make sure you read it well.