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Special Handling Notes: Incident

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

With each new release of ServiceNow a wealth of information is added to the release notes. I'm sure other developers and admins can agree that one can't comb through everything in each version of release notes, so sometimes we come across features from a previous release we didn't know about.

Here's a neat feature I came across, that was apparently released in New York, but I haven't seen much discussion about. Special Handling Notes was debuted with Customer Service Management (CSM) and I've mainly seen them used in CSM, but they can also be used with Incident Management (ITSM).

I'm sure many organizations have created their own version of Special Handling Notes, or some way to flag an Incident. We've had a way in the past to flag individual users such as VIPs, or applying field styles to certain fields if conditions are met, but now ServiceNow offers an easy OOTB way to ensure the fulfillers get the information they need regarding when opening an existing Incident.

To enable Special Handling Notes, you need to first activate the Special Handling Notes plugin (com.sn_shn) From what I can see in my PDI, it's a free plugin, but as always be sure to check with your Account Representative with any questions.

Check the following ServiceNow Product Documentation for tables, roles, etc. installed with Special Handling Notes.

Basically there are two roles out-of-the-box that can modify Special Handling Notes.

sn_shn.admin - Can read, update, create, and delete special handling notes.

sn_shn.editor - Can read and update special handing notes.

The sn_shn.user role can read special handling notes.

Navigate to the Special Handling Notes application in the Application Navigator.

There are some fields to fill out on the Special Handling Notes form I won't go into them all, check out this ServiceNow Product Documentation to view information about each of the fields, the message is what will appear to the user. The Related record is where the Special Handling Note can be linked to the Incident.

Special Handling Notes can also be configured from the Incident form by clicking the Create Special Handling Notes related link.

If you want Special Handling Notes to show as a pop-up on the Incident form, be sure to add the Special Handling Notes Pop-up field to the Incident form via Form Layout (it won't show a field on the form, it just controls the pop-up)

You can also add the Special Handling Notes as a related list in conjunction with the pop-up, or without the pop-up depending on your needs.

Special Handling Notes appear on both the Platform and Workspace UI (I haven't tried Mobile yet, but am interested to know) Just make sure you add the Special Handling Notes Pop-up field and/or related list to the respective Workspace view you're using to have them appear there.

Platform UI

Workspace UI

Note: There is a property - Display special handling notes only once per session (sn_shn.note_preferences) that you can set to show Special Handling Notes once per session, if not, they will appear every time the user navigates to the record during their session. Keep in mid this will impact all record types and users using Special Handling Notes.

Expanding Record Types

You can also expand Special Handling Notes to other record types. Navigate to Special Handling Notes > Configuration in the Application Navigator and click New to add a record type. It seems like the possibilities are end-less here, and can apply to scoped applications. Here I've added the Problem table:

The form and related list configuration are the same as what I discussed above for Incident.

Related Fields

The last thing I wanted to mention was the Related Fields list on the Special Handling Notes Configuration form. Per ServiceNow documentation:

You can also display notes from related entities by including those fields in the configuration. For example, you can display notes for the account and contact associated with a customer service case by selecting the Account and Contact fields on the Case form.

For my example, I added the Business Service table to the Special Handling Notes Configuration table

I then created a Special Handling Note for a Business Service, and associated that Business Service with my demo Incident, since Business Service is a related field on the Incident Special Handling Note Configuration record, it now displays when I navigate to the associated Incident, I think this may be super handy with Configuration Item records, but can be extended to User records as well, which may replace some of the VIP user functionality in the future.

Here's a demo I performed for a user as a proof of concept:

I hope this expanded on some of the useful capabilities of Special Handling Notes outside of the Customer Service Management (CSM) application. In my opinion this is a powerful plugin that can be used across the platform for various use cases that can be missed in the release notes.


ServiceNow Product Documentation: Components Installed with Special Handling Notes

ServiceNow Product Documentation: Special Handling Notes Overview

ServiceNow Product Documentation: Enable the display of Incident Special Handing Notes

ServiceNow Product Documentation: Configure an Entity Table to use Special Handling Notes

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