The most significant service experience I've been designing for over the last few years can be boiled down into two words: help yourself.
Sort of like the glass half full v. empty way of looking at the world, this expression can have a similar, dual meaning depending on perspective. Asking people to help themselves can seem very far from what "customer service" has traditionally stood for; that's true if the sentiment is used as a way to ignore or dismiss people.
Used in a more generous way, the sentiment can seem exceptionally friendly and lavish... there's nothing like being invited to "help yourself" when visiting someone's home. This kind of offer has a certain emotional effect: it loosens things up, helps you feel at home, and—most importantly—gives you (and your host) a little independence. You are no longer reliant on your host to fulfill wants and desires in a time frame that meets the need. And no one likes to feel like a pest. For your host, she no longer needs to hover, or worry if everything is OK. In the end, you both feel a little closer; it's a relationship builder.
With the connected world we live in today, the self help experience is more and more expected in all aspects of our lives: whether buying groceries or electronics, doing our banking, or embarking on a trip with an airline. The empowerment to do for one's self what used to be done by service staff removes hurdles that get in the way of a great experience: time-consuming processes or conversations, waiting in lines, the dependance on someone else. The experience needs to be well-designed and getting it right is probably more time consuming than good, old fashioned methods. But "no touch" customer self service is really high touch service, if done at the right time, place, and in the right context of need.
Self service options that get customers closer, faster, to the experience they are ultimately after—whether that's finding the perfect shirt, or enjoying a Hawaiian vacation—open up opportunities for businesses to dial in their focus on that end goal, and an enduring relationship with the customer.