The moment I entered my room at The Four Seasons hotel in Istanbul, the phone rang. I'd arrived only two minutes earlier and it was almost midnight.

It had to be The Goddess checking I'd arrived safely. Happily I didn't answer it with my customary 'Hello darling, what are you wearing' since it turned out to be the hotel receptionist and I knew she was dressed in a smart two-piece with matching neck scarf. She wanted to know if I was happy with the room.

For a second I was tempted to complain, inspired by Fawlty Towers, that the view was not of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. However, I figured that her knowledge of 70s sitcom would probably have only instigated a prolonged silence rather than a belly laugh. Besides the room was perfect and it was very nice to be asked at the start of my stay rather than at the end when they could do nothing about it.

This, I surmised, was a progressive, premium business that took pride in caring for its clientele. And it got me thinking about the service in other hotels and the parallels to be drawn in business generally.

As a professional speaker I'll spend more nights in hotels this year than I do at home. What I realised is that the poorer hotels never ask me what I think of their service. They don't ask if I'm satisfied with the room or if the heating system with a mind of its own caused me to have night sweats again.

Of course, you'd expect things to be different at the Four Seasons since it's a very expensive hotel. After they'd swiped my Gold card I could actually feel it melting at the edges. And, sure, it would be easy to trot out the old adage 'You get what you pay for' as some kind of excuse. But that, for me, would be missing the point.

I recently stayed at the Britannia International Hotel in Canary Wharf. Framed on the wall by reception is a sign that rather grandly states: 'The company cannot guarantee the provision of wake-up calls and accepts no liability for any missed telephone calls.' Nice welcome.

This had obviously proved a problem area for them. Maybe guests had expected to woken by wood nymphs splashing lightly perfumed cologne on to their pillows? No. They just expected the phone to ring. So the hotel has a choice. It can either put in a wake-up call system that actually works or a disclaimer in reception that says it may not.

Tell me, when it comes to caring for customers, who do you think needs the wake-up call most?

Philip Hesketh is a professional speaker on the psychology of persuasion and author of 'Life's A Game So Fix The Odds'